Main Character Vs Background Friends: How These Labels Prevent Us From Being Our True Selves.
Social media has brought about numerous trends within the past year, the main character TikTok being one of them. You've probably all seen the TikTok trends that oversee scenarios about romanticising your life and thinking of yourself as the main as well as the TikTok memes that have surfaced about being a background friend. The trend originated as a self-love initiative and helped people remember how good their life was pre-COVID but are these labels just harming our self-worth and how we see others?
In this day and age, people love to categorise themselves and fit themselves into any well-suited box. Many will define themselves as the main character. In contrast, others who struggle with confidence and self-esteem may categorise themselves as the background friend- one who appears occasionally and doesn't contribute to the main plot. Whilst there is something beautiful to me about thinking of your life as a movie, it doesn't sit right with me categorising your nearest and dearest as background characters. It somewhat diminishes the significant roles they play in our lives. How about categorising important figures by traits such as 'artistic, sporty, funny friends', rather than brandishing with those labels. It's a much kinder way to approach describing people if you insist on doing so.
For me personally, I couldn't categorise any of my friends as a 'background friend'. They are the people I make memories with, the people I look to when I need help. They contribute to my life in more ways than many people and have helped shape the person I am. It's a common occurrence for trends on social media, especially TikTok, to be changed and exploited into an entirely different notion than the original aim. This 'main character vs background friend' trope is one of them.
Even if you did believe in and follow this trend, is there really something wrong with being the background friend in someone else's life? All it does is show that you're willing to let someone else take centre stage in their own life, which by no means is a bad thing. If you really think about it, sometimes the main character isn't always the most entertaining. I know for a fact that there's plenty of TV shows where I haven't liked the main character and I've identified more with what you would call a 'background friend'. I think defining yourself as one thing puts yourself into a box, which is incredibly limiting.
Whilst I do believe that characterising yourself as the main character in your own life is normal and healthy, I don't believe it is healthy to categorise other people as background friends or assume that you're the main character in anyone's life but yours. It is an incredibly black and white way of categorising your life and, realistically, life is not that simple or black and white. I think this is another example of a TikTok trend being taken to the extreme, what started out as wholesome has developed into something quite narcissistic and dangerous to our generation’s mental health.
The main thing to remember is that everyone has different priorities and perceptions. If you think of everyone's life as a separate film, each has a different main character. Just because you aren't the main character in other people’s lives does not mean that you are not important to them, you can still provide support, memories and kindness to them.