Main Character Energy is a dating trend you'll actually want to get behind

Even if it sounds a little cheesy, it's a great way to get in tune with authenticity

happy woman outside in rainbow shirt smiling and embracing main character energy
(Image credit: Tim Robberts/Getty Images)

Main Character Energy is encouraging us to embrace Meg Ryan's spirit in the rom-com better known as dating in 2022

The new trending hashtag on TikTok is a refreshing sentiment that asks hopeful romantics to prioritize themselves when seeking a partner. Sometimes a little selfishness goes a long way. And no, it's not a bad thing, so there's no need for a preemptive "sorry."

"It's about reminding yourself of your positive attributes and self-worth and deserve the best in life rather than putting an emphasis on whether or not your date will like you," dating expert Emma Hathorn from (opens in new tab) says of the trend. 

Though TikTok has gifted us questionable fads in the past—the Milk Crate Challenge, NyQuil Chicken and the Dry Scooping Challenge to name a select few—#MainCharacterEnergy is a hashtag and mindset that we are fully behind. 

Meet the expert: Emma Hathorn

Emma is a dating expert for the app, (opens in new tab)

What is Main Character Energy?

Essentially, Main Character Energy asks us to put our wants, needs and self-worth at the forefront when embarking on a first date or taking a relationship to a new plateau. It's a reminder to be happy with yourself and know your worth before bringing someone new into your life. 

What's not to love about that? Plus, it has its benefits, according to Hathorn. 

"This not only helps singletons to feel more positive and empowered when it comes to each dating experience but also sets the tone by giving off a sense of confidence, stability and ease which the potential suitor, which they will no doubt find incredibly attractive," she says.

The hashtag has received a whopping 307.7 million views and counting on TikTok, so there's something to be said about the positivity. 

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How To Give Off Main Character Energy 🦸‍♂️

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"This trend has been on the rise for some time as singletons look to reclaim a sense of power when it comes to modern dating, tackling some of the more problematic issues including phenomena such as ghosting and dating app burnout," Hathorn adds.

And, it's worth noting that you don't necessarily have to reserve Main Character Energy for dating—it's something you can apply to a variety of areas in your life. New job? Passion projects? Expanding your social circles? #MCE is applicable in many a situation.

The benefits of Main Character Energy

Sure this can be a selfish concept if taken to the extreme, but when pursued properly, Main Character Energy could be the key to authenticity. 

"By prioritizing your own wants, needs and self-worth, you can quickly establish suitability with a potential partner," Hathorn says. "It has a gravitational pull that is immediately recognized by others and can prompt more honesty, communication, and a willingness in prospective partners."

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How to embrace Main Character Energy while dating

Although a fun and, yes, buzzy mindset, you're going to have to do a little bit of work to make the most out of that Main Character Energy, especially while attempting to find a partner.

"Map out the things that are the most important to you—both in your life and what you're looking for in a partner—and be upfront about these things when dating," Hathorn notes. "It will help you to quickly establish whether your date is the right person for you. It's all about creating a narrative structure to your life and feeling empowered by it."

In a dating environment battling ghosting, haunting, inauthenticity and all-around confusion, the most important thing you can do is be your own ally, and Main Character Energy is a good way to put that practice into place.

"Don’t rely on external validation," Hathorn advisees. "True happiness comes from within."

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)