Side Character Summer Is The One Vibe We Can Get On Board With

Being a main character sounds exhausting.
Be more Emily
20th Century Fox, Everett Collection
Be more Emily

Hot girl summer, feral girl summer, main character energy – these cute monikers sound fun, and exciting...and exhausting.

Yes, we should embrace being our best selves and our natural selves, and the star of our own stories, but you know what? It’s also nice to just do nothing and be nothing.

Which is why we welcome side character summer - a season of acting like the nonchalant friend who only makes an appearance every once in a while, delivers sizzling one-liners and then retreats back into their own lives. They don’t bring the drama, nor work to be the best version of themselves, they’re really just there for a good time.

It’s an introvert’s dream. There are just too many vibes to keep up with – cottagecore, angelcore, dark academia, clean girl aesthetic. Just so, so many.

So side character energy is the best of both worlds – you get to put in how much or how little energy you want to put in, enjoy the fun, but also do what suits you, instead of chasing that perfect curation.

The person we have to thank for this new label is Lola, a screenwriter who shared the idea on her TikTok.

She said: “The vibe is beloved side character with great outfits and funny one-liners. A low-key and attainable aesthetic for everyone! No more documenting our multi-step skin-care routines or working toward the best versions of ourselves.

“There shall be no ‘work’ this summer. I will not undergo any character development nor will I grow as a person. I’m here to be funny and sexy.”

And hey, Lola is not the only one pushing this vibe – even queen Bey is telling us to embrace a release from work and life’s stresses.

Let’s face it, all these internet trends – often gendered – are just another way of raising the expectations and standards for women. While purporting to eschew the previous one, each new moniker yet again falls into the pattern of telling women what new thing to be concerned with.

As writer Sarah Manavis points out, they actually distract from real issues faced by women.

And while side character summer might fall into the same trap just a smidge, at least it gives people the opportunity to say ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’, and only show up when they want.

If you’re wondering how one can commit to not committing, all you have to do is let everyone else do all the work, and only join in when it pleases you.

If the group chat is pontificating over dates, events to attend, or holidays to book, just chip in at the last minute to say “yeah, sure, I’m there.” Or stay in sunbathing when the girlies who want to go a festival, or bar crawling or whatever other summer-based activities are happening. If you do show up, show up looking sexy without offering anything else.

Let other people make the plans and stress over it. You just bring the fun.