Survey reveals over two-fifths of married couples are feeling empowered

In an era of ‘quiet quitting’ and so many opportunities, more people are empowered by doing and choosing what’s right for them. Self-empowerment, however, can sometimes be mistaken as main character syndrome (MCS). 

With over 1K searches a month for “main character syndrome” and over 8 billion views on TikTok, it’s no surprise that the search trend has risen by a staggering 78% from January to February, according to Google Trends, and is continuing to increase. 

Psychologist Dr Michael G. Wetter told the Daily Mail, main character syndrome is an “inevitable consequence of the natural human desire to be recognised and validated merging with the rapidly evolving technology that allows for immediate and widespread self-promotion.”

Jessica Flinn-Allen, CEO and founder of Jessica Flinn, said: “There are a lot of common similarities between empowerment and main character syndrome. The definition of empowerment is: ‘the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights’. 

“If we were to compare this to one of the definitions of MCS which is ‘the way a person thinks of themself as the key player in their life and views it through a storytelling lens, like a movie or TV show’, you can see there are already crossovers.

“As we get customers who are planning their weddings and doing what's right for them such as choosing their own engagement ring or opting to not take their partner's name, their empowerment could be mistaken for MCS. So, that’s why we have researched more on how Brits are feeling towards empowerment, and MCS.”

We have commissioned a survey of 1,000 Brits to find out whether they are feeling more empowered to do what’s right for them and whether they know someone with MCS. 

We’ve also enlisted the help of confidence coach Kirsty Hulse at Roar Training to offer her expert insight on empowerment and tips for those struggling to feel empowered.

Key Findings Included:

  • Almost two-thirds (61%) of Brits know someone with main character syndrome 
  • One in three (30%) men are feeling empowered
  • Over half (54%) of Brits are feeling empowered despite the cost-of-living crisis
  • 57% of men feel empowered daily and 57% of women don't
  • Less than a quarter (23%) of women are feeling empowered

On average we know one person with main character syndrome

In our survey, we wanted to find out how many Brits believe they know someone with main character syndrome to discover whether 2023 is going to be the year of MCS.

Almost two-thirds of Brits know someone with main character syndrome

We found that almost two-thirds of Brits (61%) know at least one person with main character syndrome. Furthermore, 45% said they know one to two people with MCS, and 15% said they know up to three or more people with main character syndrome.

2023 is the year main character syndrome is becoming more known and it’s getting a bad reputation, however, here at Jessica Flinn, we believe it is a good thing people are feeling empowered to do what’s right for them. 

Is 2023 the year of empowerment?

As almost two-thirds of Brits know someone with MCS and as it was initially popularised on TikTok to describe self-centred and out-of-touch people, we asked our survey participants how they are currently feeling about self-empowerment to see whether the results correlate with each other.

Overall, from the three questions on empowerment, one in three men (30%) are feeling empowered, compared to less than a quarter of women (23%).

Half of Brits are feeling more empowered than ever before

When looking at the total number of responses of those who said they are ‘feeling more empowered than ever before’, we can reveal half of the men (56%) surveyed agreed, whereas just over two-fifths of women also agreed (44%). This means 56% of women aren’t feeling more empowered than ever before.

Confidence coach, Kirsty Hulse comments on the increase: “I think the world moving towards more flexible working allows people to prioritise themselves without such a sense of sacrifice. It's difficult to put ourselves first, without understanding the benefit of it. 

“The period of change brought about by the pandemic allowed, I believe, many of us to understand that when we prioritise ourselves first that allows us to show up with more energy and focus in all areas of our lives.”

Men are feeling 57% more empowered than women on a daily basis

In addition to asking if Brits feel more empowered than ever before, we also asked the same respondents if they felt more empowered on a daily basis. 57% of men said yes, while 57% of women disagreed. 

Recent research suggests that men are far more comfortable with self-promotion than women, which could explain why in our data over half of men (57%) are feeling more empowered on a daily basis, while 57% of women disagree.

Under a third of single people are feeling empowered

Following gender comparison on empowerment, does your marital status influence Brits and their feeling of empowerment? We have found almost half (45%) of married couples are feeling more empowered than those who are single (28%)! 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data on divorce rates for England and Wales for 2021, which showed almost a 10% increase from the previous years. Further to that, our data shows that only 5% of divorcees feel empowered on a daily basis, highlighting how a partner can significantly improve feelings of empowerment.

Our CEO, Jessica Flinn-Allen said “Being married definitely comes with its benefits when it comes to empowerment, you tend to align your goals, whether it is career or personal, with one another and can rely on your partner for advice, reassurance and stability. 

“For example, if you have a mortgage together and one of you wants to start their own business or change careers, you discuss the implications of such a big move but also try to figure out a way to make it work.

“However, you don’t need to be married or rely on someone else to feel more empowered. We always encourage our customers to do what’s right for them from the very start. 

“Whether that’s buying yourself a ring because you are celebrating your divorce or just saying no to social events, we want to make doing what's right for you have a positive outlook.”

Actionable advice: Confidence coach offers easy “go to” tips to help you feel empowered

We believe that everyone can benefit from feeling empowered, so our CEO Jessica Flinn-Allen worked with confidence coach Kirsty Hulse on some “go to” tips to help you feel empowered.

Start small with 5-minute actions

“I think the first step in this is understanding what *actions* give you energy. Research has shown when we chase a feeling, that can take us further away from that feeling. 

“But when we focus on specific actions that bring about that feeling, that tends to be more helpful. 

“So simply asking yourself the question "what quick 5-minute actions can I take today to feel more rested/relaxed/focused/energised" and doing THAT can be a good place to start. These can be small, tiny tweaks, rather than a big significant change.” said Kirsty Hulse.

Do you have any “go-to” tips on how to boost self-confidence?

Kirsty continues to say: “Understand that humans are genetically predisposed to focus on the negative. You could do 1000 things right and be more likely to focus on the 1 thing you do wrong, when we know that, we can understand that maybe our perceptions of self might be a little skewed. 

“We default to focusing on the things that are going wrong, so we have to take the time to consciously attach to what we are doing well. Just take a few moments to mentally acknowledge what we are doing well each day can go a long way to boosting confidence.”

Jessica Flinn-Allen, CEO and founder of Jessica Flinn said “Start by saying no, if you say yes most of the time to social events even though you don't want to go. Saying no to little things, can in time, help boost self-confidence. It can also help you set boundaries in life, such as in the workplace.”

Here at Jessica Flinn, we encourage individuality, not only through our rings but also with our customers, where we empower them to do what’s right for them, from a Pokemon-themed proposal to being surrounded by sunflowers.

Looking to propose? Design your own bespoke ring with our virtual design your own ring tool.


Google trends data of the 78% increase for Main character syndrome was found from January 2023 to February 2023. Jessica Flinn, wedding and engagement ring specialist commissioned a survey of 1,000 general consumers with a 50/50 split on gender, 500 male and 500 female. Survey data was gathered between 10/02/23 - 13/02/23.