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Everything You Need to Know about Comfort Characters

Everything You Need to Know about Comfort Characters

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The internet has changed the way we communicate with each other and the way that words and ideas spread. It’s given us countless memes and words like cheugy.

One of the most popular topics for conversation on the internet is pop culture: the TV shows, movies, games, comics and books that everyone is reading and talking about.

This means that a lot of language has arisen that is useful specifically in the context of talking about these kinds of things.

The phrase “comfort character” is part of that pop culture landscape.

What is a “comfort character”?

A comfort character is a character in a fictional world, such as a TV show, movie, game, book, or comic, that a person strongly identifies with and takes comfort from. They may use thoughts of the comfort character to help them through hard times.

How do people use comfort characters?

We’ve all encountered characters in stories that we enjoy and who we can relate to or who we find ourselves thinking back on fondly.

The role played by comfort characters goes beyond this. People who have comfort characters think of them as role models, parental figures or friends.

They might imagine themselves in conversation with their comfort character.
For example, maybe you are feeling down about not getting a job that you wanted and wondering how to respond to a job rejection email.

Thinking about your comfort character sitting next to you or imagining what they would do in this situation can help you figure out what to do next.

A comfort character could also be a character that a person simply enjoys “hanging out” with in the context of the fictional world that character appears in.

When the person feels down, they could watch, read or play whatever this character appears in and then feel better after spending some time with the character.

Choosing a comfort character

There are a number of different reasons that someone might choose a particular character as their comfort character.

Comfort characters usually have many positive qualities, such as kindness, compassion, courage and empathy.

The initial attraction to a particular character is generally not a conscious choice. The person will simply feel drawn toward the character.

Even if you have never encountered the term before, you probably know this feeling of really liking or identifying with a character.

People who have comfort characters take it a step further.

For example, if there is a father on a TV show who is particularly warm, loving and understanding, the person might imagine this person is their father.

These feelings might be even stronger if the person has a troubled relationship with their own father.

When they are feeling down, they might imagine themselves talking to this character and the things this character would say to them, and this can make them feel better.

Strong identification with a character is another way a person may choose a comfort character.

For example, maybe there is a main character in a movie who has a story arc that show them becoming a more confident person.

Someone who identified with this comfort character might struggle with their confidence as well.

When they were in situations where they lacked confidence, they could think about how this character handled similar situations.

This could give the person confidence as well and allow them to manage the situation better.

Who uses “comfort characters”?

The concept of comfort characters is very popular in online fandom.

“Fandom” refers to any community that arises around a piece of media, whether that’s a game, a popular show, a book, a comic or a movie.

It’s a little bit different from simply being a fan of something.

For example, you might have favorite books or movies, but they are not a huge part of your life. You wouldn’t base your social circle or your activities around these books or movies.

People involved in a fandom often belong to internet communities that talk about these characters a lot. They might attend meetups or conventions based around this fandom and dress up like the character.

It’s also very common for them to create their own art around the stories that they love. For example, they might draw pictures of the character in various situations, or they might write new stories about adventures that the characters have beyond the scope of the original tale that they came from.

Comfort characters may have originated on Tumblr, where people used to post art, fiction and other creations about these characters.

Today, you can find people talking about comfort characters on other popular social networks, such as Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

In fact, you might find some accounts entirely devoted to comfort characters, sometimes called “stan accounts.”

“Stan” is slang that refers to being a big fan of something or someone.

How comfort characters help

People report comfort characters helping them in very real ways in their lives. If they struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, thinking about their comfort character can often help stave off these feelings.

There has been some research that shows that these characters can have a positive effect on fans, encouraging them to act in ways that are more beneficial for them.

For example, a person who was trying to write a problem statement for a thesis might be struggling with procrastination.

Channeling a smart, decisive comfort character could help them power through this tough project with confidence.

Of course, there is always a danger of becoming too immersed in a character or a fictional world, especially if the character is killed off or changes in a way that is incompatible with how the person views the character.

But any activity or interest has the potential to become all-encompassing in a person’s life to an unhealthy degree.

For most people, comfort characters are fun, beneficial ways to better enjoy the stories they love.

Even your best friend or closest family member can’t be there for you every minute of every day, but your comfort character is just the flick of a switch or the opening of a book away.