Spend five seconds on TikTok right now, and you might think a person named Heather is coming for Charli D'AMelio's crown. But, as with most trends on social media, Heather's meaning isn't that clear and doesn't actually have anything to do with one particular person. Instead, "Heather" is an idea.
It all started with Conan Gray's song "Heather," which features these mournful lyrics: "Why would you ever kiss me? I'm not even half as pretty. You gave her your sweater. It's just polyester. But you like her better. I wish I were Heather." Now, for anyone who's ever experienced unrequited love (raise your hand with me), these lines paint a pretty bleak but accurate picture of what it's like to have a hopeless crush on someone.
As Gray told Apple Music: "I think everyone has a Heather in their life. The person that I really, really liked was in love with Heather. They were not in love with me, and because of that, I f*cking hated Heather. I hated Heather with all of my heart and soul.” He went on to say, "I had no reason to hate Heather. Heather is a perfectly nice girl. She's sweet, and she's pure, and she smells like daisies — she’s perfect, but I hate her. It's this humiliating thing to admit, but it's just true.”
Now is it starting to make sense? A Heather is basically the person your crush is in love with. They might go out and "find a Heather," and it sucks because that person is not you. The cute thing, though, is that the term is actually taking on a rather sweet and supportive tone. Not everyone hates the Heather in their life. Many are able to understand and accept why they won their crush's heart, and are (sometimes) even able to wish their Heather well in a TikTok video, set to Gray's song. It can even be used as a compliment, slang for "the it-girl every guy wants, and every girl wants to be."
You might also see people sharing adorable pics of their parents when they were younger, saying things like " they were the Heather of their day." And according to UrbanDictionary, this is another example of calling someone a Heather as a compliment, since it also means they're a nice and lovable person — just like Heather. That said, the term can sometimes strike a negative, low self-esteem tone, especially when people start comparing themselves to "perfect" Heathers. For the most part, though, it's either joke-y or mostly positive.
But that's not all! The hashtag Heather also often refers to the 1989 movie Heathers, which was rebooted as a Heathers: The Musical in 2010. Set to the song “Big Fun," there are countless TikToks featuring people lip-syncing along.
In the movie, the protagonists are all rich, beautiful, and annoyingly popular — and they're all named Heather. It's why, if you're calling someone a Heather with the movie or musical in mind, you might be implying they're kind of mean, stuck up, or out of touch. And there you have it! All the various meanings of Heather, so the next time you're scrolling, you'll know precisely what the heck is going on.