LIFESTYLE
What Are Parasocial Relationships?
By A. R. HOPKINS
You’ve probably heard the term parasocial relationship occasionally in the last few years, and it was quite prominent when John Mulaney triggered the outrage of over-invested fans by going to rehab, getting divorced, and getting a former fan pregnant within a matter of months. You should be able to identify a parasocial relationship before it becomes a problem.
A parasocial relationship consists of one-way interactions and idolization from one party toward a public figure who isn't aware of their significance to that party or even that party’s existence. With social media, it’s common for a fan to reach out to a celebrity or influencer, but when a person’s interest in a public figure becomes obsessive, that’s when it becomes a problem.
Parasocial relationships can lead to overspending, using unsafe products, or even romantic/sexual relationships where the idolized person holds all the power, which can lead the fan to go to extreme measures to please the idol, such as over-exercising or plastic surgery. If you feel like you may be susceptible to this, take a social media break and spend time with loved ones.