Parasocial relationships can skew our thinking

Maria Hernandez

Have you ever felt a deep connection to a celebrity you may never meet? Do you defend all of their actions so they aren’t the bad guy? Have you spent an unhealthy amount of time researching their life? Have you ever felt like you know them personally? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you might be in a parasocial relationship.

The National Register of Health Service Psychologists ( defines parasocial relationships as “one-sided relationships, where one person extends emotional energy, interest and time, and the other party, the persona, is completely unaware of the other’s existence.”

These relationships have become a lot more common because of the personal connections people feel with content creators on the internet. They share a lot of personal information about themselves that a lot of celebrities stray away from, and it leads to fans feeling like they are friends. 

But when do these relationships become problematic?

When one party starts to feel like they are friends with the celebrity/social media personality and have a right in their life, when in reality, they don’t even know they exist.

I’ve seen this a lot lately with Taylor Swift and her sexuality. Some fans recently got angry with her because she said that one of her songs was about her long-term heterosexual relationship instead of a homosexual relationship that they forced upon her. There is a lot more to the story but it resulted in fans, assumingely in a parasocial relationship, getting angry with her. They felt like they knew more about her life than she might have been letting on 

Not only can these relationships be problematic, but they can also be dangerous.

Recently a British musician, Rex Orange County, went to court charged with six counts of sexual assault. Most fans were disgusted with his actions but some said that he would never do something like that. The thing is, a fan may never know how a celebrity acts outside of the media’s eyes. So this very well could have been something he was capable of. But defending the dangerous actions of someone you don’t know personally will never end well. Especially when the victim in this case could see people saying how they would never.

I can admit that I have been in parasocial relationships, and I might even be in one now. But it is important to know when your actions lead to real consequences.

You may think you know a celebrity, but in reality you only know what they want you to know. So don’t be so quick to defend someone because “they would never do that.”

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