Parasocial Relationships: What Are They and Are They Dangerous?

The phenomenon of parasocial relationships continues to shape the way we think of the wider societal impact of celebrities.

The term parasocial relationship was coined by sociologists Donald Horton and Richard Wohl in 1956.

Parasocial Relationships: What Are They?

It describes that feeling of connection we form with media personalities as their audience.

It’s the sense we have that we will get along with a person who we always see on screen or read about, even if we’ve never actually met them.

We form parasocial relationships with living people or fictional characters when we develop an attachment or an emotional bond.

As cringe-worthy as they might sound on paper, parasocial relationships are actually not that unhealthy.

Imaginary Relationships Can Actually Be Beneficial

There’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling attached to a person who may never know you exist.

When we blur the lines between what is real and imaginary, it can become dangerous when we feel disappointed by the object of our obsession.

When Parasocial Relationships Go Too Far

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