The term parasocial relationship refers to a relationship that a person imagines having with another person whom they do not actually know, such as a celebrity or a fictional character. This often involves a person feeling as though they have a close, intimate connection with someone whom they have never met due to closely following that person (or character) in media, such as TV shows, videos, podcasts, etc. For example, a child may feel as though they are friends with a fictional character due to frequently watching the character on a show, or a fan may feel as though they have a relationship with a pop star due to their emotional investment in the star’s career and life. Parasocial relationships are often discussed in the context of social media and other online platforms that allow celebrities to directly “interact” with fans and followers (or appear that they do). Though parasocial relationships are often considered common, they may be considered unhealthy when they become extreme enough to interfere with real-life relationships or daily life.
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