Parasocial Relationships Lead To Dire Consequences

Parasocial Relationships Are Causing An Uproar On Social Media

Brianne Tremper, Editor in Chief

     I love Taylor Swift. Sometimes it seems like she wrote the music for me. I even got a tattoo that references her song, “Mirrorball.” The reality is, Taylor Swift doesn’t know me, and I don’t truly know her. There is a thin line between being a fan and being in a parasocial relationship with a famous person.

     Parasocial relationships happen when a person believes they have a relationship with a famous person. According to Simply NeuroScience, a parasocial relationship is a one-sided relationship that someone will invest energy, time and money into. 

     Parasocial relationships can even potentially be deadly, one of the worst cases being Selena Known as the

Grace Winkler

Queen of Tejano music, she was a rising star, at 23 she had already won a Grammy. But on March 31, 1995, she was killed by someone who claimed to be her biggest fan, according to USA Today. Selena’s killer was president of her fan club and a manager of one of her boutiques. 

     Though there have been deadly cases of parasocial relationships, not all are as dangerous. In some cases, people only comment through social media on their idols’ personal life. 

     Someone who has faced this with her fans recently is Phoebe Bridgers. Fans on TikTok have been expressing concern over her being seen with Bo Burnham, amid breakup rumors with her boyfriend Paul Mescal. These fans would post photos of Bridgers and Burnham, and another one with Bridgers and Mescal calling them their “divorced parents.” These fans genuinely believe that they have the ability to dictate who their favorite celebrity can date.  

     The defining trait between being a devoted fan and being in a parasocial relationship with a famous person is recognizing that they are their own person, and that we as fans shouldn’t determine their lives. They are their own people with their own lives.