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Life > Experiences


This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

The problem with parasocial relationships is that the person you think you know, you don’t. In fact, they have no idea who you are. I think a lot of people on the internet need a reality check. Just because you see someone on the internet that you like, doesn’t mean the feeling is mutual. It can’t be mutual because they, again, have no idea who you are. We see a lot of people build up these relationships in their heads, especially these days. I think being in
quarantine for so long had a lot to do with this. In 2020, we were under heavy lockdown, which made a lot more people pay attention to the internet and what celebrities and influencers were doing. I don’t really blame people for being bored in the house and trying to pass the time. However, being bored isn’t a good excuse anymore.

Parasocial relationships are one-sided relationships. It usually involves one person overly obsessing over the other party, who, probably, has no idea they are in this imaginary relationship with this person. An excellent example of a parasocial relationship is the “relationship” between celebrities and their fans. When you’re in the public eye, and you are likable, you start to get attention which grows a fanbase. It’s perfectly normal for people to be fans of celebrities (artists, actors, athletes, etc.). What’s not normal is the entitlement some fans tend to develop over time with their favorite celebrities. Emotionally attaching yourself to someone who does not know of your existence, isn’t healthy. In fact, it is a big problem that leads you to miss out on the excitement your own life gives you.

Missing out on the opportunities your life holds to pay attention to someone else isn’t the proper
way to live. In today’s society, parasocial relationships are normalized. The effects of it all are
not talked about very often, and it is not taken that seriously. Going out of your way to defend
someone, who would never do the same for you is pretty lame. It’s worse when people are
defending someone in the wrong, but dismiss the groups they are offending. For example, a celebrity could get exposed for sexual assault or racism, so why is the first thing their fans do is defend them? The big reason why a lot of celebrities get away with doing horrible things is because of their fans. You rarely see fans hold celebrities accountable, and if they do, they go on the next day acting like it never happened.

A lot of these fans see themselves in these celebrities, or they see them as a close friend or a family member. What people don’t realize is celebrities are marketed to the general public that way. Social media allows celebrities to be relatable. They are marketed to show you a little bit of their life, not too much of it, but enough for you to think they are kind, loveable, and everyday type people. When in reality, looking at their lives through a screen, you are barely scratching the surface. The truth is, we actually do not know what these celebrities and influencers are actually like. They want you to feel like you know them, so they continue to gain your support. It’s smart, and it’s not a bad thing, but what they don’t realize is they are enabling these parasocial relationships.

It isn’t a good thing that someone has so much power over you to the point that you start to neglect your own life to care about someone else’s. That’s why I think it is important that we start romanticizing our lives and taking care of ourselves. Make a goal sheet of what you want to accomplish for yourself, and work towards finding your own happiness instead of hiding behind someone else’s. Think about what you want for yourself and how you can get there. Everyone should want better for themselves.

Alana Williams

UC Berkeley '24

Hello, my name is Alana! I am a junior at Berkeley studying English and Theater Arts. What I usually do in my free time is reading books, watch reality t.v , and acting.