Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Content warning: hyperfixtation

As I found myself watching the tenth video of the night on JFK assassination conspiracy theories, I began to wonder why I was so prone to hyperfixation. All it takes is a simple thought or mention of a topic before I decide to pull out my phone and see what else I can find. It seems like the vast world of information online makes it even easier for us to find anything we want. Although this is a good thing at times, it can also lead us far down the rabbit hole.

Sometimes, these phases of obsession may only last a short amount of time, or they can become a primary focus for years to come. Although it can be beneficial to be a professional on a unique topic, this obsession can also overwhelm our free time. Whether your obsession is with a person you know, a celebrity or that one random event in history, I think we can all relate to this all-encompassing feeling.

Parasocial Relationships

A parasocial relationship is a one-sided connection in which one person gives all of their emotional time and energy. This type of relationship is typically seen with celebrities and their fans, as the fans think they have an actual friendship with the famous person. However, a parasocial relationship can also occur with real people in our own lives. When we put someone on a pedestal, even when we don’t really know them, we are creating a false reality that is not based on real situations.

Many people enjoy having parasocial relationships with famous people because there is zero chance of rejection. If you never actually talk to a person and just obsess over an imagined relationship, then you can never get hurt or let down.

The availability of celebrities on social media also increases our fascination, as they are more available to us than ever before. One of the main downfalls of social media, in my opinion, is it is so difficult for people to differentiate reality from curated content. This confusion makes it harder for fans to understand they don’t actually have a strong relationship as they like to think.

However, I don’t think that parasocial relationships are always a negative thing. I know when I am feeling particularly lonely, it can feel comforting to be connected to a famous person. Obsessions with parasocial relationships just need to be carefully regulated to make sure they aren’t becoming too overpowering.

Negative Impacts of Obsessions

When we start to stress about an obsession to an unhealthy level, this is when it can become concerning. This unhealthy stress then develops into rumination. Ruminating on a topic or person for a long period of time can take you away from the real things in your life. Many people will harbor these obsessions as a way to avoid their reality, which does not solve any problems in the long run.

This rumination can then expand to co-rumination, which is when you drag the people around you into your obsessive thought patterns. Many people who suffer from anxiety or overthinking can become obsessed with every encounter they have, which forces a person to live in the past instead of making changes for their future. This pattern rehashes old issues that we have no control over.

Getting Over an Obsession

If you feel like an obsession is stressing you more than it motivates or accompanies you, then it might be time to move on. The most important thing is to set boundaries for yourself. For me, if I find myself obsessing over a certain television show I will make sure that I stay consistent with the number of episodes I watch at a time. Although this is a lower-stake obsession, even simple ones can take up a lot of your space and time. If your obsession is concerning a person, then it is important to make sure you are not dependent on them for your happiness.

To be a happy and mentally strong individual, it is essential that we have hobbies or people to surround ourselves with. Hyperfixating on one thing is never a good idea, so make sure to give yourself a break when you notice something transitioning from an interest to an obsession.

At times, obsessions can motivate us to think creatively or connect deeply with our emotional side. The positive benefits of an obsession can’t be overlooked — we just need to ensure that they still outweigh the stressful impacts. For now, I will probably still continue my habit of accumulating random obsessions, but I will be more mindful of how they negatively impact my time.

Racheal Jones is a senior at the University of Florida studying Sociology. She's completed research on family violence and is currently working on a new research project. She loves Marvel movies, sapphic fantasy novels and Taylor Swift. Outside of school, she's learning how to roller skate, take care of her plants and rock climb.
Minna is an English major at the University of Florida. She is a features writer for Her Campus UFL.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️