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Why Do We Ship Fictional Characters Together?

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

Shipping is an artform― from choosing what characters to ship together to coming up with the best combinations for their respective ship names. For me, though? It’s just fun! 


Sometimes you can feel the chemistry between the characters and your mind will go, “Oh yes! I see it!,” and then you just can’t unsee it. One Urban Dictionary entry defines a ship as, “An unrealistic relationship that you love so much but causes you so much pain and misery forcing you to scream “MY FEELS!” while sliding out of your chair because it never comes true even though it’s so obvious it should,” and they are not wrong. 


Sadly, the majority of the most popular ships are not canon, so fans have to make do with fanfictions and fanart while trying to avoid falling into despair. 


“But why do we even do this, then?” you would ask yourself. Well, my friend, that’s what we’re here to answer! 

We have to acknowledge their connection 

When I say this, I literally mean you are obligated to! It’s not something that you can simply ignore. You see how characters interact and your brain just screams of excitement. Their connection grows every second, and you just sit there crying because you can’t understand how they aren’t together despite being perfect for each other. Even if you try to ignore it, it will haunt you, especially when the directors or authors refuse to acknowledge it themselves. Shipping is a way of telling the character that you see them and that you have their back… even if it’s through fanfiction. 

We just want them to be happy

When you read a book, watch a movie, or binge a series, it’s impossible not to get emotionally attached to a character. Soon, they turn into your own fictional babies, and you will do anything you can to protect them. It just makes sense for you to want them to be at their happiest, and what better than that other character that is perfect for them? Especially if they’re already pining for each other.

We see ourselves in them 

Once, I read somewhere that when you ship a couple it’s because you see yourself in one character and your type in their potential significant other. At first, I was like, “Nah,” but then I started to think about all my OTPs, and oh how right that person was. So, I invite you to reflect on this theory too, because you’ll probably be surprised at how accurate it could be. I think we hope they’ll make it as a couple because we want the reassurance that we will somehow achieve this as well. Once again, you are hoping for them to have their very own happy ending.

Why not?

There’s nothing in this world that can stop you from shipping. No matter what the canon story states, you’re always free to interpret it in your own way and make your own assumptions. If you want to ship characters just because the romantic combinations make sense to you, don’t let anybody stop you. Make fanart, write fanfics, and just ship until the end. I promise that a lot of people see the same connection that you do. And yes, some people will disagree, and you will disagree with others, but the important part is to respect each other’s ideas. Shipping is fun― don’t let anybody steal that fun from you!


If shipping is not causing you to feel feelings, you’re doing it wrong! In reality, emotions are a huge reason why we ship couples. They make our hearts feel warm and fuzzy. Seeing them interact makes us so happy. Sure, it can also break your heart and make you wanna cry, but it’s all worth it if there’s an opportunity for the characters to be together. 

At the end, it doesn’t really matter why we do it have― just fun shipping everyone you see. I hope your OTP becomes canon and they have their happily ever after!

Alana is currently in her fifth year, studying Comparative Literature in the UPR Río Piedras Campus. She loves books, superheroes and mythology. Will sing any song that she knows (even if she can't sing to save her life) and is always tired. She dreams with someday writing a book.