What Are Parasocial Relationships?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed Taylor Swift and Netflix’s Love Is Blind all over the internet recently.
The Swiftie’s world has been rocked by the news that Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn have broken up after 6 years of dating.
Some fans are ready to grab pitchforks and torches and ride at dawn to take down Joe; others are brokenhearted and intensely examining all the lyrics on recent albums to try to understand what went wrong.
As for Love Is Blind, aside from the ridiculous drama that was Netflix’s unequivocal failure of a live-streamed reunion, viewers are quick to label ‘villains’ and root for their favorite couples.
Ultimately, we all want the tea.
We want to know everything because we, as fans and viewers, feel that we’ve come to know the people we watch.
I’m not immune to it, either.
What are parasocial relationships?
More than ever before, we feel as though we know social media influencers, actors, singers, and other celebrities.
After all, Taylor Swift shares her life, love, heartbreak, and insecurities in her music. She writes about her life, weaving stories that resonate with her fans. We feel like we grew up with her.
But here’s the important bit — she didn’t grow up with us.
According to the National Register of Health Services Psychologists, a parasocial relationship is “a one-sided relationship formed when one party extends energy, interest, and time and the other person doesn’t know they exist.”
Sure, that sounds harsh. But it’s just the easiest way to define it.
Of course, Taylor Swift knows she has fans. She interacts with them regularly, leaves them cryptic clues, and speaks to fans as a whole.
But on an individual basis, she is not your friend. She doesn’t know your birthday, hug you when you’re sad, or call you to grab drinks on the weekend.
No matter how much you think you know celebrities, they don’t know you in the same way. Nor can you ever know everything about them.