John Mulaney performs onstage in New York in 2019. On Twitter, some people will form parasocial relationships with celebrities like him – but what is a parasocial relationship and are they unhealthy? Photo: Getty Images
John Mulaney performs onstage in New York in 2019. On Twitter, some people will form parasocial relationships with celebrities like him – but what is a parasocial relationship and are they unhealthy? Photo: Getty Images

Parasocial relationships: the ‘illusion of friendship’ with a celebrity is better than none at all – but it can also be unhealthy

  • A parasocial relationship is ‘the illusion of friendship’ with a public persona, says one professor, who adds it’s a normal thing that we do as social creatures
  • During the pandemic, many people starved for social interaction have turned to parasocial relationships because they aren’t getting those needs met in real life

John Mulaney performs onstage in New York in 2019. On Twitter, some people will form parasocial relationships with celebrities like him – but what is a parasocial relationship and are they unhealthy? Photo: Getty Images
John Mulaney performs onstage in New York in 2019. On Twitter, some people will form parasocial relationships with celebrities like him – but what is a parasocial relationship and are they unhealthy? Photo: Getty Images
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