You scroll through their Instagram feed, reply to their tweets, watch their TikTok videos and defend them no matter what they do … Are you simply a fan or something a little more?
Parasocial relationships are one-sided bonds people develop with public and media figures such as actors, musicians, influencers or politicians, although the term can also be applied to peers. Unlike developing a crush, those indulging in parasocial relationships feel they are friends with the person – that they know them and know what they’re thinking and feeling.
For Mulaney, whose white, middle-class, male-skewing supporters see him as a comedy visionary and relatable everyman, the very fact their hero was being criticised for the speed of his new romance was tantamount to blasphemy.
“People usually get into a parasocial relationship by falling in love with celebrities, famous people, influencers or even fictional characters,” says Helen Najar, hypnotherapist and well-being counsellor at Miracles wellness centre in Dubai. “They create unrealistic ideas about a person and feel as if they are part of their life. They can also be physically attracted to them and feel emotionally attached, so begin to give the other party much interest, time, and emotional energy.
“This is commonly seen with fans of celebrities, as they truly believe they know the person rather than understanding that they only know the character being presented by the person.”
What is a parasocial relationship?
Parasocial relationships have been around for as long as humans but under different names and guises. Behaviours that previous generations would have termed as ardent admiration for someone, or even a long-distance crush, would almost certainly these days be deemed parasocial.
The term was first coined by sociologists Donald Horton and R Richard Wohl in their 1956 paper Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction, in which they said: “The crucial difference in experience obviously lies in the effective lack of reciprocity … The interaction, characteristically, is one-sided, non-dialectical and controlled by the performer.”
In short: you can like a particular celebrity all you want, but they’re not going to like you back.
Najar says: “This form of ‘relationship’ can give the individual a sense of belonging and that they are part of a group who shares their emotional connection of love and admiration with the said celebrity [character], which in a way normalises the relationship.”
The tipping point into obsession
Despite living in times of peak oversharing online, most people understand the parameters of their parasocial relationships. They know that Justin Bieber isn’t going to leave Hailey for them because they slid into his DMs, nor will Sonam Kapoor Ahuja invite them round for coffee because they admired her living room decor on Instagram.
“As with all things, good and bad co-exist and this can be seen when parasocial relationships tip into obsession, and this obsession or idealization of a character can affect both adults and children,” says Najar. “In children, this can become dangerous if the child idolizes a character and aspires to be like them, for example a certain character or celebrity’s body type.
Enjoying a healthy parasocial relationship: ‘They help people feel more connected.’
Hypnotherapist Helen Najar and psychologist Mina Shafik say the unprecedented levels of access into celebrities’ lives that modern technology has given followers has blurred the lines between what fans know about a public person and what they think they know. Photos: Miracles Dubai; Thrive Wellbeing Centre
The spotlight being shone on parasocial relationships also coincides with the pandemic, which caused people to be confined to their homes, and media and content consumption go through the roof. Similarly stuck in their mansions, celebrities started offering even more insights into their lives, including their homes, pets, meals and daily schedules. All of which made a desire on the part of the fan to “know more” seem less intrusive.
“The expansion of social media means people have unlimited access to a variety of platforms, entertainment sites and celebrities,” says Najar, “making the ability to feel connected to these celebrities otherwise private lives more attainable and socially acceptable.”
A journey to the past, present and future generations
All those who have gone before us play a part in making us who we are today. Deep in our mind and hearts we carry the collective story of our family’s history.
Ancestral Colour Healing can help you improve your:
- Health & Wellbeing
This workshop is about reconnecting with the never-ending source of healing, love and support available to you. In the process of reconnection we provide healing for our ancestors who need help to let go of their life stories.
Letting colour be our guide we will begin the healing and liberating process from the unhelpful and unhealthy stories, hidden legacies, and invisible family loyalties, enabling a joy for living in the now, a hope for the future, and to live more fully the life YOU were born to live.
When we honour and listen to the distant voices from the past, we create stronger roots, securer foundations and experience a joy of living in the present, together with the excitement and potential of creating a happier and more fulfilling future for ourselves and our descendants.
Somewhere back in time someone hoped and prayed for someone just like you. You are the one they have been waiting for; You are the answer to their prayers.
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.
You can be that generation”
Mark Wentworth has been working with ancestral healing for many years, his work and training with Jungian Psychotherapist Dr Roger Woolger has been a great inspiration for developing ways of incorporating this ancient wisdom into his own colour healing work. Mark is the creator of Colour PsychoDynamics a life-enhancing method integrating colour therapy with the collective and visionary worlds of C.G.Jung, Shamanism and Transpersonal based healing. Mark pioneered workshops in the late 90’s uniting colour with expressive arts and psychodrama techniques, giving colour, for the first time, not only a voice but also story and action.
We often find ourselves in life operating from a space of self-doubt and worst case scenarios, especially when we want to manifest our heart’s desires. Soon after discerning our dreams and visions that we have for ourselves, the next thought that often comes up is, “Will I be able to do it?”, “Do I have what I takes?” and “What will people say?” This doubting Thomas often stay with us much longer than the time we spent giving ourselves an opportunity to expand, think outside the box, envision our heart’s desire and set goals to manifest them.
Something not so different happened to me as I was going for a nature walk, awaiting for inspiration and my hearts calling to come to me like a gushing breeze that would hopefully change my life forever. While no such breeze came to sweep me away, I did feel my heart swell up as the thought of wanting to inspire and make a difference in people’s lives suddenly engulfed me. This sweet feeling of fulfilment filled me up for close to 30 seconds; the next thought took over me for the rest of the day. “Is it even possible?”, “How on earth are you going to do it?”, “You don’t have the skills to do it!”, “How will you look after yourself?” etc.
I gave way for these doubts to really see where they could take me and then I did something interesting. I took hold of one of them and starting ‘digging’. I was naturally and obviously scared of the possibility of fulfilling my heart’s desire and so the first question I asked myself “what’s the worst that can happen to you if you don’t succeed in helping others”. “I’m not good enough” was the first thought and feeling that popped out of nowhere. That moment, I felt an epiphany come hurling at from all directions. Not only did I carry these fears and beliefs of not being good enough within me but I also carried the answers of these fears with me! As I started digging deeper I found my initial fear to be lost in the pages of history and what was to come was all the more surprising and shocking. It was my feeling of separateness from the Creator that sprouted from my fear of failure. Not being good enough, lack of trust, faith, self-love, being alone and feeling unsupported ran much deeper than my developmental years and experiences to the germination of the feeling of not being connected, loved and supported by Creation.
This revelation changed my life forever for it changed my perspective to thoughts itself. I then went on a rather relentless search to find a technique by which I could transform these negative patterns into those that could be more empowering, loving, kind and empowering.
Theta Healing by Vianna Stibal literally came knocking on my door step as I was gifted this book by a dear friend who knew of my quest for self-healing and ever since then I have never looked back at my life as an impossibility, as a limitation that I can’t overcome by changing my perspective.
Theta healing is a training method for your mind, body and spirit that allows you to clear limiting beliefs and live life with positive thoughts, developing virtues in all that we do. Through meditation and prayer, the Theta Healing Technique creates a positive lifestyle by changing one’s limiting belief at the very core of our subconscious mind, transforming them to feel more connectedness and love with the Creator of all that is. If there is one energy method you learn, let it be this one![gravityform id=”2″ title=”true” description=”true”]