You probably have a parasocial relationship in your life. If you've grown up around television or literature it's a safe bet that you'll have encountered this concept, even if you didn't know what it was called.

Essentially it's a one-sided social interaction. Do you miss a TV series you used to watch? That's a parasocial relationship. You were never directly involved in the lives of the characters and they were not aware of you observing them yet you developed an attachment to them.

I feel that about various TV shows and find it somewhat disturbing. I do not tend to sit around the housing watching TV, however I have seen a frankly outrageous amount of content. Every Simpsons episode ever broadcast, for example (~500 at the time of writing). That's a lot of time watching characters and their lives and has affected my brain somewhat. I find watching The Simpsons to have a calming effect on me - the characters are familiar and positive (as in my perceived relationship with them) and it puts me at ease.

Similarly watching old episodes of Scrubs is a little sad, even though the plotlines pretty much resolved themselves. I watched the characters mature and grow over the course of nine series (I did not watch them year by year, but it was over the course of a few years). Now that their adventures are over there's somewhat of a gap in my life left by them. It's a bit odd and I'm not sure whether I am comfortable with the concept.

I suppose it's a similar phenomenon that drives people to be "supporters" of team sports clubs, although there are a great many other elements at play there.

Given the current issues I'm having with a few close friends at the moment it seems both natural and stupid to turn to these parasocial relationships for comfort. I'm doing my best to ensure that I do not turn to them exclusively as I feel that would be extremely unhealthy. It does make me wonder how many people inevitably do though...

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