Why Your “Friendship”; With Your Favorite TV Character Is a Good Thing

This type of special friendship has a name-a parasocial relationship-and it could even be good for you. Here's why.
1 / 3

Why Your “Friendship” With Your Favorite TV Character Is a Good Thing

This type of special friendship has a name—a parasocial relationship—and it could even be good for you. Here’s why.

-Nadia Goodman, YouBeauty.com

Liz Lemon

When Laura Moore, a business school student in Toronto, first “met” Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, she thought, “I’ve found my soul mate and she is on TV.” The clincher: A season one episode when Liz, explaining to Jenna how her new relationship is going, said “Terrible. I just want to go home and watch that show about midgets and eat a block of cheese.”

For Laura, the line was a revelation. “I’ve thought that exact same thing!” she says. She’s been a fan ever since, relieved by the thought that someone else thinks like she does.

Television has returned after its summer hiatus, but if you’re a little too excited to hear about your favorite characters’ adventures and heartbreaks (and maybe caught a few reruns just to “hang out” with them over their agonizingly long vacations), rest assured: You are not insane.

Feeling like you’re friends with a fictional character is a common phenomenon—one that psychologists call “parasocial interaction”—and it can even be good for you.

Parasocial interaction is psych-speak for relationships that, unlike real friendships, only go one way. (As in, Friends’ Rachel Green has no idea that you exist even though you know that she once owed fifteen dollars in a poker game and watched her daughter’s birth.) These fictional friendships are surprisingly similar to real-life friendships and go from first meeting to intimacy to breakup, just like any real-world affair.

Read 9 Pop Culture Love Lessons to Unlearn

Stage 1: The “Getting To Know You” Phase

When Chris Basler, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, was in high school, he had what he calls “an intense personal connection” with David Fisher of Six Feet Under. David’s plot line in the first season centered around coming out to his family—something Chris had yet to do—so watching the show every week with his parents hit very close to home. “It was really painful,” he says. “I knew that his struggle was the same struggle I was going through.”

Seeing ourselves in a character can help us establish a bond, explains Dara Greenwood, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Vassar College. That connection can feel intensely personal, especially since we get to witness their inner struggles.

Since Chris works behind the scenes, he knows that fictional struggles come from somewhere real. “Writers write what they know. If they’re writing a gay couple dealing with adoption, that’s coming from a real place,” he says. “Watching it on TV lets you know what’s normal and what other people are dealing with.”

While some characters show us the person we are, others show us who we aspire to be, and can even help us get there. (Don’t we all want our conversations to be as punchy and witty as Seinfeld?)

“Some research suggests that individuals with lower self-esteem may benefit from feeling connected to a character who is more in line with their ‘ideal self.’ It can help them internalize that perspective,” says Greenwood. Ultimately, it may come down to whether the qualities you admire are healthy and achievable. If they are, idealization can be good for you.

follow BettyConfidential on... Pinterest

Read More About...
Related Articles...

10 thoughts on “Why Your “Friendship”; With Your Favorite TV Character Is a Good Thing

  1. Extraordinary things like this happen and it's these incidents that help us go on though anything and not give up or give in. A ray of light may shine on you when you least expect it and a true friendship can be born in the most unusual circumstances.

  2. Envision discovering you might be the co-owner of one's business as opposed to the sole operator, or which you have a satellite tv business an individual didn’t find out about operating in the different express, or there exists a business using a similar name employing a similar deal with to the one you have pretending being your enterprise.businesslawalert.net

  3. In the past, when civilization flourished down the banks involving rivers along with in pond valleys, if your transport system what food was in early ancient form, bullock basket horse influenced carriage being really the only means, one civilization flourished down the plains in the Indus plus the Ganges.lowcostmobile

  4. Commonly speaking, the time period 'communications technology' can talk about any technology that permits its consumers to communicate against each other. Using this specific (granted loose) explanation, two-way radios and mobiles fall in the category involving 'communications technological innovation.communitechdatabase

  5. Theft is often a major worry to trucking the trucking industry. Truck drivers will likely need to stop occasionally while travelling for foodstuff, lodging, and fuel way up. When your truck can be left un monitored, many thieves still find it a perfect possiblity to make off of with the two truck as well as cargo.securtech

  6. The common video croping and editing software found on recent Windows operating systems is termed Windows Video Maker. By making use of this software, you could upload videos for a computer, revise them using transitions along with titles, perhaps narration, and come up with a movie of your family to turn to DVD MOVIE.windowsmoviemaker

Leave a Reply

");iw.close();var c=iw[b];} catch(e){var iw=d;var c=d[gi]("MarketGidScriptRootN3628");}var dv=iw[ce]('div');dv.id="MG_ID";dv[st][ds]=n;dv.innerHTML=3628;c[ac](dv); var s=iw[ce]('script');s.async='async';s.defer='defer';s.charset='utf-8';s.src="http://jsn.dt07.net/b/e/bettyconfidential.com.3628.js?t="+D.getYear()+D.getMonth()+D.getDate()+D.getHours();c[ac](s);})();
top of page jump to top