Parasocial Relationship

What is a parasocial relationship?

A one-way relationship between a fan and a creator

A parasocial relationship is a one-way relationship between a fan and a content creator, such as a podcaster, streamer, YouTuber, musician, or artist. While the fan (or stan) may have intense feelings for the content creator, the content creator likely doesn't know who the fan is. Some content creators fan the flames of their fans' parasocial relationships, encouraging fans to pursue unhealthy obsessions and behaviors.

How do parasocial relationships form?

As fans consume a content creator's content, they sometimes feel they've come to know the creator on a personal level. For example, after listening to 120+ hours of My Brother, My Brother, and Me, a fan may imagine themselves hanging out with the McElroy brothers, telling jokes that the trio would laugh at.

Content creators, however, rarely personally interact with their fans. So while a fan may feel they know everything about a content creator, the creator likely knows nothing about the fan. This creates a sometimes awkward one-way relationship, which can turn creepy if the fan pursues attention-seeking behaviors on social media or IRL.


It's weird to have a parasocial relationship with someone and then see them in person. You just want to tell them about your day, even though you know they'll think you're crazy
One Twitter user's take on fans' parasocial relationship with Disney
One Twitter user's take on fans' parasocial relationship with Disney

Related Slang


Updated May 7, 2021

Parasocial relationship definition by

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