ADVERTISEMENT

Celebrity culture is all around us. We see famous people on the big screen, on the stage and in the news. Thanks to social media, they seem closer than ever. We can see inside their homes, watch and judge their daily routines. It sometimes makes us say: "Hey, I do that too. They're just like me!"

Yet there's still something thrilling about meeting a celebrity in person. Whether it's a person you admire or just saw in the media in passing, it can still be worth sharing. This X thread by @gothamhiphop is the perfect example. The entries range from hilarious to wholesome, although some might make you raise your eyebrows too. So scroll away and see for yourself if meeting your heroes always turns out bad.

#2

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

gdimelow Report

Add photo comments
POST
fatharry4 avatar
Fat Harry
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I always get this sense of dread when a post starts with "I met Dolly Parton..." because I'm terrified it'll ruin my opinion that she's a wonderful person... not one post yet has!

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu

One feature of the ubiquitous celebrity culture is parasocial relationships. By no means is this a new concept, most social media users know what it is and are quite self-aware about it. But with loneliness and isolation becoming an epidemic, it's important to discuss one of its contributing factors.

A parasocial relationship is often the reason we like a celebrity and want to meet them. Encountering them in real life seems like a big event. You've admired this person from the comfort of your home for so long and now you get to tell them how much you've connected with their work. The catch? This relationship is not exactly equal.

#6

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

atomryan Report

Add photo comments
POST
sarah-jones avatar
sbj
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Lenny is a Legend, He's still a local boy (Dudley) through & through

View More Replies...
View more commentsArrow down menu
ADVERTISEMENT

For a long time, we thought of parasocial relationships as one-sided. It can happen with an actor I saw in a movie or a singer I watched perform on stage. The National Register of Health Service Psychologists writes: "Viewers experience a connection with the media user and express feelings of affection, gratitude, longing, encouragement, and loyalty towards them."

A parasocial relationship is not simply admiring and liking the work of a famous person. Licensed marriage and family therapist Jessica Leader tells Everyday Health: "It involves a level of commitment to a public figure where you even begin to view the celebrity as a friend or confidante."

ADVERTISEMENT
#9

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

0xHerSilence Report

Add photo comments
POST
coltwinkler avatar
Colt Winkler
Community Member
3 months ago

That is way cool

View more commentsArrow down menu

Some people view parasocial relationships as only negative. It's true that it can sometimes turn exploitative and be used only for financial gain. TikTok users, for example, point out that Taylor Swift is "first and foremost, a capitalist". They claim she uses parasocial relationships to sell multiple versions of the same album and "overpriced tickets with VIP additions".

ADVERTISEMENT

Perhaps the most extreme example of parasocial relationships in entertainment can be the K-pop industry. The idols nurture their relationships with fans through regular livestreams and posts on social media, creating “friendships” with their fans. Western artists use similar marketing tactics, but K-pop really takes advantage of this business model.

A clinical psychologist John Felix told Vice that parasocial relationships can become problematic when fans over-identify with their idols. "If your idols inspire you, make you happy and be a better person, then great. However, you must keep in mind that if your interest in them gets in the way of living your life productively, then you can consider it a red flag," Felix said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Is it possible these relationships are not as one-sided as we think? Hank Green, online science communicator and one half of the vlogbrothers duo on YouTube, recently made a video about what he termed "sarapocial relationships." 

People who become so-called celebrities and have a following feel a certain responsibility to their audience too, he says. As a person around whom an online community has formed and has been going strong since 2007, Green has an interesting perspective on this issue.

#20

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

0Obiewan2 Report

Add photo comments
POST
melloncollie avatar
MellonCollie
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not boring, sweet. Bothering celebrities in their private time is a no-no, so even though you did go over, you were not an annoying fanboy but showed respect.

View more commentsArrow down menu

He talks about the community that has formed from the fanbase of the vlogbrothers channel. "I have always known that I have a very strong, very real, very important relationship with the people whom I do not know who consume this content. Just like you can have a relationship with a character in a book, I have a parasocial relationship with this thing that I've created in my head. I've invented it and it's a thing that I can never fully know or understand."

ADVERTISEMENT
#22

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

clauirizarry Report

Add photo comments
POST
melloncollie avatar
MellonCollie
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well, that was polite of you, and of her as well. Could have been worse!

View more commentsArrow down menu
#24

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

maliktheoracle Report

Add photo comments
POST
wandiledludlu avatar
Sum Guy
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Shaq might have been going in for a handshake and this person thought he was proposing

View more commentsArrow down menu

Green talks about what it's like for the person on the other side of the parasocial relationship. "The sarapocial relationship is actually a much bigger deal than the parasocial relationship in that person's life because it's not just a relationship. It's also a job, it's an ever-present thing in my mind. Everything [public] I do is informed by it."

See Also on Bored Panda
#27

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

oodleray Report

Add photo comments
POST
rwtnuhkielf7 avatar
HTakeover
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Got lucky there. He's real hit & miss, mostly miss.

View more commentsArrow down menu

The community he's talking about – Nerdfighteria – is a rare phenomenon on the Internet, where toxic fandoms sometimes thrive. Generally, one of the positive things about parasocial relationships is their role in community-building. Studies have shown that these relationships have positive effects on loneliness. They also provide people with a sense of companionship and are a source of social connection.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It is very important and an absolute good thing to share a great deal of yourself,” Green also declares in his video. "I think that a self shared is a much more rich existence than a self that is only for oneself." And it's a nice sentiment, we do crave social interaction after all. As long as we're able to balance the dangers of co-dependent parasocial relationships, having people to admire is not at all a bad thing.

#36

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

cobychase Report

Add photo comments
POST
superheroesagainstandros avatar
LinkTheHylian
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Back up in yo' a*s with the resurrection!" - Jennifer Aniston

View more commentsArrow down menu
See Also on Bored Panda
#38

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

uncooljerk Report

Add photo comments
POST
leemacro50 avatar
Nacho Man Sandy Ravage
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Parent 1 - "Who did they apologise to??" Parent 2 - "To me". P1 - "To you??" P2 - "To me"

View more commentsArrow down menu
#40

Memorable-Celebrity-Encounters

ImNotCarlton Report

Add photo comments
POST
katebaker_2 avatar
madbakes
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't imagine Shaq would care what others thought was fair

View more commentsArrow down menu

Note: this post originally had 99 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.