Questions for ‘We all imagine being friends with celebrities. Is that a bad thing?’

Harry styles, wearing a purple suit, poses for selfies with a crowd of fans

Many of the fans greeting Harry Styles have formed a parasocial, or one-sided, relationship with the singer.

Scott Barbour/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment

To accompany ‘We all imagine being friends with celebrities. Is that a bad thing?


Before Reading:

  1. What celebrities do you know a lot about? How does it make you feel to know so much about someone who does not know you?
  2. Do you ever imagine meeting your favorite celebrities? What do you imagine those interactions to be like?

During Reading:

  1. What are parasocial relationships? How do they differ from social relationships?
  2. Why, according to Kristin Drogos, do we form parasocial bonds with famous or fictional people?
  3. What types of social cues do young people learn from parasocial relationships?
  4. Bradley Bond describes a reason that we form parasocial bonds, which is related to the way our brains process faces. What is it?
  5. What evidence did Bond find in his research that parasocial relationships can help reduce prejudice?
  6. If a celebrity interacts directly with a fan on social media, does that change the fan’s relationship with the celebrity from parasocial to social? Why or why not?
  7. How could a fan’s relationship with a famous person change their perception of ads featuring that celebrity?
  8. In Nicole Liebers’ Instagram study, how did people’s attitudes toward products change when they were labeled as ads? How did that differ for ads featuring known influencers, versus new influencers?

After Reading:

  1. Do you have any parasocial relationships with famous or fictional people? How do you feel about those relationships now? Do you consider these relationships healthy or helpful? After reading this article, do you think those parasocial relationships have any potential risks or downsides to you? Explain your answers.