Occasionally, stories surface about K-pop fans who have become a little too wrapped up in the lives of their idols. There are horror stories of sasaeng fans who have caused injuries to idols, invaded their privacy and caused horror-filled reactions from fans. But there are also subtle signs arising from people who enjoy K-pop that the industry has come dangerously close to taking over their lives as well. Although being heavily involved in the Hallyu community does not guarantee a lifestyle filled with idol craziness and binge listening to music, it is important to remember to keep a healthy balance between life within the K-pop community and life outside of it.
One of the most common issues fans tend to have with their idols is dating. As a young adult or child, it is perfectly normal and healthy to develop a celebrity crush and go off on a long daydream about this supposedly “unattainable” person. Growing up, though, it is important to be able to recognize the difference between a day dream and an obsession; obsessions can often lead to the fan feeling like they–and they alone–should have the right to information about an idol’s private dating life; even become angry when dating rumors involving their idol begin to appear. In the most dangerous cases, obsessions like these can lead to Erotomania (believing that a person, usually of a “famous” status, is in love with you) and Celebrity Worship Syndrome.
Even if there are no thoughts about having a relationship with K-pop idols, the actions and personalities of celebrities can often influence the watcher’s current and future relationship. As fans watch and study videos of their favorite performers, they can often begin to feel an appreciation or longing for a certain personality trait a celebrity has. At first, it starts as a cute quality they love, but then it turns into a missing quality that their current partner does not have. This can often lead to an obsessed fan harboring resentment towards their spouse and wishing they could be more like their idol, and holding future partners to unrealistic expectations.
In order to avoid these issues, it is important to remind oneself that not all of the actions and personalities of artists and performers should be idolized. After all, if those same characteristics were present in a non-famous person, they would then be looked at as “normal” qualities; idols and celebrities are famous mostly for their skills in the music industry, not for their bright personalities. To further that statement, also remember that it is not fair to yourself or to your idol to assume that you are the perfect person out there for them and that they should only look at you. This notion and obsession will only set you up for disappointment in your future dating life and will increase your chances of developing an unhealthy mentality when it comes to the K-pop industry.
If you are ever concerned that you may be developing traits that point to obsession, then try taking a quick step back from K-pop and exploring new hobbies or interests to dedicate time to. Do not forget that it is perfectly okay to distance yourself from something if it is negatively impacting your life; so if you need to lay off the video watching or poster hanging for a while in order to reframe your mind and better yourself, then go right ahead! Try finding something physical to do (jogging/walking, outdoor photography, crafting, etc) that requires two eyes and two hands; this will lower your temptation to dive back into the unhealthy lifestyle. Always remember, it is okay to support and love your favorite K-pop idols, but do not let fantasies or daydreams become unhealthy ideas or obsessions!
To learn more about Celebrity Worship Syndrome head over to Psychology Today, for more information on Erotomania check out this medical journal written by Dr Harold Jordan and Dr. Gary Howe.