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|2004-03-24 - Weird News|
Wireless Flash News
Make New 'Friends' But Keep The Old
West Lafayette, IN -- As the series end to "Friends" approaches, an expert on the emotional effects of media is warning that some fans may find themselves feeling as bad as they would if their best friends moved away.
Purdue University communications professor Glenn Sparks says many fans have what he calls a "para-social relationship" with Ross, Rachel and the rest of the gang. They feel like they really know these people, which causes them to have strong emotional reactions to the characters.
For most fans, this will lead to temporary melancholy feelings after the show wraps for good, but some will experience a profound sadness -- or even depression -- that could last for weeks.
It sounds kooky, but Sparks says as people become more mobile and move away from their best buddies again and again, they've begun to turn to TV characters to fill the void.
Dr. Sparks says the solution to this end-of"-Friends" depression is make some new acquaintances by pursuing hobbies and interests.
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