The Science-Backed Reason You Need to Talk More About Your Favorite TV Shows

When you love a television show, your fellow fans are a whole new friendship group just waiting to happen.

tvMicroOne/ShutterstockIf you think watching TV makes you unsociable, think again! According to new research from Spain, talking about your favorite shows online can actually widen your social circle.

An article published in the National Communication Association’s Critical Studies in Media Communication explores the idea that watching fictional TV series and chatting with fellow fans in online forums can help female viewers express themselves and feel part of a community. When researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, analyzed more than 7,800 comments on social media sites and other online forums, they found that women who join these digital communities use their emotional ties with a television series to express themselves.

Additionally, many of the women (44.6 percent of more than 2,500 fans whose comments were reviewed) had a sense of belonging based on their mutual enjoyment of the shows. One fan’s online comment: “Now that [TV show] has finished, I’m going to miss the forum. I’ve met such lovely people who episode by episode have forged an everlasting friendship.”

Here are ways to make friendships that last, according to lifelong friends.

Other comments included references to the feelings triggered by the shows, for example: “From the beginning this series has brought back many memories as my dad was in the war.”

“This research has helped us to understand in what way domestic fiction communities created on the internet differ from traditional cult fandoms and what type of actions female social spectators carry out to create and maintain a feeling of community,” says study author Charo Lacalle, PhD, as reported on ScienceDaily. “Previous research has been heavily focused on more traditional cult fandom who are typically seen as obsessive fans and geeks. We wanted to understand the more spontaneous fans, and why they choose to take part in such online discussion, and now we understand why that is.”

If you’re still worried about your TV habit, here are 17 ways to beat your television addiction.