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The 10 stages of being a fan


1. Skepticism

You see your idols for the first time and you know you’re drawn in, but sometimes you just refuse to believe it. This is especially true if you were once an anti or sometimes true for fangirls of girlgroups or fanboys of boygroups. You’re curious, but you don’t want to admit it. Because kpop is lame maybe. Or hey you’re a girl why do you find a girl attractive. And you sometimes try to find out more about them to justify that there’s nothing special about them.

2. Curiosity

The genuine stage when you want to do some harmless searching and respect them as artists and all the nice things. In blunt words, you start stalking them on the internet, but of course you’re not going to admit it. They still need to pass your high standards.

3. Acceptance

This is when you start to admit, albeit grudgingly for some people, that ‘yeah yeah i like them.’ And then everything feels a lot lighter and you’re happier when you are searching for their pictures and videos. No more denials that you’re interested, and kinda hooked.

4. Indulgence

This is the most exciting stage when you absolutely indulge yourself in your new found love. You go to your first concert, your first meeting with other fans, your first account on twitter or tumblr or anywhere else that’s related to the idol you love, read your first fanfic, did a lot of first-times in that fandom. This is also when you start to fall for the other members if it’s a group and you only loved one initially, and you start to feel emotionally attached to them. Up to this point, it has been mostly about you. Your feelings. Your excitement. You, as a fan.

5. Integration

This is when the idols you love start becoming a real part of your life. They inspire you so much and you see your life beginning to truly change because of them. You become less wary of admitting you love them, less wary of other people’s judgements, because your idols are so important to you. 

6. Protectiveness

From the moment you decide you liked them, you would already have some degree of protectiveness. But at this stage it becomes very real to you. You have grown to love them so much, you feel hurt when anybody attacks them. You feel the need to defend their every weakness and vulnerability and take them under the fandom’s wings. You despise others who hurt them. But sometimes you do it to the point that you deny everything that is true, you protect them from everything they’ve done wrong. Because all that matters, is that someone is there to  protect them from harm. Although often irrational, the feelings are very real at this stage. This is when it starts to become not only about you. Now, it’s also about them.

7. Dedication

You began to go beyond just spazzing. You want to support them in all the ways you can. You want to contribute, so you start doing things like learning Korean so you can translate things, learning to edit and gif, you donate, you send letters and gifts to your idols… you start doing more tangible things. In hopes that somewhere somehow, they can feel your sincerity to them. You just want them to feel loved.

8. Fandom

The fandom starts to matter a lot to you. Of course it has always mattered. But this is when things start to get real for you. Although there is a lot of love going on around a fandom, you start to see the ugly side. Fanwars, petty arguments, betrayals, immaturity, everything. You start to dislike some part of it. Because even though you are loving the same people, you are all still different. You learn to handle the dynamics of a fandom, and hopefully you mature from it. More importantly you find the true friends that have stayed with you this far. Now this whole ‘being a fan’ thing is not just about you and your idols. Now it’s also about the fandom and the friends within.

9. Awareness

At this point of time, you have probably been around for long enough to hopefully know many things. You are more aware of not just your idols, but also the nature of the industry. You know how cruel it can be. And you also know that your idols won’t last. This is when you start to become aware of every moment you have with them, because you know eventually it won’t last. You always hope for forever just like your idols do, but you both know it won’t last. You try not to think too far into the future. You try to make every moment now count. You hold on to every moment.

10. Love

It has stopped becoming about you as a fan in the fandom. It’s now about them. Their happiness. Their excitements. Them, as the people you’ve grown to love and cherish. You start to think less of their albums, promotions, concerts, when you will meet them again… and more of their troubles, sadness and what would be best for them. This is the only stage I will deem as truly ‘love’. It’s when you can drop everything and say, “I only want you to be happy.” And that is more than enough for you.

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