The classics of American horror movies: the main character meets a new girlfriend who starts to dress, smell, talk, and act like her. In the end, it is clear that the goal of the imitator is to kill the main character and steal her perfect life.
The plot is not so far from the reality. In real life, girls often copy their friend’s style or manners. Coming to school in the same shirt is funny only when you are a teenager. Over time, most of us tend to emphasize our individuality. If you feel that you have become not only a role model but literally an object for copying, it’s time to take action. We will tell you how to save your uniqueness without losing the friendship.
Be honest with yourself: are you copying her too?
When two people spend a lot of time together, they unconsciously develop common interests, expressions, and even tastes. In our brain, there are special “mirror neurons” responsible for imitation, so learning from each other is in our nature. Before blaming a friend for copying, pay attention to your behavior: maybe you also do something like her, or your tastes are really very similar.
Decide if you can ignore this
If a friend made the same tattoo or bought the dress you had told her about, it’s not an excuse to stop talking, however unpleasant it is.
Try to find the reasons for this behavior: maybe she really admires you or is looking for her own style. Creating your own personality requires effort. That’s why most people prefer imitating.
We usually choose media people for inspiration, but, if you have become her idol, it is a compliment in itself. The New York psychologist Peggy Drexler suggests weighing whether you are ready to lose the friendship because of your dislike to imitation.
If you have a friend who loves what you look like, and she is less confident in herself, it’s worth thinking about whether you can just tolerate her behavior. Weigh your concern about copying it against all the good things that she and her friends give you.
In the times of social networks that many people use to create their own brand, the problem of copying can become more complex. When a friend shares photos with the same style as yours or steals hashtags, over which you’ve worked a lot, it’s quite natural to react to it.
Try to stop her
Do it mildly, without scandals and hysterics. If it’s about buying things, try not to tell her where you bought this or that item. Pay attention to the details of her image, which you do not possess; compliment her on them. Or, on the contrary, say that the color of the lipstick she borrowed from you or her hairstyle does not suit her. It is important to emphasize your differences and make it clear that the same things or techniques look different on the two of you.
Help her to form her own taste
If the problem is that your friend does not have her own image, help her create it. Go shopping together; advise what she can change in herself. Tell her how you approach the creation of your individuality and explain that she, too, can do this, if she wants. Since she respects your taste, she will certainly listen to your opinion.
Tell her about the problem directly
When delicate methods do not work, it’s time for an open conversation. Try to talk without accusations: they can affect her self-esteem and only strengthen the problem with self-determination. Your friend may deny her being a copycat, either out of shame or simply because she does not really notice it. Say that even if she copies you unconsciously, she should pay attention to this and avoid such behavior.
Do not involve strangers into the conversation, even to prove that everyone notices her copying. This is just between the two of you, and she can react to someone else’s interference aggressively.
If the situation is really serious, do not take it easy, but take measures to solve the problem. There is nothing shameful or stupid in defending your individuality, even if you’re not Beyoncé, and it’s not about your new hit, just about similar comments to photos in social networks.