My Friend Copies Me

How to deal with a mate who keeps copying you…

Your best friend turns up wearing almost the exact same outfit as you, but you brush it off. That happens, right? Next, you start to notice changes in the way they talk and even act… is it just you or is there something oddly familiar about your friend’s new-found style and behaviour? Then you realise… they’ve become a carbon copy of YOU.

Why Copycat?

Well, this is actually a lot more common than you might think. So, while it’s normal to feel frustrated (and, yes, even a bit angry) that your friend is trying to ‘steal’ your style, let’s take a moment to get some perspective.

The truth is people who hang around together often begin to mirror one another’s style and mannerisms. This can be entirely subconscious – we don’t even realise we’re doing it. So, YOU could also be mirroring your friend’s style without even noticing it.

Many people just want to fit in. To be just like everyone else means to talk, act and dress like everyone else. It may seem like your friend is copying you but take a look around your classroom or group of friends and be honest – how many of you are wearing similar shoes, hairstyles, accessories or even use the same slang words and phrases?

Dealing With Your Copycat

With all that said, it can still feel annoying to have your friend copy your every move. It may even feel as if they’re stealing your identity. It’s a question of what you’re willing to overlook – and where you want to draw the line. While you’re weighing everything up, keep in mind all the positive things your friend brings to your life.

You might, for example, choose to ignore the fact that your mate has just bought the exact same school shoes because, after all, half the pupils in your class wear them… HOWEVER, you are most definitely not happy about them turning up to the school disco with an almost identical outfit and their hair styled exactly the same as yours. Now is maybe the time to let them know that their behaviour is starting to bug you just a little…

Encourage Their Own Individuality

You could begin by offering to help your friend find their own style. Explain how much time and effort you’ve put into finding your own ‘look’ and how carefully you’ve created your own identity – this will hopefully help them to see that simply copying someone else won’t help them to find their own individuality.

You could help them try out new hairstyles or hair colour or offer to go through their wardrobe together to help them put together outfits that don’t exactly mirror yours. A nudge in the right direction might be all that’s needed.

Double Trouble

Is your message not getting through? Time to talk. Choose a moment to speak to your friend, one-to-one. Don’t do it in front of others – this could make them feel embarrassed and insecure. Gently explain to your friend how their copycat behaviour is making you feel and offer once again to help them find their own voice. Keep in mind the quote, ‘Imitation is a form of flattery’: your friend admires you so much, they want to be just like you. They may also have insecurities you aren’t aware of so always be kind.

Hopefully, your friend will understand why you feel so frustrated and will stop copying you. Unfortunately, they might deny it or even accuse you of copying them. You’ve reached a stalemate at this point and it’s now up to you whether you want to continue the friendship or move on.

Read more about making new friends here. To find out more about what makes a good friend, click here and read about toxic friendships here.


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