How to Deal with a Copycat Friend

How to Deal with a Copycat Friend

Have a "Single White Female" on your hands? Here's what to do.
Comments (20)

We all had that one friend in junior high, you know, the one who complimented your shoes and showed up the next day wearing them, went after the exact same guy you liked, even though she had called him “dorky” two weeks earlier, and claimed she too was a vegetarian when you decided to swear off meat? Dealing with a copycat when you’re thirteen is tough, so how do you even go about dealing with it when you’re an adult? Yes, unfortunately, the end of puberty does not necessarily mean the end of the “groupie” friend.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but feeling like a victim of identity theft can be beyond annoying. Here’s how to handle that one girlfriend, co-worker, or friend of a friend who can’t seem to stop mirroring your every move, like a tacky, counterfeit Fendi purse.

Stop and Assess
Yes, we all think we’re completely original, and one-of-a-kind, and while that’s mostly true, there are always going to be other people who share our interests, big and small. And in a way, we’ve all been copycats at some point—we have to have picked up our preferences somewhere, right? The point is, there’s a line between merely using someone as, say, style inspiration, and going all single-white-female. You need to step back and consider if your friend is just mildly annoying, as in she occasionally picks up the same tops you have—in this case, you should probably keep your mouth shut and learn to deal with the fact that you obviously have amazing taste. On the other hand, if she’s bordering on full-blown clone, and has adopted not only your hairstyle, but also your ex-boyfriend, career and life philosophy, then you may need step in.

Switch It Up
So, she shows up at work wearing the exact same Chanel nail polish shade as you, is toting the designer bag you bought last week, and has also suddenly become a yoga-enthusiast overnight. Instead of excusing yourself and sprinting to the women’s washroom to scream behind a stall, try to take this as an opportunity to change things up a little—whether it be your appearance, your hobbies or your coffee shop haunt. If she follows suit, maybe you’ll help her find new favourites, and who knows, they just might stick. The bonus: you’ll get new experiences out of it along the way. Note: this is also a sure-fire way to tell if you’ve indeed picked yourself up a full-fledged copycat.

Keep It To Yourself
If you find she’s constantly picking your brain, and spouting off your opinions and passions as if they were her own, try keeping more to yourself. As in, don’t tell her your stance on an important issue, and conveniently keep her in the dark as to where you picked up your new, gorgeous LBD.

Talk To Her
Chances are, if your friend is continually copying you, she’s most likely insecure and has problems trusting her own instincts. Being straight with her, and addressing the issue might help more than you’d expect. The key is to be gentle, but direct—in this situation, subtleties won’t get you anywhere. By talking it out, you might find that she’s been adopting your interests as a way to get to know you better, or she might not even fully recognize her own behaviour and just needs a few words from you to tone it down, or cut it out. You can also help her to look away from you, and turn to magazines, TV, art and books to form her own set of thoughts and opinions.

Ride It Out
If all else fails, the only other route is to accept the fact that you’re just that great that someone wants to be exactly like you. That isn’t too bad of a thing really, and even though it can get result in some serious teeth-grinding in the meantime, your copycat friend will eventually grow bored of you and start picking up inspiration elsewhere. It will also help if you maybe stop being available for drinks after work, or trips to the gym for a little while. 

Comments

Anonymous's picture

So glad you wrote about this! I have had to distance myself from a copycat friend! Facebook was bad and I had to block certain things she could see on my profile such as if I were to become friends with someone, she would right after, even if she didn't know them! It was weird. When my boyfriend cheated on me last year, she started telling people that her boyfriend cheated too! Best to distance yourself from people like that!

Anonymous's picture

I have this situation but with a work colleague. We aren't close enough where I feel I could say something to her, but I really am peeved that she copies things I considered part of my personal style. Silly probably, but playing 'twinsies' isn't cool, its an office not the sandbox??

Anonymous's picture

This has been really difficult for me for about 10 years off and on. If I want to vent it out with anyone they think I am being petty, childish, or over reacting. I don’t know how to deal with it besides from ignore my adult friend. She copied my hairstyle exactly, (it scared me) but could not quit achieve so stopped, but now is trying it again. I don’t want to look alike in any way so I try to change it up, but she will just copy that. If I say I like a star she will like him too. I am not sure why this is happening or how to address it in the most kind loving way. I have told her a co worker bought a dress I had and she says oh that happen to me too. When the hint was for her. I will bring up shows how someone has copied the other and how annoyed that character was, and she will agree, but won’t stop. She is a good friend, but I may have to pull away in the long run. She has made statements that something is her idea when I just said it an hour ago. Words I make up will repeat... I wonder if she is deep down really more than stealing my style but wanting my life, boyfriends, and mind. What is even odder is she will not compliment me on my thinking, hair, or style. Instead just copy it later. Bizarre. It would not be so bad if she just said you know I really like xyz or I love your hair how do I do that. Instead be silent covet it and then do it later like nothing...HELP! I want to stay friends but this is a huge challenge at times.

Anonymous's picture

It's more frustrating when they're not a friend, and they're copying things like your children's names and nicknames for that matter!

Anonymous's picture

Glad to know I am not alone in having a psycho adult copycat friend. I have been friends with this girl on and off since we were about 8, and we are now in our 20's and she has not stopped copying me, in fact it's getting progressively worse. In high school she would like boys I liked, start trying to be friends with people I was friends with, copy my clothes (typical high school copying, pretty harmless) Well now that we are older it's bad. She went to college for Early Childhood Development, and I went off to college for Graphic Design. Can you guess what happens next? She now has a graphic design degree, even though she has neither talent nor interest in art. We both applied for a great job at the same place, she LIED on her resume and got the job. I have since found an equally good job and am very happy, guess what? She wants to quit her job and work where I'm at. I have been in a long term relationship for nearly 4 years now and she had multiple guys for just weeks at a time. I start talking about marriage and children and show her the wedding dress I am hoping to buy. About 2 weeks later she adds a friend of mine on Facebook that I had a big crush on in high school (they've never even met) a week later, they're dating. 2 months later, they live together. 6 months!!! later they are engaged, 2 days after the proposal she asks me to be MOH and to go dress shopping with her and her family/friends. She buys "my" wedding dress. I cried for 2 hours. I'm an avid reader/book collector. She just bought a kindle and a huge bookshelf (which is empty, since she owns about 5 books). I'm growing my hair (it's waist length) she decides to start growing hers (it's armpit length) and then comments that they are about the same length. I recently bought an iPhone, she sees mine and THE NEXT DAY goes and buys one. All of our mutual friends notice this and think its crazy but they laugh. My boyfriend tells me I could control her whole life just by my choices. It is absolutely NOT FLATTERING it's disturbing. I'm trying to distance myself, which is difficult since I'm her maid of honor. But after the wedding I am cutting ties.

Anonymous's picture

I've been searching all through every copycat advice page there is on the internet. One of my friends is copying me, and sometimes my other friends.
I drew some MLP FIM ponies for us, and she got huffy and jealous and made MORE ponies, alicorns, and they looked horrible. My friend has a awesome new manga book, she copies the main charcter EXECTLY, wanting pink hair and being a vampire. I tell her about this cool song and sing it, she goes off and starts singing it in an awful high-pitched voice ( she sings everything like this).
I am so frustrated. She crys when we try to talk to her ( spometimes it actually gets out of hand) and we all get mad. Thanks for the advice, still searching.

Anonymous's picture

So glad you wrote about this! I have had to distance myself from a copycat friend! Facebook was bad and I had to block certain things she could see on my profile such as if I were to become friends with someone, she would right after, even if she didn't know them! It was weird. When my boyfriend cheated on me last year, she started telling people that her boyfriend cheated too! Best to distance yourself from people like that!

Anonymous's picture

I have this situation but with a work colleague. We aren't close enough where I feel I could say something to her, but I really am peeved that she copies things I considered part of my personal style. Silly probably, but playing 'twinsies' isn't cool, its an office not the sandbox??

Anonymous's picture

This has been really difficult for me for about 10 years off and on. If I want to vent it out with anyone they think I am being petty, childish, or over reacting. I don’t know how to deal with it besides from ignore my adult friend. She copied my hairstyle exactly, (it scared me) but could not quit achieve so stopped, but now is trying it again. I don’t want to look alike in any way so I try to change it up, but she will just copy that. If I say I like a star she will like him too. I am not sure why this is happening or how to address it in the most kind loving way. I have told her a co worker bought a dress I had and she says oh that happen to me too. When the hint was for her. I will bring up shows how someone has copied the other and how annoyed that character was, and she will agree, but won’t stop. She is a good friend, but I may have to pull away in the long run. She has made statements that something is her idea when I just said it an hour ago. Words I make up will repeat... I wonder if she is deep down really more than stealing my style but wanting my life, boyfriends, and mind. What is even odder is she will not compliment me on my thinking, hair, or style. Instead just copy it later. Bizarre. It would not be so bad if she just said you know I really like xyz or I love your hair how do I do that. Instead be silent covet it and then do it later like nothing...HELP! I want to stay friends but this is a huge challenge at times.

Anonymous's picture

It's more frustrating when they're not a friend, and they're copying things like your children's names and nicknames for that matter!

Anonymous's picture

Glad to know I am not alone in having a psycho adult copycat friend. I have been friends with this girl on and off since we were about 8, and we are now in our 20's and she has not stopped copying me, in fact it's getting progressively worse. In high school she would like boys I liked, start trying to be friends with people I was friends with, copy my clothes (typical high school copying, pretty harmless) Well now that we are older it's bad. She went to college for Early Childhood Development, and I went off to college for Graphic Design. Can you guess what happens next? She now has a graphic design degree, even though she has neither talent nor interest in art. We both applied for a great job at the same place, she LIED on her resume and got the job. I have since found an equally good job and am very happy, guess what? She wants to quit her job and work where I'm at. I have been in a long term relationship for nearly 4 years now and she had multiple guys for just weeks at a time. I start talking about marriage and children and show her the wedding dress I am hoping to buy. About 2 weeks later she adds a friend of mine on Facebook that I had a big crush on in high school (they've never even met) a week later, they're dating. 2 months later, they live together. 6 months!!! later they are engaged, 2 days after the proposal she asks me to be MOH and to go dress shopping with her and her family/friends. She buys "my" wedding dress. I cried for 2 hours. I'm an avid reader/book collector. She just bought a kindle and a huge bookshelf (which is empty, since she owns about 5 books). I'm growing my hair (it's waist length) she decides to start growing hers (it's armpit length) and then comments that they are about the same length. I recently bought an iPhone, she sees mine and THE NEXT DAY goes and buys one. All of our mutual friends notice this and think its crazy but they laugh. My boyfriend tells me I could control her whole life just by my choices. It is absolutely NOT FLATTERING it's disturbing. I'm trying to distance myself, which is difficult since I'm her maid of honor. But after the wedding I am cutting ties.

Anonymous's picture

I've been searching all through every copycat advice page there is on the internet. One of my friends is copying me, and sometimes my other friends.
I drew some MLP FIM ponies for us, and she got huffy and jealous and made MORE ponies, alicorns, and they looked horrible. My friend has a awesome new manga book, she copies the main charcter EXECTLY, wanting pink hair and being a vampire. I tell her about this cool song and sing it, she goes off and starts singing it in an awful high-pitched voice ( she sings everything like this).
I am so frustrated. She crys when we try to talk to her ( spometimes it actually gets out of hand) and we all get mad. Thanks for the advice, still searching.

new york seo's picture

Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors! It's been
so very much appreciated!

lois's picture

I have a very similar situation. For years now, we were friends but we are neighbors. It is NOT flattering like others say. It is dam right creepy. My neighbor tries to "outdo me" with my ideas but it has gotten kind of scary. I say, cut ties now. I learned my being quiet about it, made it okay in her eyes. Now that I ignore her and have moved on. I realize we were never friends and my life is calm and normal now. I say move on or tell her what she is doing to you bothers you. See where she takes it. She may stop or she may react because you have exposed her. Good luck

Patrice's picture

I have dealt with a copycat for the past 4 years...FOUR LONG years...she started off really awesome! At first I was so happy she liked the same things I liked, had kids my kids ages and it was great...for a little while. Till I realized what was going on. I talked about my family a lot and she liked it, she said her family was similar...If my son did something her son had to do it, if I had an opinion hers was in line with mine! Next thing I knew, she said her husband cheated on her and she ended up separated from him and BAM. She asks me to hook her up with my brother in law (who looks a LOT like my husband). BIG MISTAKE. Within a few weeks she had her kids calling my in-laws grandma/grandpa, starts calling them mom and dad. She pushed her kids on them and would have them sit on grandmas lap so my boys couldn't get attention. She says she needs a place to stay (she doesn't work) and moves into my families house after three months of knowing my brother in law with her kids- she quickly shared a bank account with him and phone service. Within a year she was pregnant and of course not even divorced yet. That pregnancy was filled with drama - any way to get attention away from me and my boys. My REAL friend said that she was weird and was a mexican version of me...a cousin asked us what was wrong with her...all of this I found disturbing. Then she started posting things to hurt my kids on FB - she knew my kids looked at her page with me and were hurt by things she did so I had to block her from FB and all social media. She is STILL trying to take my place and uses my brother in laws account to spy. So I have to hide posts and pictures from him too now...it's so sad. If I share something she will still copy it. If I help out, she helps out more. She wore my hair style and exact same shirt one week after I wore it once..that was WAY too much. She's so extreme that I know if I decide to have another child she'll be pregnant within the minute she finds out...did i mention she's now engaged to my brother in law. SCARY! She has the immediate family fooled but everyone who isn't poisoned by her lies daily can see how messed up she is.

Patrice's picture

I feel your pain, my copycat is about to marry into my FAMILY!! She's crazy and I'm afraid. IS she a copy cat or a stalker? My husband said the same thing - why not do certain things then she'll copy BUT my copy cat will only copy things that don't require too much work on her part - like she won't copy me by getting a job lol! She WILL copy me by acting like me and folllowing what I do and what my kids do and how we dress and how I act and well...you get it...you are not alone...sadly there are tons of crazy women out there...just be glad you're not one of them!

Bennie Lee's picture

my copy cat freind actes like she doesnt like me at some times but every day she try's to copy my hair style but i have dreads and she puts weave in her hair and puts it in a bunn or sumthing but i dnt cair because at the end of the day my dreads are 7 yeasrs real

Anon's picture

I KNOW THE FEELING. My best friend that I've known for 7 years always copies everything that I do. I mostly keep to myself, I do poetry, journaling and I read/listen to music. She started journaling and doing poetry and she will tell people she likes the same authors as me and she listens to the same music as me and then picks on me for liking so many bands!! She copies my hair to, if i dye my hair brown she dyes it brown, if I go blonde she goes blonde. and then she will complain that I dye my hair too much and she'll make fun of me for it. It's more than just annoying, it bothers me so much that I am now afraid to express myself because I'm afraid that people will copy me. she's too good of a friend to let her go..

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