When we were younger, it was totally adorable to do everything in sync with our BFF’s. We rode the bus to school together, had our parents pack the same lunch, braided our hair the same (with similar bows and barrettes if we had them), and even coordinated outfits (“Let’s wear pink and purple tomorrow.” “With our white Sketchers?” “Yea!” “Ok!”). It was cute. We were young. And at that time, we had yet to find our own identities—fitting in was what felt right.
Much time has elapsed since those days, and by now—well into adulthood—the majority of us have come into our own. Or so you would think. We each have a distinctive style that comes naturally; particular makeup technique, signature hair styles, favorite stores to shop at, and color palette of choice. We are individuals. Now, our friends are diversely mixed, and compliment our tastes and personalities while remaining unique in their own right. We fit together perfectly, but stand just as strong alone. And though we may inspire one another to try new things here and there, we still respect the subtleties that make us oh-so-different. And it works.
Every so often, however, a friend comes along in search of a little bit more than mere inspiration. She seems completely harmless—at first. As sweet as they come, and always fun to have around. But sooner than later, you begin to notice the second-coming of yourself! A mirror-image in her that you know wasn’t there to begin with. Have you met her? Have you been her? I’m talking about—the Copycat Friend.
The following are a few smoke signals indicating that you may, in fact, be dealing with a Copycat Friend. Do any of these sound familiar?
She’s always asking to borrow something — It may start off as something simple, like a pair of studs or a simple clutch to wear with a particular outfit. But the borrowing becomes more frequent, and with more important items. Soon, she’s asking to wear your favorite dress, or even worse—your favorite bag! “Can I use your Damier Trevi tonight, girl? My zipper broke and I can’t find anything else that will go with these shoes!” Oh no, ma’am. And if, by chance, you aren’t trying to lend yours out—she just goes and buys the exact thing, as if nothing were wrong. “Look what I picked up—twinsssss!” followed by a seemingly naive grin—as if this were perfectly normal. Run for the hills!
Ms. “Me Too!” — In everyday conversation, she’s in agreement with nearly everything you say. If you like a certain style of clothing—she does too! If a particular store is your favorite—it’s hers too! You’re thinking about moving to a new state—would you believe she’d been considering it to?! Or so she says. Ms. “Me Too!” is notorious for leading you to believe that you share even the most minute and peculiar similarities, and that your friendship was nothing short of destiny. Sidenote: To test this theory, try ranting and raving over something you clearly don’t like. If she’s all for it, chances are, you’ve got a copycat on your hands. Proceed with caution . . .
She begins to adopt more than your way of dress — As if dressing like your identical twin isn’t already enough, she begins to take on your mannerisms and speech. Those quirky little sayings that perhaps you share with a sibling, or even an accent if you’re from a different place in the world—become apart of her daily vernacular. She walks the same and giggles just as you do.
People can’t tell who’s mimicking who — The very last thing you want to hear when dealing with a Copycat Friend is a perfect stranger saying “Hey, you look just like [insert culprit’s name here]!” The straw that broke the camel’s back . . . and his hips . . . and his neck. Hell, the straw that killed the poor camel. Enough is enough.
You know what they say: “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” Yeah yeah—whateva. But at what point does flattery go too far? It’s great to know that someone admires and is inspired by your look, but it’s just that—your look. Sure, similarities are bound to happen between friends, for this is usually what attracts us to one another in the beginning. But maintaining individuality is also important, and key to achieving balance in the relationship.
– Chelsea Smith