General Question

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

Why do some people copy others in style and attitude?

Asked by QueenOfNowhere (1868points) June 18th, 2011

All my life I’ve been copied. I had close friends and they turned out to be completely different after a year of hanging out with me.
I dont understand this.. they became just like me. even our lipsticks… there was this one girl i met this year, we became best friends and she changed A LOT… She even started wearing red lipstick just like I always did.
what i dont get is… i would never do that. I am and always have been me…
so, why do everyone else or at least MOST people do this?
dont they understand its pretty awkward since I CAN SEE her change? duh.


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56 Answers

ChocolateCoveredStarfish's avatar

2 reasons I can think of. The first is just to fit in, really. Pretty much everyone wants to feel like they belong to part of a group. They want to fit in somewhere and not to be alone. Maybe they think if they act or look more like you do, you’ll be more accepting of them.

Second reason is that maybe they just like your style.

I suppose there could be many other reasons as well. But don’t let it bother you too much. After all, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

rebbel's avatar

I am pretty sure that even my grandmother wore red lipstick, so it is not that exclusive.
And as for other things like clothes, accesoires , behaviourisms even: i think you will find that certain groups (goths, punks, hip hoppers, etc.) attract like minded people who also share likings of clothes, brands, music taste, etc.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Be flattered. These other girls have looked at what you’ve done in or order to achieve a look they want too and now see it possible.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@rebbel No…. for example, this girl was very different, she never wore make up, she wore simple clothes, she was very childish and loud… Then, we started to hang out a lot. and I always wear red lipstick- I was the only girl indeed who wore it all the time. It is quite RED RED HAhaha ;) Then she started wearing it… then her clothes changed. her attitude was so much like mine… she basically transformed in 5 months. i stayed the same, and she changed to become like me.
it isnt just this girl. from the age of 14, all the people i start hanging out with change to be just like me in a short time. even the way they talk… It was probably 6 different girls that were considered my best friends in all these years.

So Its not about a group or anything :) I dont hang out with groups. I am just with me and this one other girl. and that girl copies me all the time.

zenvelo's avatar

I know you are still pretty young (compared to me). I think it often has to do with people being unsure of themselves or trusting their own judgment. They see something that works for you, whether making you look great, or attracting guys, or making you look cool, and so they hope that copying you will have it work for them.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@zenvelo Isn’t it pretty sad? Don’t they realize I’m actually seeing them copying me!?

athenasgriffin's avatar

She likes you and wants to be similar to you. It’s exactly the same thing as when a big sister has a little sister that follows her around and tries to copy-cat her.

If you don’t want someone who will copy you, then perhaps you should try finding friends that have a better sense of self. If you get a friend who already knows and likes who she is, then she is less likely to want to be you.

(Have you ever thought that perhaps it is less than kind to call your friend “sad”? Isn’t that kind of akin to calling her pathetic?)

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@athenasgriffin well you dont really know that when you first meet someone.. they dont usually tell you, i dont like myself i dont wanna be like you :) I WISH IT WAS LIKE THAT!!! :D
by saying “sad” i was replying to zenvelo’s answer. isnt it pretty sad that they can’t have their own styles and just copy me, their best friend? I’m not their sister either… we are the same age. I mean as for me, I couldn’t do that. I am whatever my heart wants me to be. I dress whatever I feel like looks good and makes me comfortable. never in my life looked at someone and envied my best friends… i reject that.
So thats why I said isnt it pretty sad? im not literally calling my friend “sad” but her action possibly.

zenvelo's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere Yes, it can be sad. As a friend, consider helping your friends find their own look. Some colors, material cuts, shoes, may work better on them than on you. You won;t feel copied, they’ll appreciate defining themselves.

filmfann's avatar

If it helps, I have no compulsion to start wearing redder red lipstick.

They must admire you, and they must think you are quite attractive. They want to be like you.
Take the compliment.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@filmfann hahah… I think they were pretty shocked I was talking to them in the first place. so they didn’t want to look like a tool when I got all the attention from everyone else around us. (sounded mean and harsh, but if you think clearly thats the case as well as the other answers)

SavoirFaire's avatar

The likelihood that you are as original as you think you are is extremely low. People imitate others all the time. You almost certainly inherited many of your habits from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. But I don’t see why you care that other people saw something you do, liked it, and started doing it too. That’s how cultural evolution works. People see ideas and appropriate them. Also, you want to be careful: don’t get obsessed with being unique rather than with being yourself. It’s just as inauthentic to do something because no one else is doing it as it is to do something because everyone else is doing it.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire I never imitated my best friends. thats a completely different thing. you saying people imitate others is completely NORMAL and it obviously has to be like that in this world. I used to watch The OC when I was young and try to dress like Marissa… If your best friend copied you and changed intensely, you wouldn’t be like; oh, this is so normal!

JLeslie's avatar

All sorts of reasons.

1. People typically start to become their environment. They begin to dress similarly, speak similarly, gesture similarly. It is human nature to begin mimicking to be part of a group and feel accepted.

2. You may give off a lot of charisma and confidence, and your friends admire you and want to copy you. They like your choices in style, and so they adopt the same choices.

3. Some people are born followers, don’t have a strong sense of self, and so they follow whoever they are with.

When someone likes something I wear, I tell them where they can buy it. Be generous, don’t get upset someone wants to wear the same lipstick. My neighbor loved the new wedding band my husband bought me a few years ago. Every time she complimented me, I told her she should get on too. I don’t care at all if people want things similar to what I have, I think it is compliment.

Think about why your don’t want them to copy you? Do you get a lot of attention for your fabulous makeup and clothing? You want the attention or credit? It would be nice if when your girlfriend gets a compliment she does give you credit by saying. @QueenOfNowhere told me where to buy it. If she isn’t she needs to maybe be more generous also.

CaptainHarley's avatar

People who admire those who create their own style will attempt to copy it, either because they have little creativity of their own, or because they realize they can never reach the levels of creativity the other person exhibits.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere I sincerely doubt you’ve never imitated your friends. You probably don’t even realize you’ve done it. My wife sometimes comes home with a new habit that she picked up from a workmate. When I eventually point it out to her, she usually doesn’t even realize she’s been doing it or that it’s new.

As for my own friends copying me, they’ve done it a lot. I was rather popular among my group of friends in high school. My brother was even more popular with his friends. In fact, he was a regular trendsetter for the whole school. Never bothered him in the least.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire its still not the same…

Brian1946's avatar

I don’t, man. All I know is that copying other people is way creepy, man. That’s why I never copy nobody, man.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere I’m noticing a pattern in your responses. You like the ones that flatter you, and won’t accept the one’s that ask you to be even a little self-reflective. This question seems to be more about your ego than anyone else’s problems.

Brian1946's avatar

Edited for reasons of discretion.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire I don’t agree with any of the answers that you gave for any questions. It’s about us thinking differently. It is a complete different thing when someone copies someone completely. people copy each other without really paying much attention. but if you start to copy someone intensely, it is different than “general” issues that you said.

You’re wrong again… its not about the ego. I asked this question obviously to understand why someone would stop being themselves and start copying someone else this bad. I never said I am amazing or anything, I just have my own style that’s it- like most people.

So you’re looking at this more generally… the question is on a different situation… :)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere You opened your details section by talking about the whole of your life. You’ve dismissed the answers that say “maybe she just thinks you’re really cool and wants to be like you,” and you’ve just expanded your “I’m totally original” facade into another question. So I’m sorry, but I’m finding it hard to believe you right now.

And if you don’t see how my general answers could relate to the specific situation, I don’t know what to do for you. I never said the specific case was normal. What I said was that imitating is normal. You just have a friend who is going a little extreme at the moment. She probably didn’t like who she was before meeting you and is changing in the most obvious way she can think of. One of my brother’s friends copied almost everything he did. I doubt he thought it was normal, but it never annoyed him. Sometimes, he just did really wacky things to see if the guy would copy him. It usually worked (with hilarious results).

And if you really disagree with everything I’ve ever written here, I worry about you. A lot of it can easily be confirmed with Google or a calculator. It’s not all opinion-based stuff I’ve contributed.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire What? ... I never said Im totally original. Being totally original doesn’t completely mean “being myself”. I just don’t act differently in front of different people. that’s what the other question was asking-
That just has nothing to do with this question either? .. well anyways… :)

I explained why I’m asking this question and it should be an example for the people who are going to answer the question. If I wanted to boost my ego, I would describe myself and how people copy my qualities. I just ran over the whole thing. It is true that some of my best friends copied me, and no, they are not little imitations. Copied me entirely. I just never understood how they could keep doing that and not realizing that I can obviously notice it. Don’t you think that it’s a little odd? That just messed up my mind!

Maybe you should think it a little bit and understand that this question has nothing to do with my ego. It’s wrong to say that and it’s a bit offending. I just hope you realize that… :)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere I’ll take your word for it. But if you’re telling the truth, I recommend working on how you present yourself. I did not reach my conclusions lightly, and I think it would be quite easy to read (or perhaps misread) this whole thing as an ego trip.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire Sure. I’ll be more careful. English is my 3rd language… I can’t say I’m having an easy time writing this ;D It’s always an issue.

Why do you have my photo in your avatar?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere What? I was just going to ask why you have my photo in your avatar! ~

Or maybe I just think you’re really cool.

Brian1946's avatar

In my attempt to imitate coolness, have I become the KingOfNowhere? ;-o

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire Oh gosh… we sound like an old married, unhappy couple.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@Brian1946 You have to divorce your wife first!

SavoirFaire's avatar

Okay, changing back now.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@SavoirFaire I never asked you to.

You seem like a really smart religious philosophy teacher.

Brian1946's avatar


“You have to divorce your wife first!”

Done! I’ve left her for Yosemite Falls. ;-)

tinyfaery's avatar

Obviously, you are so cool and hip everyone wants to be just like you. You are superior in everyway and everyone else is just a follower, and therefore, less than you.~

There. That’s what you wanted. Now everyone just move along.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@tinyfaery Thanks, but what I wanted was an answer to a clear question. Not unnecessary mockery.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

Honestly, I’m not saying this is your situation, because I don’t know you. But this reminds me of one particular girl I knew who always THOUGHT people copying her without realizing that like her they were following a trend – maybe she did pick up on the trend a little sooner – but she was very self-absorbed and couldn’t see that it wasn’t her they were following.Also, if a guy turned her down she’d say “he’s totally intimidated by me” and if someone had a great idea, she would manage to take credit. I’m sure she had some kind of “condition” but then again, lots of my friends did back in the day.

wundayatta's avatar

You’re a beautiful girl and people tend to gravitate towards beautiful people. The beautiful tend to be more popular, and so people will often imitate them in order to try to cash in on their closeness with the beautiful person. I suspect you probably also have some kind of charisma, because people who go their own way tend to have charisma. Unless they go their own way because they don’t have a chance in hell of going any other way. But this isn’t about me.

The problem a lot of pretty girls face is that they don’t know whether it’s them or their beauty that affects and influences others. If the other girls are following your style mainly because you are beautiful, then it isn’t really you they are following. It’s your beauty, which isn’t really any fault of your own except you happened to choose the right parents.

If they like your style because it is your style they like, and they would like it whether you are beautiful or not, then you know it’s real admiration. But you can’t tell. You can never tell. So you’ll always be wondering if it’s live or if it’s Memorex (google it).

The question is whether you really care about this or not. I hope you don’t, because they you are giving it more weight than it deserves. Who cares what others think about your style? (Ok I do, but like I said, this isn’t about me).

You can still be friends with them even if they do copy you. That doesn’t mean they are stupid, insipid nothings. Of course, if they are stupid, insipid nothings, why did you choose them for friends in the first place? You may want to review your friend hiring selection process.

Well, I’ve rambled on long enough, and nanny is calling me to bed. Must toddle off now. She said she’d make me a hot toddy if I didn’t give her any guff. Or was it muff?

The_Inquisitor's avatar

I’ve experience this as well.. Anyways, I think it’s probably because friends influence each other. It could be subconscious.

Hibernate's avatar

Lack of imagination.

Aqua's avatar

The phenomenon you’re observing is called mirroring. It’s a way to cultivate rapport and induce familiarity by subtly mimicking gestures, movements, body language, attitude, choice of words, etc, in order to make the other person think, “Hey! You’re just like me!” Mirroring is something most of us do without thinking at one point or another, but you can also do it consciously in order to try to build rapport with people you meet.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@sarahtalkpretty yeah.. that’s definetely not my me.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@wundayatta thanks for the answer. It didn’t bug me until this friend started hitting on the guys that I liked… Then the guy said; “you guys are very similar, its crazy!” That was pretty annoying…
Whatever…. it might be my fault. I should start hanging out with people who already are “someone” and don’t have a need to imitate others…

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire I don’t know, @QueenOfNowhere specifically took the time to say my answer was great, and within my answer I said she needs to think about why she doesn’t want people to copy her, maybe she wants the attention and credit for her style, and that she should thnk about being more generous. I also mention some reasons people might copy her, and gave her some compliments. Doesn’t seem like she is ony looking for answers that boost her ego. A significant part of my answer questions her motive and ego for being annoyed.

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

@JLeslie True. Savoir Faire just blamed me for being self centered, etc. How am I going to respond to that? He didn’t give me an answer to the question I was asking. But, you did. It was an answer and it made me understand the situation more. “This question seems to be more about your ego than anyone else’s problems.” Wow, that’s not a response.. I was honest with this asking here that my best friends did copy me each time. It is normal to not understand why they did that. especially when trying to get with my boyfriends. How else am I going to ask this question? By lying? Not asking? Why not? it did bother me and I wanted to know how-why. I’m not really going to waste time anymore trying to explain something to a someone like a wall…

JLeslie's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere Wait, your girlfriends want to get with your boyfriend? That is not good. If you tend to be the in the popular crowd where all the same girls kind of bounce around and date all the same guys, a common example is cheerleaders and football players, but I hate to generalize about them, that stuff is bullshit. It starts to become mean girlish when you add it all up. Pursuing someone else’s boyfriend, trying to look like you, it is competitive, not nice. If you are doing it too, think twice.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie {sigh} I left this behind yesterday, but your post is very open in its compliments and very subtle in its questioning.
@QueenOfNowhere My first two answers were far more direct. Everything you say doesn’t answer the question comes from answers posted after I stopped trying to answer the question and started asking for a reason that you dismissed some responses and liked others.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
King_Pariah's avatar

Imitation is flattery at its finest, unless they happen to be some creepy stalker who want to be you.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
passerby77's avatar

I can relate to this and somedays it bugs me more than others. While I try to understand the “imitiation is flattery at it’s finest” I think the author (and I) are talking about something altogether different.

In my case, I have a friend who copies what I do and then takes full credit for herself and has even lied to others about it. I witnessed this first hand twice in the last year or so. I helped them by giving them decorating details about their home only to have them incorporate all the ideas and brag to people about how “THEY” thought it up. They didn’t know I was standing behind them when telling these lies and needless to say I was livid. I didn’t confront them at the party. Perhaps I need to, but later, she was called out by her husband about copying others then taking credit like the inspiration and creativity was all hers.

She has her own sense of style which is unique to her personality and I compliment her all the time about it. However, whenever I collect something, give her advice (at her asking), or inspire in another way – I usually witness the haughty “it was all me” boasting. This is VERY annoying and really hard to deal with where “friends” are concerned. Some days it’s easier to deal with than others.

When you sincerely want to inspire someone and give them some ideas and do it out of a spirit of love and generosity only to have it turned around on you as competitiveness and one-upness…you want to keep your mouth closed.

I’ve also experienced through the years, when I share “where to buy this or that” or “where I found this or that” she doesn’t reciprocate. She keeps things to herself without sharing it with me for the most part (ie, going to craft shows without asking me – the very ones I told her about!) and things like that.

Why are we friends you might ask…because our husbands are great friends.

loyallad's avatar

I hate copy cats I always set my own trends and style I see myself as myself not a follower nor a leader, But I can click on when people are copying me, It’s like I wear a shirt one week the next week one of my friends will be wearing that shirt or style, My girlfriend has a baby the next month my friends girlfriend is having a baby, I come up with one liners and funny jokes the next week they are using my jokes and one liners,It’s irritating I know but like everyone says immitation is a form of flattery, I’ve learned to accept that people will copy you always or try to steal your ideas and change them around, Best is just be yourself and let the copy cats copy because they will never be you!!

SavoirFaire's avatar

“My girlfriend has a baby the next month my friends girlfriend is having a baby.”


Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Swaggyb19's avatar

My bestfriend of 12 years has gone past the limit. She is now getting a tattoo on the same place as I did. And I said I wanted a sleeve on FB and the next day shes all like I need a tattoo who want’s to do one for me? It’s like she’s trying to compete with me or trying to be me? But the thing is I don’t know if I should stop being her friend or to tell her to cut it out. Of course she’s gonna be in-denial. And she used to buy the same clothes as me like the same outfits and everything and used to wear and die her hair the same as me. She stopped that and now she’s switching to tattoo’s. I’m starting to think she has a sickness or something. I mean your basically marking your self for life because you had an obsession
. I feel like shes obsessed with me or something.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)

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