Kirsty asks :
I have a mum friend who keeps copying my life. It's becoming more and more annoying and I am not sure how to deal with this without ruining our friendship although it is already affecting how I feel about her! I changed career a few years ago and went back to college, she did the same including attending the same school and changing to the same career as mine. She now is due to start at the same placement that I am at. I talked about moving out of town, she then started talking about moving to the same place! We are now thinking of changing schools for my son and of course, she is now too... Our sons are the same age and they would be in the same class - I would never get away from her! Plus she is also very competitive and likes to tell me how well her son does at school. Her son is at an outstanding school already, I don't understand her reason for moving him. What do I do? I'm getting really anxious about having to deal with this.
There are several things you can do to deal with someone who copies you. Firstly I would ask why it makes you so angry- do you like to be individual? Is it that she is encroaching on your fondness of being different to everyone else?
Although it's hard- try to remember that it is a free world- your decisions have probably been made before so try not to take ownership of an idea when you may be following influences from elsewhere too.
Think of it as flattery- she clearly admires your way of life so perhaps see it as a compliment rather than an insult.
Remember that someone who copies you fails to think on their own, so it says more about her than it does about you. You can be decisive, it appears that she can't.
If you have kept quiet for long enough- perhaps you could confront her. You can either be direct and ask her why she feels the need to copy what you do or you can do it more subtly. You could make suggestions to her that are different from what you have/buy/want.
Try to establish if she is copying you because of admiration or jealousy. Admiration can be harmless, however jealousy can come with a lot of negativity and you may want to think about whether you want her as a friend anymore.
If you have a new idea either be vocal about it so everyone around you knows it was your plan first or simply don't tell her. This will give the people around you the opportunity to see what she's up to or prevent her from having in the opportunity to mimic you at all.
If you spend a lot of time together at your home and you are open and honest about your life, perhaps dial it back a bit. The less she knows the fewer things she has to copy.
Make changes- if she has followed suit- perhaps you could change your mind. It will throw her off if she makes decisions and changes only to find that you didn't go down that road after all.
If you need help or advice, you can ask Yin & Yang. It's quick, easy, free and you don't have to leave your real name.