Dear Amy: Imagine working in an office and having someone copying everything you wear!
“Kate” is my colleague. She is a very nice person and sits next to me.
We are medical professionals seeing the same patients, but she comes from a rural area and when she started here, she had zero sense of style. That’s OK. She wanted to fit in here at the office and has started to completely copy me. It’s so irritating that she just goes and buys everything I wear (sweaters, shoes, bags).
She even has the same haircut from my hairdresser!
How should I deal with someone who imitates me to this extent?
I’ve stopped sharing details regarding where I shop, but she already knows.
She has everything that I wear/own (basics, like cardigans). On some days we are literally twinning, which feels sick.
I love taking the effort to put a good look together, but here I have a copycat right next door!
I know it sounds trivial, but I have to work and deal with this person every day.
Initially this imitation was flattering toward me.
I would really like your thoughts on how to handle this hindrance!
Dear Copied: We all take our inspiration from sources that appeal to us and yes, unless your co-worker is Single White Female-ing you (look it up), her imitation is a form of flattery. Surely, you have put together your own look based on others who have influenced you.
Copying your style might also be a mark of your co-worker’s insecurity, and a subconscious way of elevating her own standing.
I suggest a subtle correction, along with a campaign of kindness, to encourage her to continue to evolve.
You can say, “Yikes, we’re twins today. I hope our patients don’t get confused!” This will let her know that you’ve noticed.
Also, make a point of praising anything she does or wears that is different from you. She is looking for some validation from you, and if she receives it, kindly, she should become more confident and develop her own style.
If your kindness doesn’t work, then you could be more direct: “This is awkward, but I have to be honest with you. I know I’m supposed to feel flattered, but sometimes it bothers me when you wear the same clothes as I do.”
Dear Amy: My younger daughter, 27, has a lovely boyfriend. They went to university together, started dating over three years ago, and moved in together a few months before our first London lockdown.
They have weathered the pandemic very well, I’m sure with a few tiffs, one I know of involved the haircut she gave him (haha).
My question: How do I field — or squash — the very annoying question numerous friends ask me: “So, do you think this is it?” “Is he the one?” “Do you think they’ll get married?”
My immediate reaction would be, “Ask them!” but I don’t want this great young couple getting unnecessary questions.
It’s not as if I bang on about how marvelous they are together. As with my other child and grandchild, I give updates as part of the normal topic that is asked about each other’s family in a chat.
My friends are likely posing what they perceive as normal questions, but it does rub a raw wound. My spouse and I waited four years for a longed-for baby — all the time hearing, “When do you plan on having a family”-type comments.
You are very good at this Amy; please give me a couple of clear and polite responses to these friends.
— Unsure in the UK
Dear Unsure: I’m going to lend you a phrase from my friends in the American South that is guaranteed to politely shut down just about any query.
It goes like this: “Oh, aren’t you sweet?”
That’s it! Then you change the subject.
Otherwise, you could safely assume that these folks are really wondering what you think of your daughter’s guy. And so you can say, “Well, we really like him. They’re a lovely couple. Whatever they choose to do is fine with us.”
Dear Amy: “Seething Sister” had a brother who continued to “correct” and bully her through social media because of her sexuality.
I am very disappointed that you didn’t tell her to completely cut out this relationship.
Dear Disappointed: “Seething Sister” claimed that she was considering complete estrangement from her brother. I suggested that disengaging from him on social media might be enough.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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