Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ... apart from when it gets irritating, annoying and a tad creepy that is.
We’ve all had a good laugh at the uncanny similarities between Donald Trump’s wife Melania’s opening night speech at the Republican National Convention and Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention eight years earlier.
I laughed even louder when Trump’s campaign team denied any cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech – even though portions of Melania’s speech were almost word-for-word identical.
But maybe Melania was merely attempting to flatter Michelle Obama. Although I can’t help thinking telling her she admired her dress or liked her hair might have led to less hassle.
It can be pretty flattering when someone admires your outfit, hairstyle or lipstick colour and asks where you got it so they can get the same. But the novelty can quickly wear off.
The truth is, whether it’s a friend, acquaintance or family member, when someone turns into a constant copycat, it can feel like they’re infringing on your copyright and muscling in on your creativity.
No one likes it when others take credit for their work, whether it’s when you’re a child and another pupil copies your work or when you’re an adult and a colleague rips off your ideas.
It’s not about being big-headed and thinking your work is so brilliant others are clamouring to copy it, it’s the fact that you put in the time, hard work and effort only for someone to skim it off.
Style and fashion is something people emulate from famous people all the time. Look at Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” haircut from Friends.
Celebrities get copied all the time, but they don’t get direct exposure to those who have copied them so it doesn’t irritate them the same.
But when the imitation is a lot closer to home, it can get aggravating for people and feel like someone is trying to steal their identity or rob them of their uniqueness.
Admittedly, it is women who are more bothered about chronic copycats.
I remember experiencing that feeling of frustration myself when I was younger and had a friend who constantly copied everything I did.
Every outfit or pair of shoes of mine she admired, she’d immediately buy the same and if I changed my hairstyle, she’d do the same.
I would even hear her repeating my own ideas and opinions and claiming them to be her own.
Although there was probably a compliment in there somewhere, it does take the gloss and joy out of a new fashion item when someone else is wearing exactly the same thing. And believe me, my fashion style was definitely not worth copying!
Even more weirdly, this girl’s family were just the same and felt the need to carbon copy everything my family did or bought.
A few months after my mum and dad had a new kitchen fitted and bought a new three piece suite, we were aghast to visit this family and see they’d bought the exact same sofa and had their kitchen fitted with the same units. Creepy or what?
We all want to feel like we have our own identity and unique style and taste, so to be relentlessly mimicked can be unsettling.
It’s best to nip it in the bud before the copier becomes your mini-me or it turns into a Single White Female situation!
Although I must confess copycatting behaviour did bother me when I was younger, nowadays I don’t think it would concern me.
With maturity, I’ve realised as long as I work hard and am satisfied and happy with what I do, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.
I’m no genius, trendsetter, rocket scientist or all round brilliant person, but if someone did feel the need to copy what I do, good luck to them.
If someone does imitate you, it’s a recognition of your creativity so maybe they feel they are lacking this themselves.
Let’s face it, if someone was secure and confident enough about their own ideas and personality, they wouldn’t need to copy anyone else.
If someone wants to be a “sheep”, let them. They’ll never actually be “you” as you are unique.