The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female nursing care worker in my 50s. I’ve been working with a friend at the same workplace for the last several years. I didn’t realize this until recently, but she’s buying the same things as me, obviously copying what I have and wear. I’m unhappy about this.
Sometimes, to my surprise, she first buys the same products as me in different colors and later gets them in the same colors, too. I know this because she has the nerve to wear or use them at the office.
If I find something I like and then buy and wear it, I find her wearing the same thing just a few days later. As a result, I even have her possible reactions in mind whenever I buy something. She even proudly shows off these things to others like she was the one who discovered them, saying, “Look, isn’t this nice?”
I wish I could just directly complain to her about this, but I can’t because I think it will eventually make me feel uncomfortable working with her in our workplace, which has very few workers. I’m so irritated, I can’t fall asleep sometimes, or I wake up during the night. If this situation continues, I think I’m going to lose it.
I asked another friend for advice, but I didn’t get anything useful. Should I clearly tell her I don’t like what she’s doing?
D, Hiroshima Prefecture
Dear Ms. D:
Have you two been friends for a long time? You say you didn’t realize before that she was doing this. I think that’s because you didn’t actually care about this before.
You’ve suddenly noticed, however, and it’s starting to bother you. This means she’s started to make her presence felt to you, even to an unbearable degree for you. To put it bluntly, she’s become your rival now.
She must be an admirer of yours, which is why she wants to copy what you wear and have. It’s very similar to the mentality enthusiastic fans have toward stars.
I think you considered your friend a fan of yours, but one day you realized your status had reversed with hers, and now it’s your friend who attracts people’s attention. I think you feel bitter about this.
I suggest you just leave this whole thing alone. You should just laugh at what she’s doing. Any mature adult would.
At your small workplace, all your colleagues know you are the “true trendsetter.” There’s no need for you to declare it.
You should understand it’s an honor to be copied by someone and embrace her while smiling.
Tatsuro Dekune, writer