Friendship takes creepy turn when pal turns copycat



Dear Abby: “Dana” has been my best friend since 1995. We did so many things together, until she had gastric bypass surgery three years ago. Mind you, Dana was never fat. She may have been overweight, but she was never morbidly obese. She never participated in any of the fun sports I did, such as mud/obstacle course runs or fun 5Ks. Her lack of participation wasn’t due to her weight; she just said it “wasn’t for her.”

After Dana lost some weight from her surgery, her mindset changed. She started making repeated snide remarks to me about my weight. I have some joint issues that are genetic. She said, “Maybe your weight doesn’t help.” Eventually, we stopped doing much together.

Lately she has been posting, “Does anyone want to participate?” in mud runs and 5Ks that I do, but she won’t ask me. Many people have pointed out that Dana has been copying my life for some time now. We decided to test that theory by purposely posting certain things on Facebook.

If we posted pictures of butterflies, SHE would post pictures of butterflies. If my husband posted an event, SHE would post the same event. I got a full sleeve tattoo on my left arm, and so did she, by the same tattoo artist. She likes things my husband posts and even asked me “if he has a brother.”

The whole dynamic is odd. Some say imitation is flattery, but I’m not flattered. More and more people say she’s trying to be me. I don’t want to be friends with Dana anymore. Am I overreacting?

— Don’t Want a Twin

Dear Don’t Want: No, you aren’t. Imitation is flattery, but when it’s done to the extent that it makes the role model uncomfortable, it is going overboard. What Dana has been doing is more than a little bit creepy. You stated that the two of you are no longer as friendly as you were before her surgery. To the extent possible, I’m suggesting you remove her from your social media platforms, AND SO SHOULD YOUR HUSBAND.

Dear Abby: I recently received a message from my 38-year-old daughter telling me she no longer wants me in her life. Due to circumstances over which I had no control, she didn’t find out I was her birth father until she was 13. As far as I know, we’ve had a good father-daughter relationship. But recently, the man who raised her until she turned 13 died, and she has distanced herself from me with no explanation. I need to know how to handle this. Please help me.

— Shut-out Father

Dear Shut-out Father: Your daughter has just lost the father who raised her during her formative years. She is grieving. This may be her way of trying to cushion herself from the pain of losing her other father in the event of your own death. Not knowing her, I can’t offer more insight. However, a way to handle this would be to communicate to her that you love her and always will, and if she changes her mind, you will always be there for her. Then, please, go on with your life.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at


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