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Old 09-10-2008
youareimportant's Avatar
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Personality stealing is what I call when you start acting like someone else you are around. You begin to talk like them, and maybe even act like them. And at times, it is painfully obvious.

I am a white person, and I have a normal Caucasian accent. But sometimes, if I am around a certain Mexican person, I will begin to talk in his/her tone of voice, and even use their accent! It was so bad, that at one point the person asked if I was part Mexican.

This isn't a very desirable trait. I would say it is the ultimate sign of insecurity. I believe this happens because I see that this person is doing well socially and I know that this person is effective at socializing so I want to transform myself into them a little bit.

Does anyone else have this problem, or care to expand upon the subject?
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Old 09-10-2008

I know exactly what you're talking about. I do the same thing without realizing it until later when I'm alone. It is mostly because I am so used to being by myself, that when I am around people, I just don't know how to act so I follow others' examples subconsciously I suppose. Sometimes I think I don't even really know who I am anymore.
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Old 09-10-2008
Seras's Avatar
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I do the same thing

Usually when I'm talking to a few people on the phone, my voice changes by itself... but I remeber like right away and change it back to what I think is my normal voice...
Also, when I talk to my friend on yahoo I copy her typing style.....
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Old 09-11-2008
theblank's Avatar
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Originally Posted by youareimportant
Does anyone else have this problem, or care to expand upon the subject?
Leonard Zelig had this problem worse then probably anyone in history. Not only would he sound like the person, but he would actually physically look like the person as well. He got therapy and was eventually cured and learned how to be himself. I think the thing with this type of disorder is that we don't know how to be our true selves so we act like the people around us in an attempt to fit in.

More information about Leonard Zelig can be found here:
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Old 09-11-2008
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Old 09-11-2008
psipop's Avatar
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yes! i do this whenever i meet new people. i imitate tone of voice, sentence structure, cursing(or lack thereof), expressions, enthusiasm - basically everything. i call it being a "personality chameleon" though. haha.
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Old 09-11-2008
Digitaldreams's Avatar
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Many people do this,to some extent. It's not just people with SA. For example,I've noticed that tons of people I talk to on the phone or at the drive-thru will repeat my "Have a nice evening." or say other words following mine in the exact tone,etc that I use. Quite fascinating,really.
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Old 09-12-2008
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Yeah I think i do this too... not to such great extent that i change my accent, but i do act differently around different people. it's like i only show certain parts of my personality, and which part i reveal depends upon whether the person i'm talking to is family, friend, acquaintance, whatever.

but i think it is pretty common for other people to temporarily influence your personality. like you know how they say "laughter is contagious," and also just if you have one depressed person in your group it just brings everyone's mood down.
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Old 09-12-2008
striker's Avatar
Newbie User

This seems like mirroring. People mirror each other when they get into rapport.

watch how 2 people mirror their body language when they are in a deep conversation.

Now the interesting thing is in a given interaction only one persons reality dominates. Its usually the stronger frame between the 2 that dominates.

Try to notice this next time, when you are in a conversation, where you are dominating the interaction, if you are copying the other or the other person is copying you?

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Old 09-12-2008
noblame4's Avatar
Intermediate User

This is interesting, my mother does this to an extream!

She can be talking to some ubermench intellectual hipster and she chimes in with her own philisophical take on things and her body language looks like she's been a painter for 30 years. Then she'll be talking to some backwards racist redneck bitching about 'wet-backs' and 'omg black president!!! whats the world coming to?!' and she degrades to jerry springer white trash-dom in the blink of an eye. Even her appalaician accent gets so thick you cant understand what the hell she's saying. What the hell?! It's annoying to me because I feel like, 'what the hell mom?! be yourself!!' but people have always taken a liking to my mom (she even got her picture taken with a congresswoman at a union meeting one time for a campaighne add) I guess there is a lot of merit to this mirroring thing!
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Old 09-12-2008
RedRibbons's Avatar
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I think it's normal. And it's how people relate to each other, and help to better convey their messages to the people they are talking to.

Also I think when people get along or when someone has an admirable trait.. The person who perceives these traits is likely to adopt a somewhat similar view/behaviour.
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