This article is about defensively publicizing, and using to your social advantage, an individual’s tendency to imitate those they are fans of.
Witnessing a friend or sibling become influenced by a movie to a point of dramatically changing how they talk and dress is something which may seem familiar. Especially in our youthful years, the influences of people we admire seem to reflect onto us with vivid resolution.
We start wearing what those we yearn ourselves being wear. We begin to adopt the mannerisms of our favorite celebrities, and we embrace the lingo of our favorite musical artists.
To those watching from afar, the realization that an individual is going out of their way to imitate someone they admire is rather cringe-worthy.
Our perception of such individuals changes once we figure out they’re in fact going out of their way to imitate someone they wish they were. If we not privy to that knowledge, we likely wouldn’t find anything wrong with that individual’s style, mannerisms, and ways of speaking. The unveiling of someone’s imitative ways is all it takes to change our perception of them.
That specific cringe-worthy realization of someone’s attempts to imitate their heroes is something you can use against them in a battle of public perception.
Why the Label of “Imitator” Is So Damaging
Imitation is a blindly submissive act. It requires the imitator to first label someone to be worthy of imitating, thereby placing that person on a perhaps undeserved pedestal. The imitators judge those they imitate to be worthy of copying, and following with limited evidence.
They watch a series of music videos, interviews, and flip through a number of photos prior to deciding they’ve seen enough of someone worthy of imitating. View counts and the number of likes their heroes garner are effective contributions to someone’s desire to imitate.
Imitators become so entrenched in the positive feelings they feel for someone they adore that they begin blindly agreeing with those special people’s choices, and imitating their actions.
The acts that have imitation at the root of their motivations are those which have been directly influenced by someone else. Acts which stem from imitation are thereby unoriginal, and the stench of unoriginality stinks strongest when imitation is exposed.
The individual who imitates based on limited samples of “cool behavior” by those they worship is willing to place the act of stringent decision making to the side. Unlike someone who ponders, tests, and fails with their ideas on developing a personal sense of style for instance, imitators simply see and follow.
Imitators forfeit the ever-so-difficult task of originally wading through this life. Imitators are never worthy of following, as there is obvious evidence to their lack of original ideas and expressions. The identity of an imitator simply doesn’t jive with one of being a leader. It is difficult to submit oneself to follow a follower.
Even the Slightest Expose Has the Capacity to Leave a Bad Aftertaste
“You only got that back tattoo because you saw David Beckham get it.”
In interpreting the statement above, those who hear it will be interested to see the type of tattoo that David Beckham has and compare it to the imitator’s. Even if they decide there to be the slightest amount of truth behind the similarities of the respective tattoos, their perception of the imitator will change.
We often can’t seem to shake off the taste that the slightest imitations leave behind. It subtracts from the authenticity we thought we interacted with. It entices us to feel as though the ones who are called out for being imitators lose a sense of originality to their existence.
Our desire to seek novelty and meaning takes a hit when those we call close are exposed as imitators. Though it is difficult to admit, our perception of the imitator is often cheapened for at least some time.
The thing that makes the expose of an imitator effective is the concentrated force that even the slightest callouts possess. You can damage someone’s image by simply calling out their tendency to say, “Dude,” like their favorite actors. You can call out their changing state of dialogue to be influenced by their favorite rappers, and can poke fun at their tendency to blindly follow fashion trends just because certain celebrities jumped on the train.
The slightest pokes at those who imitate have the capacity to drop them down a few rungs on the ladder of social perception. What is required in this process however, is an identifiable truth to your claim of them being imitators. Ensure that others can easily recognize similarities in the things you point out about those who imitate.
The Exposed Imitators’ Reactions Will Place Them in a Lose-Lose Situation
The exposed imitator will often have two predictable reactions to your act of calling them out:
- They can double down on their course of imitative actions and ignore your call out.
- They can change their ways based on your callout.
If they decide to double down on their imitative behavior notwithstanding the hints of truth behind your callouts, they’ll seem hard headed to those who follow from the side. It will be easy to link their hardheadedness to a sense of embarrassment and damaged pride. They’ll seem to not be aligned with the truth behind your call out, and will further cheapen their reputation for lacking authenticity in the eyes of those who watch.
However, if they decide to take what you say seriously and change their ways, they’d have to adopt a submissive role in relation to you. They’d have to admit, whether through words or actions, that you disintegrated their attempts to imitate. They’d label you to be right, and themselves fickle in the face of criticism.
Pride will be the self damaging poison which these imitators can’t seem to stop drinking.
A response which would be beneficial to their social value is one which involves the stripping of their pride – which not many can legitimately manage to do.
An effective response to your callouts on their part will need to balance the admittance of there being truth to your claims with an attempt to continue on with their behaviors unphased by your truthful attempts. It would have to involve a form of self deprecating humor on their part mixed with unrivaled confidence in their course of action.
The bet you make by employing the tactic of calling out imitators is that they wouldn’t have the presence of mind to mix and balance those two reactions with perfect execution.