DEAR NATALIE: I have this friend who copies everything I do. I know I should feel flattered, but I don't. I'm super annoyed. And it's probably because she lies and contradicts herself and doesn't listen to me when I talk. I reluctantly pray for her every night, but I can't seem to make peace. How do I love her, keep my identity and get her off my back? She adores me, and that makes me feel worse. Almost everything about her makes me feel bad, but I can't just cut her out because she has wedged herself in my life. I feel as if she's cramping my style. What should I do? -- No Copies, Please
DEAR NO COPIES, PLEASE: This is borderline creepy. It sounds as though she hasn't really "discovered" who she is yet and that she is a very insecure person. Instead of cultivating her own interests, taking her own risks and doing things that make sense in her life, she has decided to wear your story to see how it fits. In this situation, considering how uncomfortable you have become, it may be a good time to take a step back. Don't answer her calls or texts quite as often. Perhaps change the settings on your social media accounts (or go off them for a bit) to hide information from her. If she wants to know why, explain to her that you want to talk with her, but you have a hard time feeling as though you are being heard. If she continues to prod, ask her how she would feel if someone did the following to her - and then list all of the ways she is copying your lifestyle. Something may finally click in her head that she needs to take it down a notch.
While it is admirable that you pray for her and want her in your life, sometimes you have to give the universe a hand in making positive changes for yourself. And in this case, if she is bringing you down, bringing you anxiety and not adding to your life in a positive way, it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship.
Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)