Monday, 4 June 2018

Personality Doppelgängers!

Around 15 years ago, I befriended a girl.  We were both into the same band, we had a similar outlook on life and we were close in age.  We hit it off straight away and, over the next 13-14 years, we were exceptionally good friends.  She was quiet and thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate - she had a sort of gentle way, about her.  And yet, she could also be feisty; passionately defending what she believed in and enjoying an intellectual debate.  For the entire duration of our friendship, I adored her.  Despite the fact that she's no longer in my life, I still think of her with enormous fondness.

Around six months ago, I met another young woman.  She was quiet and thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate - she had a sort of gentle way, about her...  For a long time, I simply couldn't put two and two together.  All I knew was that I really liked this person.  We didn't instantly become super close, as I had with my old friend (although we do get on well), but there was something about her that I couldn't put my finger on.  The way she carried herself.  The way she spoke.  It niggled away at me.  I had a huge soft spot for her, despite us not really knowing one another that well.  But why?!

And then, all of a sudden, it hit me.  This new person didn't look like my old friend (although they dress similarly).  But personality-wise?  She was her doppelgänger.

Despite the fact that I didn't know this person anywhere near as well as I'd known my old friend, my brain had obviously recognised enough about her to remind me of someone I'd loved a lot, and that was why I felt so drawn to her.  Obviously, this person is lovely in her own right, too, and it would be wrong to reduce her qualities down to merely "she reminds me of someone else."  So, once I'd made the realisation, I didn't dwell on it too much, in terms of the people involved.  But the concept was one I couldn't stop thinking about.

When someone has been special to us, do we remember the reasons we cared about them so much and, when we see those qualities in someone else, find ourselves drawn to that person, even if entirely on a subconscious level?  It would certainly seem so.

The more I thought about it, the more sense it seemed to make.  After all, when people are looking for a romantic partner, they often say they have a type.  Whilst that frequently refers to looks, it can also incorporate personality traits someone finds attractive - a good sense of humour, or a certain level of intelligence, for example.  If we openly acknowledge that we appreciate those characteristics, then it's no surprise that when we find someone who encompasses them, we're going to feel drawn to other people very much like them.

But what of actual personality doppelgängers, where a person doesn't just share one or two traits in common with someone else you know (or knew), but seems to give off the exact same vibe as they do (or did)?  We've all heard the theory that everyone has a double out there, somewhere, but do we all have a personality double, as well as a physical one?!

Talking about this idea to people in the last two or three days has led to some interesting revelations.  More than one person said they'd suddenly realised that they'd subconsciously been drawn to and subsequently befriended someone, because that person reminded them of someone else - either someone not in their life anymore, or someone they don't see as much of as they'd like.  Once they'd recognised the similarities, they couldn't believe they hadn't spotted them straight away.  

Of course, personality traits are much more generic than looks.  You're much more likely to find two people who like dark humour and enjoy sci fi, for argument's sake, than you are to find two people with a mole in the exact same place on their face and perfectly identical noses or mouths.

But in my case, the personality doppelgänger of my former friend doesn't just share a personality trait or two.  It's the whole vibe she gives off.  Her presence feels exactly the same.  I've never come across that, before.  Maybe I never will, again.

I'm really curious as to what other people think, on this subject.  It's one I'm probably going to continue to think about, for a while.  

Who knows, one day I might mean my own personality doppelgänger?!  I hope I like her, or that'll just be awkward...

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