You Look Like Someone I Know

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you look exactly like someone I know” or “where did you go to school? You look so familiar”, then I would be writing this post from my ocean-front mansion, my pet jaguars licking my toes and my butlers eagerly waiting for their next command.

I get told that I look familiar by so many people that it has made me question WHY it is people think they know me. Here are a few possible reasons I have come up with:

  1. I have a lot of sisters that I am not aware of
  2. Alter dimensions are real, and all of my “alters” were accidentally put here in the same dimension
  3. I have a familiar face (this is one of the things I’ve been told. “Familiar” kind of feels like a synonym for “plain”, I don’t like this one)
  4. Men use it as an excuse to talk to me (don’t think so seeing as how plenty of women tell me this too)
  5. The person actually does know me, or we have a mutual friend (about 1% of the time)
  6. I am being dramatic and a lot of people constantly get told how much they look like someone

None of these possible reasons satisfy me.

I have even gotten into a near fight with someone before because she SWORE I was a friend of her sisters who went to a high school here in town. I was basically screaming “I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL IN VIRGINIA, I DON’T KNOW YOU OR YOUR SISTER!!!!”

A few months ago while waitressing a lady at one of my tables gave me the familiar eye squint and said “I think I know you from somewhere.” I snapped at her and said “you don’t know me. Everyone thinks they do but trust me, you don’t.” I get told every day that I look like someone’s niece, friend, cousin, sister, daughter, ex-roommate, etc. It’s okay don’t feel bad, but we don’t know each other I’m not from here.” The sweet lady smiled and said “no, I DO know you. You do the early abs class at the gym, right?”

foot in mouth

I turned bright red and immediately apologized for my quick-to-snap attitude. Of COURSE, the abs class. Twice a week I crunched, planked, and lunged next to the nice lady that I just told off. The same lady who would be tipping me at the end of her meal. Great.

This is the only time I can recall someone claiming to know me actually being correct. For some insight into my situation, I turned to answers.com for a little help. Where else?

What does it mean when people say that you look familiar and you’ve never seen them?

Your face reminds them of someone else, or they think they have seen you before.People in general have basic mannerisms, movements, facial and body characteristics which will strike a persons memory of someone they know. For instance a certain color of hair combined with eye color and placement, which, when a person sees them together with some type of body movement will resemble someone they know or knew, and it brings a picture to that persons mind prompting them to say “you look like someone I know.”

Well, this makes me feel a little better. I am often told that I have a very expressive face, so maybe my micro-expressions have something to do with it.

I have decided to start playing along with people to see how far I can get. “YES I DID go to that summer camp in 1998, were you in Cabin 3 too?!?!?!? OMG!!!! WE WERE TOTALLY BESTIES!!” Why not? It has got to be more fun than my same old “you don’t know me” spiel.

The face of familiarity, folks.

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26 thoughts on “You Look Like Someone I Know

  1. It is so great to read this as I have been puzzling for years as to how people ponder upon my existence in a duplicated format. I have been called an Afrikaans Singer, A TV personality on a morning show, a waitress from ‘that restaurant on Kloof Street’, someone’s older daughters’ friend, and the list only goes on for weeks. You are a hilarious writer, with a sparking sense of humour. Thank you for this article, it has made me feel much better, and I can now join the co-existence of the ‘familiars’.

  2. Also happens to me. In my opinion, I think it has something to do with TV and Movies. For the past 10 years, ever since I was 16 working at a grocery store…I have at least 1 person a month tell me “where do I know you from”? Then it hit me when a few times a year I would get, oh you look like Ferris Bueller or that guy from Two and a Half men. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, as studies have shown that what is perceived as “beauty” in people is a more “average” facial structure

  3. I have also had this all my life. Sometimes it’s ‘you remind me of someone’, but other times people call me another name. It’s women, men, all ages. I have even had groups of people talk to me about some party “we” had been at which I never attended. Only this morning I was in the supermarket and this guy was staring at me intently. He came up and said ‘it is Kathryn isn’t it?’ “Ah, no” I said. It was definitely not a chat up line as he looked shocked by my response and apologised. I could tell he was so convinced I was actually “Kathryn” but was denying it. I agree there must be a scientific explanation for this. Maybe we have some common features that confuse people. It’s very unsettling but The thing is I end up feeling bad for the other person as it obviously causes them real dissonance.

  4. I am yet another person who stumbled onto this post while searching for reasons why I might look familiar to people. I’ve had this problem since I was a teenager, and I was in a grocery store and this mom and kid both thought I was someone else. They had an entire conversation with me even though I was looking at them with bewilderment. Then once at a crosswalk in Chicago, this stranger asked if I was some newscaster on TV. When I told her no, she didn’t believe me! She gave me this “yeah, right” look. These are just a couple of many instances.

    It actually makes me feel badly, like I have an “everyface” and not my own personal look. I’ve thought about making drastic changes to my hair or getting tattoos to differentiate myself. I wish there was a better explanation for this phenomenon. Maybe the “expressive face” thing is the key, since I know I have that going. Either way, it’s maddening and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who suffers through this.

  5. I get the same thing everywhere. I was just in the grocery store and this man was staring at me like he was waiting for me to say hello. I didn’t know him from Adam. I am forever asked, “Are you ______’s sister?” When I say no, they say, “You look exactly like her!” Why can’t someone say just one time, “She looks just like you!”

  6. I get this all the time. My whole life . When I was younger I do think it was an ice breaker for men to say hello to me, but now at 56 and counting it is simply not that. People of all walks of life , young and old, men women etc are saying it. The other day I was on the road and stopped for coffee and the waitress said something to me. That was 3 days ago… For some reason
    I decided to note down every time it happened after that and try to take a snapshot. So far I am up to 3 people. I would love to take pictures of all the “familiars” and see how the faces/ bodies resemble each other. Are we all plain looking? Exotic? More women?

    Or have we all been reincardinated? Audreysb@yahoo.com
    Send me ur pictures and I will post something, I am a photographer .

  7. I know you wrote this wayyyyyy back in 2012 …. but I just found your blog so am poking about.

    I don’t think I have that issue of people saying I look familiar … I mean yes, I’ve been told that, but not excessively I don’t think.

    I was really wanting to contribute something insightful to this blog post … but admits … I keep looking at that photo you put up. I keep wondering..

    “Why is that feller behind you punching the fish on the wall??!?!?”

    LOL. Sorry … I am in a goofball mood this whole weekend!

  8. Ha! I have the same thing happen to me all the time. Some people will actually yell or run after me! Just had it happen over the summer, when a woman at a car show starting yelling at me from behind as I was walking. My fiance’ asked how I knew her, and I told him that I didn’t and was clueless as to why she thought she knew me LOL

  9. I have an opposite / similar issue?? Because I’ve lived in 3 different places and meet so many people through my job, I always think I see people I know… but can never quite place from where or who they are… so I end up not saying anything to them. This back-fires when you smile at someone in an airport terminal, thinking “hey that’s ____” and then never go say hi b/c you’re unsure. Well, then you get a facebook msg from said person being like “Uh, was that you at the airport? Why didn’t you say hi” Duh. Well, they didn’t have the guts to say hi either haha.

    Also, I play a game with my husband where we pick a random person and try to name 2-3 people they could be a combination of… and see if we have an overlap or two. It’s super weird to agree on the same two people!

    And you *totally* look like 2 other people I know mushed together ;)

  10. That’s exactly how I found your blog. I googled “why do people tell me i look familiar?” I, too, would be extremely wealthy if I had a dollar for every time someone thought they knew me. I have become intrigued by it but also somewhat weary of going down the same path of where I grew up, went to school, places I’ve worked, names of close friends, parents, grandparents… It usually ends in, “Well, we’ll figure it out someday.” I also get, “You look so much like my ______.” I’ve even had people consistently call me by the names of others that I resemble. I like the idea of just going along with one of their possible solutions, though. Thanks for that creative idea to turn this into something very entertaining!

  11. Thank you! Why can’t I find more information about this online? Seriously, people refuse to believe I’m not Ted or Jim or Phillip. They’re hurt and often utterly confused I would tell them otherwise and walk away dumbstruck. “No, trust me, you don’t know me.” My wife thinks it’s hilarious, like some kind of circus trick! This has happened all over the country since I was a teenager. Most of the time it’s just “I’ve meant you before” or “you look so familiar.” It’s the dumbstruck people who baffle me though. I’ve used it to my advantage at work, “Yes, we’ve probably meant before.” Everyone’s Happy!

    • hahaah I love hearing that there are so many other people out there who are CONSTANTLY told they look familiar. I’m not kidding, I have at lesat 10 hits on my blog every day from people typing into google “people always tell me I look familiar.” We should start a support group/club! :D

      • Ooh, can I please join that club, even if I am living in Spain? ;) That is way I made myself a kind of bizarre, even older looking, self portrait ‘B’ with black hair etc.!…to avoid exactly this (!) on my wordpress blog. So funny the things you write about!

  12. OMG! same here, i would like to know why it happens, am sure there is something more to it. must be some kind of scientific explanation.

  13. I get this all of the time-it doesn’t bother me but I would like to know why they think that about me-I am sure not everyone gets this response from people-I like to believe it is a compliment in some way!!! I was visiting my brother in Florida a couple months ago and he said that people always think they know me or tell me I have a familiar face-I was surprised to hear that he gets this reply from people too!!! I guess it’s something in our genes!

    • How funny!! I think a lot of people experience this “problem” because there are hits on my blog every day from people who type into google “people always tell me I look familiar.” Hmmm! A few years ago I was at a coffee shop and this guy said “can I take a picture of you? I HAVE to show my friend your face because you look JUST like her!!” It is so mystifying! I’ll agree with you though and just take it as a compliment :)

    • haha same!! Although based on what they look like, it may not be a good idea to see them! Some people have told me I look like Sarah Jessica Parker and I always say “oh great THANKS! The girl that is known as “horse face” in Hollywood.” :-p

  14. I used to wear a Western Michigan sweatshirt all the time, but stopped because complete strangers would stop me to ask if I went to Western. It was insane! At first, I was surprised…that grew into mild annoyance…which grew into complete and utter intolerance. The one girl literally spun me around in the mall one day and said, “Oh my God, like did you go to Western?” I seriously shoved her and yelled, “It’s just a *bleeping* shirt!” I’m pretty sure she is still in therapy. I have decided it is best for all of society for me to retire the shirt – but it is so comfy. Bugger!

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