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.

46 thoughts on “You Look Like Someone I Know

  1. I typed “When peope say your face looks familiar” and Google brought me here. I had my court wedding yesterday. One of My wife’s classate at the wedding whom i was meeting for the first time had been staring at me at random until after a while, she asked “i’m sorry but i think i know you somewhere”. My wife just laughed. Although o thought i had seen her before too. All my life complete strangers have said they knew me somewhere. Some will just stare at me probably wondering if they should ask me wberethey knew me from. The reason i began getting worried today and decided to hit the internet for answers was because of my wife’s sister who told my wife today that she had been meaning to tell her that she feels she has seen me before. My only fear is that people should not mistake one for a criminal with this familiarity issue. I also think there might be some special reasons for this whic might make me superhuman.

  2. I get this at least once a week. Even when i moved 2000 miles away from where I was born and raised, and away from family, I still had people thinking I was someone they knew from somewhere. Just this afternoon I had someone call a different name across the street to me because I guess I looked like someone he knew.

    I kept thinking it meant I had a plain/generic face or style, but I’m not really sure now.

    It’s interesting to read the other theories, and I’m glad to not be the only one who experiences this on a regular basis.🙂

    • People tend not to believe this when I describe it. But my wife has observed it over the years. Sometimes I’ll get this twice in the same day. Or a few days back to back. Other times I’ll go a month between “sightings.”

  3. I am so glad to you see everyone’s comments. For years, I have met complete strangers who were absolutely convinced I was someone else. So glad to know there are many of us out there…Best wishes to all!

  4. I know I’m soooo late on this little observation (4 years?), but I’m surprised no one mentioned the word “catfish.” Best not to go there, maybe. But your public image can be used in all manner of ways that you might not like and without any permission necessary.

  5. Haha I guess I’m four years late. Anyways I was in the Dollar tree today. Once I had walked there and ran in some bushes(accidentally) I had took about 20 minutes finding some Patch for my mom’s ankle. All I’m wearing is some boot blue jeans and a light and long blue shirt with some flips. I’m not trendy and this comfortable outfit is a favorite. So I probably looked flustered and insane with my long hair all about my face real poofy like and red-faced from the long walk. But once I got to the cashier, she was like ” don’t do I know you?” I, having no idea who she was, was like no…. and than as I’m counting the change out she had been staring at me and than you could see her have this AHAH moment. And was like: Gibbson! Do you know anyone by Gibbson? Baffled, I’m like: nope I’m sorry miss. And she was like: She was my teacher and you look just like her! You even sound like her. And so I just say: Wow that’s a little we- and than she finishes my sentence by saying WEIRD! We both laugh and I say well see yah. Unless she had some hot-haired flustered and polite teacher as me, I don’t know how I made the cut. Maybe the whole mad scientist look? Haha. Anywhoo, the whole experience kinda creeped me out. What, to think of a doppelganger out there twice my age!(Maybe she thought I was this Ms. Gibson’s daughter?) Also- Maybe I should of asked what subject this supossed look-just-a-like teacher taught so that I could have some direction as to what career path to go on! Haha. But at the end of the day this experience lifted my spirits because to think I reminded this lady of her childhood and a teacher she loved brings me this great joy. I love that moment when you get to watch people remembering enjoyable past memories, especially when you were what caused them to do so. The whole experience to me was weird and yet endearing. It made me feel so uplifted in a way and like I got this complete stranger on such a deep level! Finally a time out where not everything was impersonal! Anywhoo maybe I should become a teacher? What since apparently I look like one AND this ‘look’ apparently runs in the family. Twice and in two different occasions has complete strangers mistakenly thought my Mother was their old school teacher! When her job is working as a deli employee the comparison always baffles me. So apparently looking like teachers run in the family. Dai sha vu moment! Good to know…. hey I could use this look to my advantage! (;

  6. I am a “familiar” too. I am so excited to finally find others who have this experience!! This has happened to me since childhood and happened again yesterday – I’m 39. Beard or no beard. Glasses or no glasses. Makes no difference, I always look like somebody else. Since I was a kid I’ve always felt welcomed by those who “recognize” me and it made me feel special, like this was somehow my superpower, that will somehow help me in life – although so far it just seems to be a random phenomenon. I have been unable to find a pattern. Once a nurse told me I look like her son-in-law and she showed me a photo of him at the family dinner – I had to admit he looked similar. I have been seeking you all for all these years, wishing to connect so we can figure this out!!! What is the common thread in all of our lives? This is a thing, I’m convinced… I am not religious, but always felt this somehow has something to do with my spirit, or higher consciousness. I intuitively don’t believe it is just that I look familiar, or that there is some scientific explanation, although I am a mutt of Western European descent.

    Here’s my conclusion so far – please tell me your thoughts. Intuitively, I feel that my natural ability to accept others and not judge them (my real superpower), is what reminds them of someone else in their lives who share this non-judgment attitude. Perhaps my attitude is communicated in my microexpressions and others pick up on this familiar feeling. Part of why I believe this is because of the love I feel from those who identify me. They are thrilled to meet me, despite having no clue who I am. My familiarity is enough to compel them to treat me with the same love and camaraderie they would treat my doppelgangers.

    I’d love to hear from some of you. This is a real phenomenon. I have always felt very strongly about this my whole life. This means something and I want to know exactly what.

    • Exactly! This has happened to me all my life, too. It happened again today. In one instance I can see a resemblance. I believe you are on to something when you talk of acceptance and being non judgmental. I suggest, also, that some people have basic facial plane recognition and tend not to notice details. I could see that happening in some of the comparisons over the years. I thought I would “outgrow”, this tendency to “look familiar”. So far it continues to happen no less than twice a year. I just smile and agree that I seem to have a familiar face (whatever that means).

    • I actually ended up here on a goggle search because I was curious if there were many more people having this experience. I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head. For me, the “familiarity” phenomenon has increased in frequency over the years. (I’m now 37). I’m not religious but I have taken up a simple meditation practice in recent years. I’m not a pious or devout person at all. But the one thing in life I’ve found the capacity to do is look upon others with zero judgement, just wonder and appreciation. And that happens to be one thing that I think most people in life are seldom able to do. My gut tells me that’s what people are noticing. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      • I am so glad to hear your comments. I am not very spiritual either, but I do meditate and I try to stay true to my inner self or higher self or my spirit, whatever you want to call it. I have noticed that when I am aligned and feel like I am “on” and truly myself, these “familiar” episodes seem to happen more.

  7. Great discussion. I too share this familiarity, and I have been asking the same questions lately. I’d like to know from everyone here who has commented – Do babies and children tend to smile at you more, or study your face more? I really do think it has to do with the percieved social “attractiveness” (not to toot my own horn🙂

  8. This happens to me all the the time. One year, I was working for an international organization in Tucson. I had to pick this guy up from the airport who was coming from Macedonia. Inmediately he says you look like someone I know. I smiled knowingly and said well I hope you at least like the person. I told him this happens a lot. I took him straight to an American Bbq at a friend’s house. Sitting across from me was this girl about 18 or 19. She was nursing a baby and was staring at me. She then asked me if I had gone to some highschool and names it. Ok I was in my 30’s at this point. To old for H.S. I said no, sorry. I turned to the guy from Macedonia and said…see?

  9. I get it all the time too!! I’m a nurse and patients keep asking me if they know me and people on the street it’s getting strange😄 I moved a couple years ago and literally no one I know lives there but it got worst hahaha. I guess I just have a common looking face😄

  10. I get this at least every other day and it does my head in! I find it so insulting now. I joined a social dating site not too long ago and almost every conversation started with ‘I know you from somewhere’ – Instantly murders and possible chance of romance and just makes me want to kick them in the nuts. Fame without money sucks!

  11. Yes to all of these!! I thought maybe I had the most generic/plain Hispanic face and that’s why people kept saying that but apparently I don’t even look Hispanic. I’d love a scientific explanation to this!

  12. 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’.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!”

    • I keep meeting people who ask me ‘ do you school in……. Place? Many told me they knew me in places I have never been. The funniest of all, a close friend of mine called last week and said he met my twin sister in a party he attend, “infact my identical twin she was”. I just keep wandering and sometimes it annoys me, while other times I smile, but thank God it’s not me alone.

  17. 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 .

  18. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 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😉

  21. 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!

  22. 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!😀

      • 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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🙂

    • It’s not always a positive thing. One time shopping at CVS, a teenage girl was afraid of me. She told the adult man she was with and he approached me ready to confront me or tell at me until he looked into my eyes. He didn’t even apologize. He just walked right past me. Another time, I applied for a job and the manager and the other boss both just stared at me then started asking me who I hang with. I didn’t get the job. The first time though was when a teen boy was following me down a street calling me Danielle. I ignored him but he wouldn’t let up until I turned around scrwamed, Im not Danielle and he freaked out with embarrassment bec I wasn’t Danielle.

    • 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

  25. 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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