Friday, September 11, 2020

Mirror mirror

Mirroring is the behavior in which one person unconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family.

…This concept takes place in everyday interactions and often goes unnoticed by both the person enacting the mirroring behaviors as well as the individual who is being mirrored.
I’ve been on the lookout for mirroring ever since I learned about it in college. Being the contrarian I am, not wanting to be one of the herd, I try to avoid mirroring others and feel uncomfortable when I catch myself mirroring. When I notice someone mirroring me, I change my behavior to see if they follow. Then I change again to see if they still follow. Sometimes it’s quite funny. Like yesterday.

Six of us men had done a bit of manly work and were talking about manly stuff like lumber and GFI circuits. I noticed most of us had our hands in our pockets. So I switched to crossing my arms. Within a minute, the majority of us had crossed arms. So I switched to one hand in a back pocket. Then crossed arms again. Then hands on hips. Then hands loose at my side. Surprisingly, two guys I was standing behind mirrored me most of the time.

The thing is, mirroring is supposed to be a positive action that builds rapport. Yet I resist it. Maybe it’s one reason my social interactions tend to be awkward and a little distant. I guess I should embrace mirroring and see if things change.


  1. I pick up accents easily without noticing. I started wondering if people think I'm making fun of their accents when I do that. So, I try not to do it but first I have to notice that I am.

    1. I had a semi-girlfriend in college who was raised in Idaho but spoke with a thick Southern accent. "Yeah, I spent a summer with relatives in Alabama. I started speaking like them as a joke, but it stuck. The joke's on me."

  2. After reading the Wiki article I can see why you'd want to avoid mirroring.

    Though it says the action is subconscious, the preponderance of motivations appear to be manipulative...either as sycophant or power-broker seeking obeisance.

    Humans: pathetic herd animals!

  3. That's why GFI connection'seres are so interesting.,. Quite possibly, ... Who knows???