My first day of 9th grade was in a new house, in a new city, and in a new school.

I knew not one person in that school other than my siblings.

Within a couple weeks, 2 girls had befriended me. They told me I looked exactly like a girl they knew from middle school. A few weeks later, they told me that this girl from 8th grade was a bully. They had both experienced her mean girl ways.

What the? Why would they tell me this?

They thought that since I looked like this other girl that I was a bully, too. Two separate people decided to be proactive and get on my good side so they wouldn’t have to endure my wrath. I think they were both relieved when it turned out I was nice. So, they told me why they became friends with me in the first place.

I felt duped. Insulted. Weird.

It was one of those times in my childhood that made me feel different and less than. At the time, I skipped over the part where they wanted to remain friends with me because I was nice.

This is what we do. We judge ourselves and others based on earlier, similar experiences.

From my own earlier, similar with these girls, I decided for a while that every person who told me they recognized me or that I looked like someone they knew, must have an ulterior motive. I would nod and get out of there quick. Sometimes, I would just flat out ignore people who mistook me for someone they knew. It was irritating. I wanted no part of these interactions.

What a lot of work. And what a loss. Especially since I’ve been told over and over throughout my adult life that I look like someone.

I eventually stopped being bothered by this phenomena. Now, I respond in a friendly way. I take these little interactions as a compliment. People take the time to notice and to say something. They are often fascinated, interested and friendly.

Isn’t that cool? I get to smile and share with someone I otherwise would never have met. And I get to do it often.

In what ways are you being noticed by others? Have you ever been mistaken for a bully? How are you noticing yourself? Please share in the comments.