Following is someone getting inspired from something you did and adding their personal touch to it. For example if someone likes that I am able to multitask a lot of things and still able to focus on everything properly then following would be getting inspiration from me and trying to multitask a few of their tasks which makes them happy and see if they succeed in it.
Copying on the other hand would be using somebody else’s idea, do what exactly the other person did. Before they meet you, they are completely different but once they see come into contact with you they copy everything about you.
I have had this problem with me all my life, especially with girls. During my childhood, girls in the neighborhood would try to copy everything that I wear. I am not against people following my clothes – I would love to be a trendsetter but buying the exact same thing, with the same color???
In college, I had my classmates copying my assignment so much that sometimes they would forget to remove my name or change the gender (For example if I had used words like “She has” and if the person who would copy my assignment is a boy, they often forget to change it to “He has”). 🙂
When I was living with roommates I had a hard time because most of my roommates would be eating normal until I moved in. I am a picky eater and I watch what I eat rather than following the crowd. Once I move in, most of my roommates follow what I eat even when they are not used to it and eventually fall sick due to eating less food.
I thought this would end with school and college but even while being an adult I face the same problem. The context would be different but essentially it’s the same thing.
Most of the times when I see it happen, I usually tell the person trying to copy, to use my idea but add their touch to it, basically tailor it to meet their needs and expectation but people who usually do this are not willing to spend additional time thinking on their own when they can copy from others, so ultimately they end up copying things as is.
Copy is just not about individuals. Even places like big corporate or research institutions copy each other’s products, deals, ideas, paperwork etc.
How to overcome this? Well I do not really have an answer. I generally tend to ignore it but if it gets onto my nerves after a while, then I stop providing information to the person. I will limit what I tell them so that they don’t have enough information to copy and slowly I would change the topic of conversation to something else to avoid talking about something that the person intends to copy.
Big corporate probably sue them, try to show the world who is better and so on. For what we know, this might never end. But one thing is certain, no matter how much anyone copies – original always wins.