English is not my primary language. In my language we have a phrase to use in this kind of situation.

You were telling a story or a situation to your friends and later it happens to you.

For eg.: you were telling a story of a theft, accident or failures to somebody and at last the same thing happened to you.

Is there any single word or phrase to describe this kind of situation ?

  • It's cosmic irony or the irony of fate (often giving rise to the response 'That's life / It's fate / Typical!) (if the 'situation opposite to that you were trying to engineer' caveat isn't included in your definition). Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 16:52
  • It might be useful to know the phrase in your language. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:38
  • A strong contender for irony. Though mostly just an unfortunate coincidence.
    – SrJoven
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:39
  • @CanisLupus The same question asked by some one in a better way . phrase is in the question in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090912052547AAK3hPq
    – zod
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 17:45
  • 1
    @zod: Is the answer "self-fulfilling prophecy" then? If you found the answer, you can also post as an answer and accept it.
    – ermanen
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 19:40

4 Answers 4


Depending on the context, you might say the story "foreshadowed" your experience or reality. It's a somewhat elevated literary term. It can be turned around this way: the event "was foreshadowed" by or in the story you told. It can be applied equally when the earlier hint of something that hasn't yet happened is conscious and deliberate, or accidental.

On the other hand, in my view, "self-fulfilling prophecies" usually occur when there is some causal link between the earlier telling and the later occurrence: in other words, when the former in some way brings about or contributes to the latter. An example would be when an economist predicts an economic crash, which causes a drop in investor or consumer confidence, which in turn precipitates the crash. Such a prophecy is truly self-fulfilling, in that it helps bring about what it predicts.

  • So from the OP's point of view: the experience aft(er)shadowed the story? :)
    – Joachim
    Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 10:02

There is a phrase, life imitates art that seems to encompass your example. This is discussed in Oscar Wilde's 1889 essay The Decay of Lying, arguing that, "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life".

  • The OP does not seem to mean that the first act is creating art, but giving an account of something (bad) that happened to someone else, then having it happen to us. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 21:49
  • @JimReynolds But I think the intention of bib (and the idiom?) is that life imitates artifice, i.e. anything that is conjured up artificially (like a tale or retelling as much as a painting).
    – Joachim
    Commented Apr 11, 2022 at 10:01

The phrase is Déjàvulike (Deja-vu-like), from the French Déjà vu, literally "already seen".


Your experience could be described as an example of “synchronicity".

Synchronicity noun: 1. the simultaneous [or nearly simultaneous] occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. Definition from google.com Google

Synchronicity is the occurrence of two or more events that appear to be meaningfully related but not causally related. Synchronicity holds that such events are "meaningful coincidences".

The concept of synchronicity was first defined by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, in the 1920s. In his book Synchronicity (1952), Jung tells the following story as an example of a synchronistic event:

My example concerns a young woman patient who, in spite of efforts made on both sides, proved to be psychologically inaccessible. The difficulty lay in the fact that she always knew better about everything. Her excellent education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly polished Cartesian rationalism with an impeccably “geometrical” idea of reality.

After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself.

Well, I was sitting opposite her one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab — a costly piece of jewellery.

While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the window-pane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, or common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), whose gold-green colour most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, "Here is your scarab."

This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance. The treatment could now be continued with satisfactory results.

Excerpt from Wikipedia Wikipedia

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