DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: One of my friends from work has got a harsh edge to her approach with most people. For whatever reason, she doesn’t come off that way to or with me. But she just told me how she blew up another new relationship with someone when she got all hypercritical about something the new girlfriend said. It wasn’t the first time she picked the woman apart, and given her track record, this time, the girlfriend stuck around longer than most of the others I’ve known my friend to date.
How do I help her tone down her critical ways? Maybe she’s insecure or something, and that causes her to be so harsh to other people. --- MY FRIEND’S HARD TO TAKE
DEAR MY FRIEND’S HARD TO TAKE: My experience with overcritical people is that they’re dealing with their own insecurities and tend to have unrealistically high expectations of those they’re attracted to, causing them to be easily disappointed.
Since you have her ear, for now at least, perhaps you could help her by encouraging her to stand back from her myopic dissections of others and to focus instead on what they do right in her view, rather than what she judges them to be lacking in or wrong about.
Be prepared, however, to possibly fall from her favor if she perceives you’ve crossed one of her deeply drawn lines. She may need more help than you can offer to change the way she deals with other people.