I love it when I’m having a great day—my hair is on point, the barista remembered my order, and I’m just in a really good mood. These are the best days. But what can quickly tear them apart is when you run into that friend that only ever seems to criticize you instead of offering up a compliment. I’m definitely not implying that if your friends don’t give you compliments they’re bad friends, but sometimes there’s that one person within a group who is much better at pointing out your flaws than anything else. Why is that?
I’m not sure what makes a person become so negative, but how you respond is what really matters. If you have someone like this in your life, hopefully these five tips can help.
1. Don’t give her a taste of her own medicine.
It can be very tempting to intentionally start gossiping about this person behind their back or start being unnecessarily rude to them. But no matter how hard it is, don’t do it. I think there really is something to that phrase “kill them with kindness” and makes for the best defense in situations like this.
2. Think before you react in the moment.
Emotional reactions have gotten me in trouble in the past. Even though it can feel good in that moment, I’ve found I handle myself much better after I take a step back to think about how I want to respond. This way I have time to stop seeing red (or let my eyes dry) and form a constructive response. And speaking of constructive…
3. Have a constructive conversation.
Maybe you can let a few comments slide, but after a certain point you have to stand up for yourself. If this is the case, walk away, think about what you’d like to say to your friend and then reach out to her to meet up at a later date. I know whenever I’ve had to have tough conversations with people, it’s best to arrange a time where it’s just the two of you so you can avoid involving any mutual friends.
4. Try to understand why she’s criticizing you in the first place (aka – be the bigger person).
In the time you take for yourself to reflect on the situation, don’t just think about how angry you are. Instead, try to flip your mindset and understand why that person is criticizing you to begin with. It probably has more to do with other issues in their life than with you. It can be tough to swallow your pride like this, but it’s better than responding irrationally (trust me).
5. Move on from the friendship.
If you feel like you’ve done everything you can to try to understand and salvage the friendship, but things don’t seem to be getting any better, it might be time to move on. Friendships require tons of effort from both parties and sometimes people just grow apart and reach a point where being friends doesn’t make a ton of sense anymore, and that’s ok. It might hard, but ultimately will eliminate that extra negativity from your life (something I’m working on paying more attention to in the new year).
Talking to friends about tough (and sometimes awkward) subjects is hard, but we all deserve to be treated right by those who matter most to us.
Have you ever had to confront a friend for constantly criticizing you?