Article posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2:45pm

Dear Mary Pat,

I have a friend who thinks she’s perfect. Recently, we were having dinner where she proceeded to point out everything that our mutual friends did wrong in life. I bit my tongue – figuratively – and, on occasion, literally as the shocking stuff spewed from her mouth. I was so uncomfortable by the time dinner was finished that I skipped dessert, which I never do. Any advice on how to let her know that she’s human just like the rest of us and her criticisms are a bit harsh?

I Don’t Want to Keep Skipping Dessert

Sister Bay, WI

Dear I Don’t Want to Keep Skipping Dessert,

As you seem to know already, no one is perfect. Your friend’s imperfections seem to lie in the area of being hyper critical and judgmental, which is unfortunate.

We all want the best for our friends and sometimes they are very obviously making a mistake, whether it is selecting the wrong person to date or buying a house that they truly can’t afford, or something small like ordering four scoops of ice cream when one is plenty. Sometimes it’s appropriate to give an opinion, sometimes it isn’t. However, it’s never appropriate to rip on them behind their backs.

The next time your friend starts in about someone else’s faults, you can simply say that you aren’t comfortable with the conversation. Stress to her that she probably doesn’t realize how critical she is being (since chances are good that she doesn’t) and that we all have flaws. If she doesn’t seem to catch on, ask her how she would feel if someone talked about her faults behind her back. Hopefully, you will get through to her.

Good luck,

Mary Pat