If you have a friend who loves to criticise, clinical psychologist Fiona Starr has advice on how to put a lid on it.

How to stop negative talk

1. Swap the focus

Whenever a judgmental friend starts to give an unwanted opinion, change the subject.

2. The guilt trick

If that doesn’t work — and you want to keep her as a friend — blame yourself. Say you’re feeling really overwhelmed and can’t tolerate any advice from anyone, however well-meaning it is.

3. Stay calm

Try using some stress-management techniques before you meet her. Deep breathing and visualisation techniques will help you stay calm if she starts saying anything that upsets you. Remember, these are her issues, not yours.

4. Stop the toxic friendship

If she really won’t stop her critical comments, it might be time to re-think your friendship. What kind of friend is she if she can’t stop judging anyway?

Photo: INGimage

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Ever been on the receiving end of unwanted advice? Or do you secretly find faults with your friends? Mums confess...

“The classic one is potty training. Big kudos, apparently, for having your kid out of diapers by age 2, but no one mentions the fact their children pee and poop all over the house instead!”
Claire Tan, 26, mum to Kyler, 3

“At playgroup, several mums stopped talking to me because my boys were more ‘advanced’, since they'd started walking at 8 and 10 months, which apparently upset them.”
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Sarah Kay Thomas, 31, mum to Cheryl, 11 months

“I try not to judge, but I can’t help feeling horrified when friends tell me that they co-sleep with their babies and never put them down. I’m more of a ‘let them cry for five minutes and see if they settle themselves’ kind of mother.”
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