Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My sister is a clinical psychologist. Recently I introduced her to a close friend of mine. My friend hosted a gathering for Easter and invited us both. I could not make it, but my sister did. I received a call from my friend afterward. She was very upset. Apparently my sister took it upon herself to give unsolicited advice to some of the partygoers she had just met. She jumped in when a child had a meltdown, chastising the parent and reprimanding the grandmother, causing an angry response from the grandmother. My sister then insulted another individual by criticizing this person's method of counseling in her own practice. I was told that many at the party were shocked and insulted by her lack of tact and social graces. My sister makes a habit of telling people how to conduct their lives and aggressively pushes her opinions onto others under the guise of "just trying to help." She has alienated many family members over the years. When relationships with loved ones are not going her way, she breaks down and cries like she is being mistreated. She says, "That's just how I am. You need to change how you feel." What should I do to get through to her? She is very intelligent, but never admits any wrongdoing on her part.

-- Upset Sister

DEAR SISTER: Your sister should know well through her professional training that people don't actually need to change the way they feel.

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People do frequently need to change the way they act, however. Let's start with your sister.

Drawing on her expertise with how to deal with children, she will be familiar with the concept of "natural consequences." A natural consequence of her intolerant and aggressive behavior is for people not to spend time with her. I assume your mutual friend will stop inviting her to events.

You are in a position to influence your sister by telling her, "I love and respect you, but your habit of leaping over boundaries and injecting your views is tough to take. I don't like it, and it is affecting our relationship."