Law school helped me learn how to respond to criticism. Criticism is not inherently a bad thing. Some criticism is good. Some criticism helped me grow as a person and as a writer.
I also learned that some criticism isn’t helpful. Even if I assume that people come with the best intentions (which I know isn’t always true), some criticism requires too much mental gymnastics to really digest.
So what would be a properly diplomatic, nearly passive-aggressive, response? Maybe something like this:
“Thanks for that comment. While I appreciate the generous spirit with which you undoubtedly present it, I will have to decline your unsolicited advice. Quite honestly, I’m happy with how I am handling the situation, and see no need to make the effort to change. Now, you may consider me an abject fool for not heeding your obviously wise advice. Please understand that it is my choice to make, not yours, and I am comfortable with my decision.
Also, if I may be so bold, let me say that your time may be better spent not telling me how I should change my life, but rather making improvements in your own. If you don’t know where to start, I have some suggestions. Actually, I have a lot of suggestions for how you could improve your quality as a person, but we can start with just a few. No pressure, though. Just trying to be helpful. I mean, who am I to tell another person how to run their life?”