'The Modern Girl's Guide to Sticky Situations,' by Jane Buckingham

Is the problem a personality clash, or is your boyfriend (or friend) jealous of your close relationship? If it's a jealousy thing, be warned -- it's a controlling man who tries to separate you from the people who make you happy. But if the two of them simply can't see eye to eye, spend time with them separately, and be sure to reassure your girlfriend that she won't suddenly be banished to an unsatisfying relationship with your voice mail. You don't all need to hang out in one big group. Just have them agree that for special occasions, like your birthday, the two will call a truce for your benefit. How about if you hate your boyfriend's brofriend? If he's rude or insulting to you or disrespectful of your relationship, don't take any crap.

Tell your boyfriend exactly why you don't care for his pal and give specific examples. Sometimes a guy will keep an old friend around for the same reason he's been wearing the same underwear for the past ten years -- simple laziness. If you stay calm and don't issue any ultimatums, your boyfriend might come to the same conclusion you have and start the separation process. If, on the other hand, you can't stand your man's friend simply because he's uncool, awkward, or in a different place in his life than your boyfriend, just grin and bear it. It speaks well for your mate that he doesn't ditch people from his past.

You find out your best friend's mate is cheating on her.

Don't you wish you could travel back in time for a moment and cover your ears? This is such a painful predicament. As uncomfortable as it is, you must confront the philanderer and tell him that if he doesn't tell your friend, you will. Give him a set window of time (I think forty-eight to seventy two hours is fair), and check in on him. Keep your fingers crossed that he does what he's told. If you do have to tell your friend yourself, be prepared that she might not believe you. She might also lash out. Don't take this personally. Every time you get frustrated with her, just think: This could be you one day. How would you want to be treated?

There's one exception to this rule. If you truly, truly know (and I mean you're 100 percent sure) that she knows he's cheating, don't confront him. If for some reason she's chosen to turn the other cheek on this issue, perhaps you should be talking to her about her own state of happiness, not fidelity, to see if you can help.

Your mate talks smack about your parents.

We're all free to bitch about our parents as much as we want, but woe betide the pal who chimes in to agree. Your man needs to be respectful of your family, especially if he wants to stick around for a while. Consider the remarks he's made. Is there any truth to them? Do they stem from the way your family treats your boyfriend? If your relatives are partially at fault, let him know that you realize that your family can be difficult, but explain how awful you feel when you hear your parents being insulted. Ask him to be more respectful of your feelings and, while you're at it, talk to your family about how they treat him. If his criticisms are out of left field or, worse, have to do with things like their socioeconomic class or education level, you may want to think about whether he's trying to divide you from your family. Abusive assholes are good at driving wedges between a girl and her nearest and dearest, so be forewarned.

Your boyfriend does everything he can to keep you away from his family.

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