Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.

My best friend “Eve” hates my boyfriend. She says she doesn’t hate him, hate him, she just doesn’t really like him. Of course, she expresses “not really liking him” by pointedly ignoring him when she can, tearing him down when she can’t ignore him and generally treating him as though he shit on the floor at the party. Of course, she denies that it’s about him and keeps hinting it’s about how he treats me, but she never comes out and says it. What do I do?

The questions you have to answer, I think, are: why Eve really hates your boyfriend; and why is it so important to you that they continue to interact if she does. I mean, there could be a dozen reasons — including an inappropriate tendency for public defecation, though that seems unlikely — that she dislikes him. But it doesn’t seem like you’ve asked why she’s so annoyed by him, or that she’s bothered to explain. So sit her down and ask, and don’t stop pressing her until she answers. But, be ready to hear a truth she expects you not to like: as the Official Friend In Charge Of Openly Hating Your Boyfriend in a lot of my female-friend circles, girls hate one another’s boyfriends for two reasons. Either he fucked the person who hates him (or someone else she knows); or he’s a real shit to you in front of them and they are just trying to give him some of his own back.

In my diverse groups of friends, some hate my one friend’s boyfriend because he is pretentious and puts her down in front of other people; in another case, we all know he can’t keep it in his pants and we’re just expecting him to eventually cheat on her (again). I had another woman write in after first hearing her friend’s boyfriend talk about their sex life in embarrassing terms and then hit her friend. I once had a friend’s boyfriend come to brunch with us, berate her in front of me and then, when I took her side, “out” her as having cheated on him (as though I didn’t know) to try to win my sympathy. None of them recognized or really wanted to deal with why their friends weren’t super-friendly to their boyfriends — and I think it’s fair to say none of them too well to being told.

I’ve dated a guy my friends didn’t like — not because of how he treated me in public, per se, but they certainly weren’t keen on what I said about some of our problems in private. But he could also be kind of obnoxious when he was uncomfortable, telling risqué stories in keeping with my peculiar sense of humor but not with their senses of humor. And, hey, I recognized that part of the problem was on me for creating a situation in which I bitched a little too much about little things in our relationship in ways that were unflattering, and part of it was on me for not warning him or stomping on his foot when his conversational topics strayed a little too far afield for the audience. But I also didn’t need him to be around in situations where he wasn’t welcomed, and I was willing to listen when they had legitimate problems to convey about what they saw as the problems in our relationship.

So, if your friends have legitimate concerns, be prepared to hear them out. And if they don’t, be prepared to nonetheless acknowledge their concerns and figure out how you might be able to assuage their fears about him or whether they’re right about what is or should be important to you. But, at the end of the day, some times people just don’t like one another — and not every occasion requires the presence of your boyfriend, honest. If they don’t like him but love you, minimizing the exposure could result in them being more willing to tolerate him when he is around rather than bitching at him when he’s always there. And, obviously, if he isn’t cool with a few girls-only nights, well, their fears might be well-founded.

But if your boyfriend’s a peach, your friend just hates his face and can’t keep her bitchitude in check despite an honest air-clearning conversation, there’s always the part where you ask yourself: why am I friends with this person? Someone who treats your boyfriend like he crapped on the floor for no good reason doesn’t sound like she’s a joy to be around even when your boyfriend’s not there.

If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at advice@thegloss.com. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.