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The way she herd it should be

My boyfriend's best friends are all very close, as are their wives and girlfriends. While these women seem to like me, in a year I have yet to grow close to any of them. Hence, I don't get asked to the girls' weekly Friday night get-togethers, and my boyfriend doesn't join the guys' Friday night hang because he doesn't want to leave me home alone. The one time we each went, the girls sat around a nightclub for hours while the guys hung out at somebody's house, bored. So, even if I were invited, I'd rather spend my weekends with my boyfriend or doing other things. Is this "guys'/girls' night" a healthy thing? Should I even be upset I'm not included? -- Running from the Pack

Save your strength in case you are included, so you can feign appendicitis convincingly enough to be rescued by paramedics. If you're invited again, since you can't have the same appendix removed twice, maybe borrow from the side-effects listed on some prescription medicine: "Sorry, can't make it this weekend -- I'm suffering seizures and death." The death excuse tends to stave off future invitations, although it's sure to raise eyebrows should you run into any of the girls at the gym: "OK, so I didn't technically stop breathing, but I do die inside whenever I'm around all of you!"

Every relationship has its tradeoffs. If love isn't always having to say you're sorry, it's frequently having to say you'll compromise. This might mean giving "good girlfriend" at your boyfriend's dreary company party, or dining with his mother now and then, smiling through gritted teeth when she launches into the top 10 reasons his ex-girlfriend should be canonized as a saint. (Sure she should, you say to yourself -- if they've become less uptight about girls who bolster their embezzlement income with a part-time job spanking traveling businessmen.)

Occasional unpleasant social work aside, a side-effect of being happy with your boyfriend shouldn't be being miserable with the girls once a week. Let's say they go nightclubbing every Friday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. That's five hours a week, 52 weeks a year, which adds up to 260 hours, or nearly 11 days a year, in disco-ball purgatory. Sure, you could just go along so he'll feel better about going along -- or resolve to live like you have a terminal disease or a tendency to wander across busy intersections while reading. On the off chance you are terminal, at least you won't have to flog yourself for spending every weekend feeling like a trapped animal with access to alcohol and bar snacks.

Assuming you and your boyfriend are merely together, not grafted together, is there some reason he can't go get bored with the boys while you stay home with a good novel? And what's with the corralling of the sexes? It's OK to be apart from your boyfriend -- providing you're chaperoned by the same old "safe" group of girls? Don't worry about the guys. They'll be off engaging in their own illicit fun: "Hey, let's all go to Harry's house and plug up his toilet!" If your boyfriend is such a herd animal that he needs you to be one also, to truly fit in, you've got problems. Otherwise, explain your feelings, and for diplomacy's sake, have him put out a press release of sorts excusing you as a loner. Regarding what's healthy, maybe it's having friends you choose because they're interesting and fun -- as opposed to friends you inherit because they happen to be the wives and girlfriends of the adult remnants of Boy Scout Troop No. 105.

Putting the pedal to the settle

I have fun with the woman I'm dating, but she can get on my nerves. First, there's her habit of calling fairly inebriated. Then there's the way she talks about all the money she's making. (Yep, more than me.) Finally, she not only name-drops, she country-drops. I'll be talking about getting lost in San Francisco, and she'll cut in about getting lost in Bora Bora or while exploring the Amazon! I'm tired of being alone, and the sex is good so, am I being too sensitive? -- Open-minded

Some make it their business to always look for the good in people, even if it means rounding up a search party and borrowing dogs. You, on the other hand, are just tired of being alone. How tired do you have to be to sell yourself on a name- and country-dropping lush whose interest in what you have to say is mainly hearing you get to the end of saying it? Unless there's some reason the "last woman on Earth rule" is in effect, maybe it's time to hit the bars. Not to worry, it shouldn't take much exertion for you to come out ahead. Just find a rude, narcissistic drunk without a passport.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com).

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