Dear Amy:

I am normally a very confident woman. However, when I go out with my friends, I feel very insecure. My friends are all absolutely gorgeous, and I'm always the last one to get hit on.

I recently met a guy through my male friends. He is great, and I'd like to see if we could possibly start something. The best way to do this, I think, is to go out in groups of friends, but I'm very worried that he'll lose interest in me and instead chat up one of my friends. I know that if he chooses to do that, it wasn't meant to be, but he's smart, funny, good-looking and ambitious.

I haven't met a guy like that in quite a while.

Please tell me what to do!

Raring to Go in Chicago

I know that gorgeous people seem to have things so easy -- especially in clubs and bars, where appearances take precedence because it's very hard to talk and be heard. But remember that even for beautiful people, there's always someone more beautiful across the room. Unless, of course, you're Angelina Jolie.

I'm sure that you've told yourself repeatedly that real beauty starts on the inside, but now I'm going to tell you. The right guy will push his way past all of the Angelinas to get to know you better, because he recognizes that you're smart, funny, good-looking and ambitious.

That having been said, you will increase your chances of being recognized for who you are if you get to know this guy one-on-one. I know that younger people now do a lot of their dating in packs, but that is just a weenie security blanket.

You should e-mail this guy to see if you can get to know him "on paper." Ask if he wants to meet for coffee. And work on your confidence when you're with the Angelinas. Confidence and naturalness are what make people attractive. Even if you have to fake it, that's a start.

Dear Amy:

Is it acceptable to (politely) yell at a close friend who backs out of coming to my birthday celebration to go see his new, long-distance girlfriend?

I've had this plan in the works for a month, and he had already said that he would come.

Now it turns out that the date in question is the only time soon that he'll be able to go see her, and he's changed his mind.

If our roles were reversed, I would make the sacrifice for him, and I'm feeling bitter.

Am I just being selfish, or should I have the right to expect close friends to honor their commitments, even if it isn't convenient?

Party Troll

If the roles were reversed, WOULD you make the sacrifice for him? Really? If you had just become involved in a hot, long-distance relationship and could only see the girl over your bud's birthday weekend, would you still honor your commitment?

Of course, you are completely in the right: Commitments are commitments. But I want to give you a reality check. Sometimes friendships do take a back seat to romances, but the great thing about friendships is that they prevail.

I give you permission to tell your friend how disappointed you are that you won't see him over your weekend, but please don't (politely) yell at him -- it scares the horses.

Dear Amy:

Regarding "Joe," who has odorous employees.

Joe should add laundry detergent to the gift bag containing shampoo, soap and deodorant.

I have seen employees come to work wearing the same grimy, smelly clothes (especially those wearing uniforms).

Dirty clothes on a clean body still smell quite offensive.

Pearl in Virginia

Many readers wrote to point out that wearing clean clothes is an important part of maintaining an "odor-free" lifestyle.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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