Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend is very nice, and I think he respects me, but I don't know how to motivate him to take me out once in a while. His idea of fun is sitting home and watching TV. If I decide to go out with my friends because I'm tired of sitting at home, he becomes very insecure. I've tried telling him how I feel, but that hasn't helped. Any ideas? -- MICHELE IN PATASKALA, OHIO

DEAR MICHELE: A compromise is in order. Bring the subject up again when he's in a good mood and the two of you are sharing a close moment. Make a plan to go out with your boyfriend once a week and do something that you enjoy. Another night, get involved in an activity that he enjoys. That way, some of your needs are met -- and eventually he'll be more secure if you have an occasional night out with the girls.

If he makes no effort to understand and accommodate you, it might be time to find another boyfriend.

DEAR ABBY: For many years I have admired your levelheaded and sympathetic advice to readers troubled by life's periodic sorrows, so I mean no disrespect when I ask you to help me understand your recent counsel to people offering their sympathies to grieving parents.

In a recent column about well-meaning but hurtful comments to women who have recently miscarried, you advised: "If a friend loses a child through miscarriage, express your feelings of sorrow as though she had lost a 'living' child, because she has."

Doesn't it follow then that, "If a friend loses a child through abortion, express your feelings of sorrow as though she had lost a 'living' child, because she has"?

If you'd prefer to answer my question privately, by letter, please do -- I'm enclosing my address. -- LARRY PONT, CHICAGO

DEAR LARRY: I have received a number of letters from readers asking me that same question, so I'll forgo a "private" response and answer you in print. An abortion is something the woman has CHOSEN to have, so the degree of sadness is usually not the same -- or is, in fact, nonexistent.

Interestingly, women often react to an abortion with the same emotions they bring TO it. A woman who has independently concluded that she wants or needs to have an abortion will have fewer negative feelings about it than a woman who was pressured into having one.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I live in a semidetached home we saved for years to buy. However, we have a problem with our new neighbors. They are nice people, but they play their stereo so loudly that the boom from the bass is knocking the pictures off our walls! Asking them to stop hasn't worked. Calling the police about the noise takes too long. We don't want to move, but what else can we do? -- ORIGINAL HOME OWNER, OSHAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA

DEAR ORIGINAL: Since you describe your neighbors as "nice," invite them into your home while their stereo is playing so they can hear what you're talking about for themselves. Then ask them if they would consider moving their stereo system to a wall that is not a shared wall. If that doesn't work, consider upholstering the adjoining wall to help muffle the sound.

CONFIDENTIAL TO JEANNE: Happy birthday, my precious, talented firstborn. What would I do without you? Don't tell me; I don't want to know.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600