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

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a college freshman with a roommate problem. Her name is "Sheryl." (From what my friends say, my problem is not unique.)

Sheryl and her boyfriend, "Steve," are very affectionate. They're not shy about displaying their affection for each other in front of me.

The tiny dorm room I share with Sheryl is where I sleep and study, but I am constantly distracted by the sounds of their loud make-out sessions, and their mushy baby talk makes me want to gag! Whether I'm writing an essay, talking on the phone or e-mailing, Steve and Sheryl can usually be found on the next bed kissing and carrying on as though I don't exist. No matter how many hints I drop, Sheryl seems clueless about what a problem her behavior is for me.

I may not be the perfect roommate, but I try to be quiet and considerate when Sheryl is trying to study. And I don't call my boyfriend sickening names when someone else is around.

For the sake of aggravated roomies everywhere, what can be done? -- ANNOYED IN SANTA CRUZ, CALIF.

DEAR ANNOYED: Stop hinting and speak clearly. When people think they're in love, they sometimes tend to tune out the obvious. If you need to study and your roommate's amorous activities are distracting, tell her and her boyfriend they'll have to knock it off or find someplace else to indulge. And don't feel defensive about it. The primary purpose of college is to study and to graduate.

If that doesn't work, apply for a change in roommates -- preferably one with similar goals as yours.

DEAR ABBY: I am being married this summer. My fiance and I are having a tropical Hawaiian theme wedding and reception at a beautiful hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Our invitations were mailed two weeks ago.

Yesterday, we received an invitation from my future brother- and sister-in-law. They are having a backyard potluck luau the weekend before our wedding.

Abby, I feel hurt and angry. I don't know whether to attend their party or not. What should I do? -- GOING COCONUTS

DEAR GOING COCONUTS: Your hurt and anger are understandable, considering the fact your future in-laws have co-opted the theme of the wedding. The week prior to your big day is sure to be packed with last-minute details that could prevent you from attending the potluck. Keep it as stress-free as possible. If you are too busy to attend, no one could blame you.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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