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Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I've been friends with "Kelly," "Emily" and "Dara" since college, about seven years. We have always gone out to bars and clubs and had a lot of fun together -- until recently. Lately, through social media, I can see that Emily and Dara and sometimes all three go out without me. In fact, the only time we all go out together is when I set it up. Since I'm closer to Kelly, I asked her why Emily and Dara were freezing me out. She explained they're sick and tired of the attention I get from men when we all go out as a group. Kelly doesn't care because she's in a committed relationship. They say they want a chance to meet guys and having me there only makes them feel like "second choice, if the men even notice them at all." I've really stepped up my fitness routine and as a result I wear much more close-fit styles, which men do like. My friends wear very casual, comfortable clothing. They have their own style and that's fine; I don't judge them for not doing things the same as I do. But now I feel like I'm losing my friends because of this. Also, we don't always go out with the intent to meet men, so why cut me out? What can I do? -- Cut Out

Cut Out: Actually, you're losing your friends because they've chosen a crappy, transactional way to treat other people.

I could argue that Kelly is the worst of them for going along with the superficial exclusion even though she "doesn't care."

And I might argue that all day if it means I run out of time and don't have to address your comments on clothing styles, because, ew.

I don't know. I'm sure it's all accurate, but "I'm hot and they're not" isn't the kind of accuracy that endears people to their less romantically successful friends.

It all just brings me back around to where I always end up: Fun is fun, but connection is worth whatever effort and patience it takes. Are these friends looking down on you? Are you looking down on them? Is there anything worth salvaging here? If so, then say your piece about feeling left out and see where that takes you.

Re: Hot friend: I have a hot friend I stopped going certain places with because I could never spend an evening dancing or talking with her. I was always stuck with the wingman or her hangers-on. I came home every evening feeling like dog poop. Not because I envied her or had any desire to flirt with men at clubs, but because I had spent the whole evening talking to men who made it quite clear talking to me was an unpleasant chore. I still go out drinking and dancing with other equally pretty women all the time. They don't let me get crowded out when men notice them. -- Crowded Out

Re: Hot Friend: Not helpful or the point, but this does remind me of my favorite scene from "When Harry Met Sally." I hope everyone who wants to find their good melon does (including me!). -- Anonymous

Anonymous: You had me at, "Not helpful or the point." Thanks!

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