Some folks have a distorted sense of entitlement. They might expect help to get a job in your company or your field and push you for contacts. Or they might feel entitled to get free services from your professional skills. If you’re an auto mechanic, you’ll get asked to help friends with car trouble. If you’re a web designer, some will expect you to make their websites for free. Some of this is just human nature. People who are close to you and might feel it’s fine to ask.

But then there are the one-way takers, those who always ask for favors but don’t return them. When you’ve been a people pleaser, they get used to expecting stuff and feel it’s okay not to do things in return because they know how insecure you are. People take advantage of us when we live to please or are too uncomfortable to say “no.” But it often leaves us feeling used or taken for granted. That leads to anger, disappointment, frustration, etc.

I make an effort to help people who do support me. That’s how it should be. Helping those you care about is an outgrowth of self-love. But it’s important to become aware of who deserves your time and who doesn’t. Being a nice person doesn’t mean helping everyone. You owe it to yourself to be selective about who you give your energy to.

People call or email me for guidance and think I’m obligated to answer. I don’t! When people want me to critique their books or help them write one, I give them my rates, since it’s my livelihood. You must set boundaries. Does a friend borrow clothes, which are returned stained, or does one expect you to design a free logo, though it’s your livelihood? A neighbor may dump kids on you for regular “emergencies” but never have time to watch yours. Set them straight—nicely. They’ll keep taking otherwise. Use lines like:

* “My plate is too full to help.”
* “Please ask in the future instead of assuming you can _____.”
* “My fee for doing that starts at $_____.”

They may not like it but if they’re just one-way takers and not real friends, don’t worry about it. I try to stay on two-way streets with people these days. It makes life more pleasant and keep aggravation at bay. Going down one-way streets when you’re going the wrong way is very unsatisfying. Love yourself enough to stop the requests. You can do it nicely and by regularly turning them down, get them out of the habit of treating you like a cash machine that only makes withdrawals. Even if you lose some of these people, you’ll be happier with the people who come your way!

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad