DEAR ABBY: You receive many letters from people telling you they are taken advantage of -- by friends, relatives, neighbors, etc. Why don't these "victims" assert themselves and refuse to do that which makes them uncomfortable?
The people who drop in unannounced, or the out-of-towners who freeload, are not friends. They have their own agendas and don't stop for one second to consider the other person's feelings.
I used to have a close friend until she asked me if she could borrow $50,000. Her request occurred less than three months after my husband was downsized from a corporation after 19 years. The friendship was never the same after I had to refuse.
My formula is simple: Choose people who treat you the way you treat them -- with consideration and respect. Perhaps some people say yes too often because they want the whole world to love them, and that's why they end up frustrated and resentful. People need to be stronger and simply speak up and just say no. -- BARBARA IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
DEAR BARBARA: I agree that if people were more assertive, fewer would be taken advantage of. It's impossible for anyone to be loved by everyone -- and giving beyond one's means does not guarantee that the giver will receive respect and affection in return.
Classes in assertiveness training are offered by community colleges, community centers and some seniors centers. Books on assertiveness are also available at public libraries and bookstores.