DEAR HARRIETTE: I have recently cut ties with many of my friends because I realized that our relationship was one-sided. Unfortunately, this has left me with only two or three friends. I decided that it wasn't good for me to be around negative people and have relationships that took more from me than I gained, but is it too high of an expectation for me to be friends with someone who cares the same amount for me as I do for them? I don't tend to get lonely, and I'd much rather have a few good friends than many fake ones, but I'm scared that this new attitude will restrict me in creating new friendships. -- Feeling Demanding, New Orleans
DEAR FEELING DEMANDING: My mother used to tell us that you are lucky if you have two or three friends. I have learned over time that there are plenty of people I like and who I consider friendly. But the people who are part of my inner circle get to be there based on experience, mutual love and respect. Yes, those people should be the ones who care about you in the ways that you appreciate and need. Anybody who does not treat you with respect does not deserve to get too close to your heart.