Do you have friends or family who take advantage of you? Are you aware that it's YOU who are responsible for this - not them? Do you feel that you are always doing favours for them whilst getting little thanks in return?
Nobody likes being taken for granted, so try these guidelines to help you to stop letting people take unreasonable advantage of you:
1. Talk with the person taking advantage of you
Consider carefully what you're planning to say before approaching the person taking advantage of you. Let them know clearly what you've been thinking about and how you feel about their demands. Stay calm, firm and polite while talking. Try to get your point across, but don't go out of your way to hurt them in any way. Let them know that you are unable to fulfil all their demands. Do this privately - not in public.
2. Listen to how they view the situation between you
Let them talk and explain how they feel. Listen carefully and take into account what is being said. They may choose to defend themselves, admit to their actions, or act oblivious to the whole situation. Hear them out and consider carefully their words and body language.
3. Assess how much you're able to help
Decide what or how much you can do for others, and whether it is reasonable for them to expect it from you. Turning down any friendly request or gesture can take nerve, but is, at times, necessary.
Establish limitations as to what you’re capable of. Assess each situation as to whether real help is needed or whether you're just being taken advantage of.
4. Learn to say no and mean it
When you suspect you're being taken advantage of, phrase "no" as simply as possible. Don't raise your voice or become upset, simply say that regretfully, you are unable to help this time. Try to remain non-confrontational.
Bear in mind that it's your time and effort that they are requesting from you, and you have the choice to accept or decline what they're asking.
5. Don't feel obligated to explain why you're unable to help this time
You have your reasons to refuse your help this time, and they may not be ones you wish to discuss. Explain that you have other commitments at present, even though your commitments might be to yourself and may well include an hour or two at the beach!
6. Be consistent and stick to your decision not to be taken advantage of
Stand firm. If they do not want to accept your answer, make it clear to them that your mind is made up and that you will not change it.
Obviously some situations might be more pressing than others, for example compassion and assistance for a child or a parent in real trouble. In the case of an emergency, all guidelines on how to stop being taken advantage of need to be set aside.