Dear David I'm the type of person other people describe as 'kind' and 'dependable'. I quite like this but the more I go out of my way to be obliging, the more others take me for granted. The trouble is I just can't say 'no' to anyone, even if I don't want to do something. I want people to like me but I also want the respect others get. How can I achieve this? Jane Dear Jane You are anxious that people won't like you if you set limits due to what you need to do for yourself. You also are worried that people won't respect you if you say 'no' sometimes. Actually, it's just the opposite. If you are seen to have reasonable boundaries and are taking care of yourself as well, then you will surely have the respect you wish for. Perhaps you need to strengthen your shaky self-esteem. If you aren't sure of your own value and essential goodness, you are more likely to wonder if others have the same questions about you. The more secure your own self-esteem, the more likely you'll set balanced limits and boundaries with others: the more confidence you have in yourself, the more likely you'll have the respect of others. People quite often go to counselling for issues regarding self-esteem, self-confidence, balanced boundaries and reasonable limit setting. You are not alone in your feelings by any means and your goals are achievable. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org . They will be treated in strict confidence and anonymity is assured Dr Susan Jamieson, a Scottish-trained family practitioner with 14 years' experience in Hong Kong who specialises in a holistic approach, will handle your medical queries. David Bailey, director of St John's Cathedral Counselling Service, has more than 20 years' experience helping individuals, couples and groups. He will be happy to take readers' questions on all types of relationship issues. Bill Connor is director of student services and a psychologist at Hong Kong International School. He welcomes your questions relating to school and education matters.