For years, I have been using this little technique which I like to call The Onion Principle.
You see, just like an onion, I've divided my soul and feelings into layers and closed up my heart.
The outermost layer being the toughest portrays a not-so-approachable-zero-fucks-given me. This repels away the worthless people from me and keeps my feelings protected.
As I start getting close to someone, I shed layers.
The closer, the less number of layers.
I adopted this technique after being bullied by a lot of my classmates when I was in school. This attitude has helped me protect myself from being abused for years.
You see, once you start showing random people that you care for them, some of them see it as an opportunity to walk all over you.
However, if you're tough on the outside, very few people get through and have the opportunity to see you vulnerable. The ones that get through are a lot less likely to bully you.
This doesn't mean you have to be a loner. I've got a sufficient number of good people in my circle. Your circle need not be bigger, it needs to be meaningful.
The right people will find a way to peel off the layers and get to the real you.
As many would agree, you're a sum of the people you choose to spend your time with. It is, therefore, important to choose the right people to fraternize.
In my case:
My girlfriend is obviously the one who has managed to peel off every layer to reach the core. That's why she deserves all of my affection, care, and time.
My parents are one layer outside and some friends another layer away.
As immature it might sound to you, this technique has worked wonders for me for the past decade.
If you feel people take advantage of your kindness, layer yourself up like an onion. You'll feel the difference.