A reader asked:
How do you make friends you actually like and who like you back? Most people end up annoying me if I spend too much time around them, and the few who don’t usually end up annoyed at me themselves.
Most friends annoy each other if they spend too much time together. That in itself doesn’t mean that you dislike each other. Sometimes it just means that you’re spending way more time together than is good for the friendship.
The best thing to do might be to take a step back and spend some time figuring out how much time you actually want to spend with that friend, and what kind of things you want to do together – as well as what kind of things you’d rather do separately.
For instance, it might be that you like hanging out with your friend once a week, but that you don’t want to have long conversations with them every day. Or that you like to spend a lot of time with them, but you don’t want them with you when you go to bars. Or that you want to hang out with them, but not some of their other friends who you find tiresome.
Friends need boundaries and adequate time apart in order to have the friendship stay good.
There’s a great piece, Five Geek Social Fallacies, that describes some related dynamics that complicate friendship.