Dear Dr. Eric, Sometimes when I am with my group of friends I become exceptionally annoyed with them. Everything they do bothers me to the point where I can’t focus on anything except how annoying they are. I feel like walking away and never talking to them again. Is this normal, or am I just easily irritated? What should I do? AnnoyedDear Annoyed, It is normal for you to be annoyed with your friends because your friends are, as nearly everyone is, annoying. Throughout your life, as you are beginning to realize, you will be surrounded by bothersome people. Your “friends” are like warriors who were genetically modified to be incredibly irritating, and the useless chatter which they subject you to is akin to waterboarding. Your urge to escape your friends will eventually become an urge to escape humanity as you realize that everybody else is just like them. Unfortunately hermithood is not a viable option if you desire pleasures in life such as money, learning or babes. Your best option is to employ various techniques which will limit others’ ability to pester you, and allow you to live in society while being relatively un-annoyed. This is what Christ called being in the world but not of it. One trick which I like to use is not acknowledging greetings. When someone who might greet you is on the same sidewalk as you, keep your head down. If you accidentally make eye contact, pretend that you are deaf. Pretending to be handicapped is a great way to avoid interaction. Do not pretend to be too handicapped, however, or else people might find your story inspiring, and then you have to deal with admirers. Another good trick is pretending to be busy. Sometimes people who think they are my friends ask me to go to their parties. I usually say that I cannot because I will be at a “Frisbee tournament.” I have not played Frisbee in years! Little deceits such as these can free you from aggravating situations. A third method for avoiding people is to be mean. If you want your presence undesired, be undesirable. This method comes with a caveat: Some (most) girls enjoy any type of attention, and will misinterpret your meanness as flirting. You should combat these girls by avoiding them altogether. These techniques and others should make your life more bearable. Do not be surprised, however, if nothing takes the pain of friendship away completely.
Dr. James Eric Prichard holds many terminal degrees in various fields from institutions around the globe. He is decent at foosball but poor at table tennis.