Black and white photograph of Mencken looking over his shoulder at the camera

H.L. Mencken

“Types of Men,”


One of the most mawkish of human delusions is the notion that friendship should be eternal or, at all events, lifelong, and that any act which puts a term to it is somehow discreditable. The fact is that a man of active and resilient mind outwears his friendships just as certainly as he outwears his love affairs, his politics, and his epistemology. They become threadbare, shabby, pumped up, irritating, depressing. They convert themselves from living realities into moribund artificialities and stand in sinister opposition to freedom, self-respect, and truth. It is as corrupting to preserve them after they have grown flyblown and hollow as it is to keep up the forms of passion after passion itself is a corpse. Every act and attitude that they involve thus becomes an act of hypocrisy, an attitude of dishonesty. A prudent man, remembering that life is short, gives an hour or two, now and then, to a critical examination of his friendships. He weighs them, edits them, tests the mettle of them. A few he retains, perhaps with radical changes in their terms. But the majority he expunges from his minutes and tries to forget, as he tries to forget the cold and clammy loves of year before last.

Black and white photograph of Mencken looking over his shoulder at the camera

r/Ask Reddit

Replies to “Reddit, when did you realize that you outgrew your friends?,”


When I realized they only kept in touch so they could use my truck.

When they got married and weren’t allowed to go out and play anymore.

When they started doing cocaine around me.

When I was out to dinner with them and one got up to pee and the other put hot peppers in his drink. We’re in our thirties.

When I was the only one with a real job, and then a pension, and then a girlfriend, then fiancée, then house, then child. I love my friends, but most of them are adult children.

When I found myself learning nothing from our constant conversations.

When many of them started having kids. Everything was baby this, baby that, don’t you want to see my baby, isn’t my baby the most precious thing you have ever seen? No. No, it’s not.

When we stopped having anything in common.

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