We all have that friend who we have outgrown. Maybe she’s become racist since college, or he parties too hard. A friend who, once treasured, no longer fits in with who you are or where you’re going. A friend like Scott Scanlon.
When Beverly Hills 90210 first debuted, the cast contained two nerdy freshmen, David Silver and Scott Scanlon. They were the perfect juxtaposition to cool Dylan McKay and popular Steve Sanders. David and Scott were childhood best friends. They were nerdy and smart and always pulling some sort of shenanigan to fit in with the cool kids. But, as it always does, the paradigm began to shift. David started dating Donna: an automatic in with the gang. Scott’s super-religious upbringing, overbearing mother, and interest in guns rendered him completely incapable of being cool. So Scott Scanlon had to die.
When Scott accidentally shot himself in the face while recklessly playing with a gun at his super-lame birthday party, the entire gang was way sad for a whole episode. But they, and we, moved on. Scott Scanlon was a character who had worn out his welcome. The writers at 90210 were able to neatly dispose of him, while advocating gun control in a non-preachy way.
Obviously, we don’t want our inconvenient acquaintances disposed of in such a manner. These are people we once really cared about, who we now sort of know and wish we knew a little less. We want to stay friends with them on Facebook, but not feel obligated to attend their birthday parties. I don’t know a diplomatic way to dispose of such relationships. Having been on both sides, I know the agony dwindling friendships can cause. It hurts to be phased out. And it’s stressful to phase someone out; the combination of guilt and annoyance weighs heavy on the heart.
So when someone doesn’t respond to your invitation to coffee or ignores your fun E-vite, don’t take it too personally. People change and grow over time. Not every friendship is meant to last from cradle to grave. Be grateful for the time you shared together. And remember Scott Scanlon and what happens to people who can’t take the hint.