ten-year high school reunion

Reader S. M. asks:

My ten-year high school reunion is coming up, and I don’t know how I feel about it. Should I even go?

remember these?

It's been ten years since you saw this balloon. Maybe. Image: Ian Kahn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear S. M.:

Incidentally, I just had my ten-year reunion this weekend, so I can write this as a sort of observational piece regarding my own experience.

The best way I can think of to decide whether or not you should go to your reunion is to flip a coin. Heads you go, tails you don’t. It’s that simple.

If you want to make things a bit more complicated, I suppose you could weigh your options. Is there anyone who will probably be at the reunion that you haven’t kept up with on Facebook? Is there any other social event going on you’d rather go to?

Here’s the big news flash: ten-year reunions aren’t life-changing events. Maybe they were 20 years ago, before the internet made it easier for us all to stalk each other into oblivion. But nowadays, unless someone fell off the face of the earth, the reunion really isn’t going to do much for you. It may even cause you some anxiety. And, in fact, if someone fell off the face of the earth, chances are that they’re not going to go to the reunion anyway.

Sure, they can be a ton of fun. Especially if you enjoyed high school and are looking forward to seeing all those people in one room again, possibly with their new children and spouses. But you’ve probably gotten to have fun with all those people without need the officiousness of a “reunion”, so it’s just icing on the cake of friendship you already have.

If you miss your ten-year reunion, it’s not going to come back to haunt you.

If you do decide to go, the only thing I can recommend is to make sure you have fun. Try these tips to ensure maximum enjoyment:

Have a team. If you don’t have a date to bring, make sure you touch base with people who are going to be there.  That way you’ll feel less anxious going in, since you’ll know there’s going to be someone there looking forward to seeing you. High school politics will probably still be in play, and you’re going to be somewhat amazed at the number of people who still won’t acknowledge your existence. (Remember that’s a two-way street; they probably think you don’t acknowledge their existence, either.) You’re going to want someone there to make the “WTF?” face at when so-and-so just waltzes past without saying anything.

Don’t bring a date you’re not seriously intimate with. I know it sounds like a good idea to have anyone, ANYONE on your team, but trust me, it just gets awkward. Introducing them is particularly weird. “This is my not-really-significant other, with whom I have no plans, and I thought I’d bring him/her into this huge group of people who remember me as a completely different species just to see how things work out.” I mean, I guess your ten-year reunion could be a great trial-by-fire for the relationship. If they impress your old friends and aren’t completely freaked out by how awful you were in high school, you should probably propose directly after the event. But unless you’re planning on making your relationship long-term, leave last week’s booty call at home. Or wherever it is you leave a booty call.

Don’t expect anything. Really. Ten years is long enough for people to change, but some of them just won’t, no matter how much time you give them. People will probably have forgotten how poorly you all got along when all the hormones were new. Some people may harbor resentment for that time you made fun of them in gym class. But they may not. If you haven’t been in contact with them over the past ten years, there’s no way of knowing how they’re going to react to you. So just don’t expect anything from anyone.

Wear something fabulous. This should be obvious. Be comfortable, but look awesome. Even if you don’t think you care about what your former peers think or thought of you, it’s always nice to be the one at the party that everyone talks about: “Wow, he turned out really well, didn’t he?” (My twin sister was that girl this past weekend. Kinda’ great.)

Don’t take it seriously. If it’s not fun, leave. Or invent a really great story to confuse/impress people. Go nuts. Pretend you’re in Gross Pointe Blank and you’re an assassin for the CIA. Start dancing in place when there’s no music playing. Tell people it’s your new religion. Make it interesting if the crowd isn’t doing it for you. This is just a ten-year reunion. They’re going to have another one in about five years, and you can be a completely new person by then, too.

That oughtta’ do it. Really, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t go to your reunion. Remember that someone took a lot of time to organize the event, probably, so you may look into being respectful to them. A big turn out is always better than a small group of anxious folks not enjoying themselves, and if one of your friends is organizing the event, you probably ought to go just for their sake.

Otherwise, flip that coin.


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