I have a confession to make. I rather enjoy awkward silence. I find it delicious, much like a super dry wine or powerful wasabi. It’s not for everybody. So as you can imagine, I found myself not squirming uncomfortably at my 10-year reunion recently. Before the adult beverages started flowing, the conversation didn’t. But that’s ok (at least with me). By the end of the night, I think we all agreed a good time was had (either that, or those adult beverages convinced us otherwise). While I enjoyed seeing old friends, and reconnecting with those I hadn’t seen in a decade, I couldn’t help but make a few observations (that’s just the writer in me). So, if you’re considering whether or not to attend your next reunion, here are a a few reasons why you shouldn’t go. (Then, I’ll talk about the #1 reason why you should.)
5 Reasons Not to Attend Your High School Reunion
1. You want to show off how far you’ve come.
Skip the self promotion and status dropping. Nobody cares. Ok, people do care, but all you’re doing is making other people feel badly about their success (or lack of success). If you’re truly a “big deal,” people probably already know (Facebook, hello?) and will make an effort to ask you about it. So, if you’re proud of how far you’ve come since graduation day, by all means, come to the reunion. But come prepared to leave knowing more about others than they know about you. After all, it’s far more impressive to be remembered as “selfless and caring,” than “self-involved and aloof.”
2. You want to look down on others to feel better about yourself.
Chances are, there will be someone at the reunion whose weight gain/career stagnation/romantic failure will make you feel a teeny bit better about yourself (especially if they were a meanie during school years). But don’t come with the intention of looking down others. That’s just plain wrong. Others can feel your vibe. If you’re that insecure, see a therapist. Then, by all means, go to your next reunion.
3. You want to rekindle long-lost love.
This one might apply to some of my single friends out there (and if you’re married, this is a really bad idea). However, I had a very small graduating class. There were only 45 of us, and less than half showed for the reunion. And a lot of us are related. So, this might be a good idea if you had a large class and you’re not into incest. Otherwise, you’re better off sticking to match.com (or whatever single people do to meet nowadays, I have no idea).
4. Your significant other doesn’t know how nerdy/ugly/weird you were.
You’d better come clean with your date/spouse before you bring them to a reunion. Seriously. If they don’t already know how nerdy/ugly/weird you were in high school, they’re about to find out. Now, this might not be a bad thing, but it’s better that they hear about it from you (and see the pictures) before someone starts whipping out the yearbooks. Now, I thought I had explained to my husband just how nerdy and awkward-looking I was during some of my school years, but even I was slightly embarrassed by several photos that were passed around. And I don’t embarrass that easily. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I’d never told him these things myself. So, disclose often, and disclose early. Or someone else will.
5. You still haven’t moved on from old hurts/insecurities.
You’d better check yourself before you venture into your reunion. Is there an old emotional injury that hasn’t healed? Is there an arch-rival that you haven’t made amends with? If these hurts are bubbling up ten/twenty years later, you’d better deal with them before you show up in your best figure-flattering outfit. Because no amount of body toning, fashionable shoes, hairstyling or makeup can save you from being reduced to your insecure, pimply, chubbier self when confronted with the school bully (or other unpleasant personality). If you’re still struggling, make your fears known to your significant other or a close friend who’s also going to the reunion. Or, bring a friend. One who can help you navigate these sometimes-rough waters and remind you that you are awesome. You are worthy. You’re more than the sum of your school years.
So, now that I’ve told you all the reasons why you shouldn’t go, here’s the #1 reason you should:
You’ll regret not going more than you’ll regret going. Sure, there will be some awkward moments, and perhaps uncomfortable moments, but there will also be great moments. There will be ugly-faced laughter, rekindled memories of the good times, and an assurance that no matter how bad those school years might have been, you’re your own person now. A significant part of you was formed during those K-12 years, but the majority of your life is lived outside of those walls. So, go live your life. Live it well. And go to your next reunion with a smile on your face and enough money in your wallet for as many adult beverages as you’d like. (You’re gonna need them.)