If you’re a bit removed in time from when you last attended high school, you’ve no doubt thought about the possibility of attending your high school reunion. Every five years around the summer season, anyone who graduated from high school perhaps thinks about the possibility they’ll be contacted about attending their fifth, 10th, or 25th high school reunion party in their home state. Mind you, those who live far away from their home state may never again think about high school reunions. And reunion team leaders may not even contact those people because they’ve been written off as missing if the alum hasn’t been to a reunion before.
But some high school reunions don’t always take place every five years and may not start until 20 or more years after the fact. With these scenarios, a person who’s been contacted to attend has some major things to consider before making the decision to attend. It can be a real dilemma, especially if you haven’t been in contact with the people you went to high school with since you graduated. Nevertheless, your memory may be razor sharp, which can bring problems on its own.
While deciding whether to attend doesn’t have to be a major philosophical conundrum, you still have some tough questions to ask yourself before attending. It’s arguably the only time in life when you’ll have to give some challenging analysis to something that’s supposed to be fun.
Do You Really Want to See Your High School Friends Again?
You have a real question to grapple with here, because friendships can sometimes resume instantly, even if you haven’t seen a person in a decade or 20 years. Before you go to your reunion, though, you have to remember how much they’ve likely changed in appearance since you last saw them. This is something that all people attending their high school reunions aren’t always prepared to accept. It’s one reason why the nametag was invented to use at reunions.
This can be a very depressive experience if your memory is vivid and you remember exactly what they looked like in high school. And it can be even more of a problem if you remember a little too much.
Do You Have Painful Memories That Most People Forget?
Not all high school experiences were apple pie in the sky happy. Most people had at least one unpleasant experience in high school they likely won’t remember when reunions come around. Some, though, may remember enough where it can be a painful experience when meeting up again a long time later. What makes this awkward is when you start up a conversation with someone who perhaps bullied you in high school or berated you after asking for a date. They may not remember anything, though you may remember it vividly.
Yes, these types of encounters can lead to some awkward conversations that can even lead to saying something you regret. If you have too many experiences like this in high school, you’re better off not attending a reunion. You can make the decision based on asking for a guest list to see which names will be attending, assuming you remember the names of the people who once gave you trouble (and now work as a judge).
Will People Still Recognize You?
As a flip side of recognizing your peers above, you might want to look in the mirror and study how much you’ve also changed in appearance since your last high school photo. Some people stay looking basically the same up to their retirement. Others quickly age even after a decade or 20 years. Those who’ve lost all their hair or put on extra pounds since last seen by their graduating class might want to think again about attending. That’s especially true if you want people to remember you, and there’s always going to be some attending who expect you to remember them.
While nametags always help, you may end up standing all by yourself for the reunion if people recognized you by appearance rather than name. It’s possible you have a distinctive physical feature that may tip off someone’s memory, assuming you didn’t have plastic surgery.
You simply hear too many horror stories about nobody being able to recognize everybody to worry about attending if you’ve changed drastically on a physical level.
Letting the Passage of Time Dictate What You Might Say
On the positive side, those attending 20-year reunions have the benefit of having enough time passing to say certain things to high school friends you’ve kept secret for years. If you’ve had a chance to be in contact once in a while prior to the reunion, there seems to be consensus that after two decades, you can admit having crushes on certain people in high school without suffering embarrassment. These admittances can bring some real laughs and fun rather than getting back at being bullied.
If you can trust that your old high school alumni are in the same frame of mind, the discussions of who dated who in high school can lead to a much more interesting experience than you perhaps thought. It’s also a bit cathartic to perhaps remove some things that weighed heavily on your mind all that time and be able to get some laughs out of it in the process.