Surviving Reunions

High School and college might not have been the best times, but they might not have been the worst times either…either way you survived. Now the invites come; ten twenty-five, forty and fifty year class reunions. Do you brush them off or do you secretly wonder whatever happened to all the brains and beauties … and jocks and preps and stoners? When I was faced with my reunions I thought what the heck – nice to see those girls that I spent so much time with and hadn’t seen for years. But along the way I watched people at reunions and learned some tips for survival. At one of my reunions six other girls and I connected and have kept in contact since, celebrating birthdays and going on annual trips. An invitation to a reunion is an opportunity to meet former friends and discuss old memories. Friends gain weight, lose hair, change careers, so lighten up your expectations. Don’t feel you need to give in to unrealistic expectations or invent a new identity. Often the most popular flunked out of college and the class beauty is overweight.

Just be yourself

Three months before is not a time to try to lose 30 pounds, find a toupee or become a celebrity in your home town. The night before is not the time to try a new hair color or style… that is a recipe for disaster. Be proud of who you are and what you have become. You may not be the president of a company but if you are happy, that is what counts most. Many people feel this is the time that they need to overspend to impress and purchase clothing that will be noticeably expensive…not necessary. DO wear something feisty, but not over-the-top. Make sure to purchase comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet a long time and choose fashion looks that reflect your personality and make you look polished – this is not time to pull out the bell bottoms you wore as a senior. At the event use icebreakers and make conversation about the subjects you actually learned in class with these people or the memories you shared with them. Conversation will then naturally move to what has happened since graduation. Be honest with information about the previous years both at the event and in any publication for the evening – with social media many can keep up with your past anyway – you don’t want to be branded a liar.

Don’t overindulge.

Are you nervous? Absolutely, and a drink may calm your anxiety. But when drinks are flowing at cocktail hour and dinner is an hour away, being overserved at your high school reunion is a pretty bad faux pas that might take you another ten years to remedy. Everyone is just as nervous as you are so make sure to relax, but don’t come unwound. As you are leaving, make plans to see those people who you are sorry that you have not kept in contact with, and strive to do a better job. Everyone goes to a class reunion with a little trepidation and a bit of second-guessing — am I going to be noticed? But think of a reunion this way – this foray into your past isn’t about getting reactions or receiving approval; it is about visiting a not-too-comfortable part of your past, but from a place of relative security and confidence.

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