The Disadvantages of High School Class Reunions

by Henry Randolph

It is likely that sometime after graduating from high school, perhaps even decades later, you will be invited to attend a class reunion. As you mull over whether to go or not, be aware that these well-meant exercises in nostalgia are not necessarily always sure-fire, unadulterated fun. Factor in some of their possible disadvantages or discomforts to balance the pros and cons. Then, if you decide to go, you will be ready for whatever the occasion may bring; if you stay home, your mind will be at ease about it.

Monetary Discomforts

Chances are the reunion will not be in the place where you live now. So be prepared to shell out a goodly sum to get you to the reunion venue and back, for a roof over your head and meals while there, and to help pay for the event itself. Don't forget to budget what it will cost to dress and get groomed for the occasion. (Of course, none of this applies to online "reunions.")

Psychic Discomforts

Depending on your vanity quotient, the thought of physically facing your high school crowd--buddies, ex-lovers, rivals, teammates, locker partners--may well throw you into a tizzy of self-scrutiny in front of the mirror. Where pimples once flourished, you'll now see wrinkles instead; bulges where comely curves once ruled; and bare scalp where that shock of amber hair once waved, all in proportion to how many decades ago you graduated. Time will likely not suffice for making significant improvements. Instead, adjust your attitude and go as who you have become. Everyone else will be in the same boat.

Marital/partner Discomforts

If you take your spouse, who was not your high school sweetheart, he or she may learn things about you that could haunt you on your return home and beyond. At the reunion, avoid any prolonged reminiscences with old buddies. And hope that your old girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t going to be there. If you're single and take your significant other, the same cautions apply. In either case, they might see your teenage libido being resurrected under the influence of recollecting the heady days of your carefree, reckless youth--with possibly unplanned results nine months down the road, as happened to more than one couple.

Social Discomforts

You were cool in high school, but at the reunion you might encounter role reversals that challenge your self-esteem. That geek who couldn't put his right foot in front of his left? That's him with the Porsche, tanned and buff, a gorgeous woman on his arm. Worse, it's the former captain of the football team. Is that the mousy nonentity that no one took notice of in high school? Appears she has metamorphosed into a sleek, successful businesswoman. Rather than futilely trying to transmute your years of commuting to a cubicle into a star turn, quoting Classmates.com's reunion advice, instead “cultivate a calm and charming presence that, along with a knockout smile, will attract people from clear across the room.” So, to overcome reunion discomforts, be happy, show it, and they'll know it.

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About the Author

Henry Randolph began writing as a corporate technical writer in 1997. He has written everything from policy manuals and corporate reports to internal newsletters and intranet content. Randolph's specialties include financial, military, fitness and technical topics. Since retiring in 2007, he has co-edited the "Wayzgoose Gazette," a nonprofit printing museum's newsletter. Randolph holds a master's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.