It’s natural to have conflicting emotions about your high school reunion. You probably remember striving to be popular, falling in love for the first time, and feeling awkward much of the time. You’re also curious about what your old classmates are doing now and what they’ll think of the adult you.
Be prepared for when your invitation arrives in your mailbox. You’ll enjoy your high school reunion more if you run down this checklist before you go.
- Connect online. Chances are you already keep in touch with some of your close childhood friends on Facebook and other social media. Try reaching out to anyone else you especially want to see. They’ll probably appreciate the gesture, and it may encourage them to attend.
- Let go of grudges. Maybe you argued with a former friend or had a long running rivalry with another student on your soccer team. Forgiving them will take a load off your mind and allow you to move forward. Talk with a counselor if you need more help coming to terms with your past.
- Dress comfortably. Wear an outfit that you know is flattering and helps you to relax. Resist the urge to go on a crash diet or have a total makeover. Have the confidence to be yourself.
- Review your achievements. Other guests are bound to ask what you’ve been doing. Have a few talking points in mind to describe your family, career or whatever fulfills you.
- RSVP promptly. Remember the organizers who make your reunion possible. Be sure to tell them you’re coming and thank them for their work.
- Introduce yourself. You may have trouble recognizing each other after 10 years or more. Prevent mutual embarrassment by stating your name to anyone who looks hesitant.
- Bring a guest. If you’d like to have extra support, ask your spouse or a friend to join you. Talk it over beforehand to be sure they feel comfortable.
- Tell the truth. You might be tempted to exaggerate your own situation if you find out that a classmate performs brain surgery or built their own vacation home in Tuscany. Remember that honesty is less work and peace of mind comes from being sincerely content with what you have.
- Share pictures. You can be too enthusiastic about your grandchildren and past travels. However, it’s okay to load some favorite images on your phone, especially if you show as much interest in what others bring.
- Offer apologies. Is there something you did as a teenager that you deeply regret? Apologizing to somebody you hurt may help you both to heal if you can find an appropriate opening and they seem receptive.
- Thank others. Make someone smile by telling them that you remember something wonderful they did years ago. Maybe you enjoyed their part in a high school play or appreciate the tips they gave you for understanding calculus.
- Mingle widely. Spend time talking with guests who you didn’t get to know as a teenager. You can compare your memories and find out if you have more in common now.
- Follow up selectively. Collect contact information for anyone you want to keep talking with. Accept the fact that some old friends may have drifted away, but other relationships could grow.
It’s easy to follow anyone in your graduating class on social media but seeing them face to face is a more meaningful experience. Your high school reunion can be an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, heal past insecurities, and discover more about who you are now.