I can very clearly remember the last day of high school. I was so stoked to be finished that I may have flipped the bird out my car window as I sped out of the parking lot for the last time. The relief was palpable. If you had asked me then if I’d ever go back for a reunion, I would have laughed in your face. I might still.
That doesn’t negate the fact that I was a little hurt when I wasn’t invited to my ten-year reunion. I mean, I’m on Facebook. It clearly says where I went to school and what year I graduated. I didn’t want to go, but the snub stung.
However, the more I think about it, the more I’m uncertain why the high school reunion bandwagon is even rolling anymore. In a world that’s uber connected, why do we still find a reason to congregate in the hallowed halls of our alma mater?
The Age of Facebook
We’re all adults here so I’m just going to come out and say it. The main reason people go to reunions is to find out what everyone is up to and judge them accordingly. Follow that up with a good brag about how great our lives are and our egos are appropriately boosted.
Do you know where else you can do that? Facebook. The home of the humblebrag, the originator of Facebook stalking, the sire of vaguebooking and FOMO — the social media giant that has taken over our lives. Facebook is quite possibly the ultimate tool for stalking and oversharing. You can paint your life as perfectly as you like, virtually stalk your friends, family, enemies, and exes — and you can do it all from the comfort of your living room.
If we have the wonder and glory that is Facebook, then why haven’t we forgone reunions entirely?
It comes down to our need to connect with other humans on a personal level. To hear their voices, hug their slightly-squishier-these-days frames, and ask follow up questions to all the interesting things they post on Facebook. In the end, face-to-face communication can’t be beat — nor is it going anywhere anytime soon. And since 55% of all interpersonal communication is done in nonverbal cues, we need this face time to truly connect with people.
Who knows, you may even find a new job or potential client. It’s certainly more likely to happen in person than on Facebook!
A Social Affair
If you weren’t one of the popular kids in high school, the thought of seeing the people who made you feel terrible might make you want to throw out your invitation. However, it’s quite possible that the people who bullied you have matured. If you find the courage to go, you might be surprised to hear some very heartfelt apologies from former enemies. Reunions can serve as an unexpected chance for closure in that way.
On the other hand, there’s also a chance they haven’t matured. It’s sad, but sometimes mean girls don’t grow up. It really comes down to knowing yourself. If you can handle snotty adults without it ruining your night, then head on over to that reunion and dance to your jam like nobody’s watching. If snide comments and backhanded compliments might cause you to lose your self confidence, become insecure or start hating yourself the way you did back then, skip the reunion. There’s no need to take a step backward.
Whether you look back on high school fondly or scornfully, you’re an adult now; and it’s time to move on. Your high school reunion is only as worthwhile as you make it.
Just hope you get the damn invitation to begin with.