May 30, 2010

Reconnecting With People From Your Past: Reunions

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It’s summer time and I’ve seen a lot of thing on Facebook and Twitter about high school and college reunions.  A few years ago I went to my 20th high school reunion. It was both fun and awkward.  So, seeing the chatter brings back interesting memories.

Reunions have a unique vibe to them.  In addition to catching up with people from our past, often people will bring a spouse. So, not only are you anxious about seeing these people from your past you now are worried about how to keep your spouse from being bored out of their mind.

I was one of the coordinators of my 20th high school reunion, so I was able to connect with people ahead of time.  Weird as it was at first, it was a great ice breaker for me.  Not only did I get all their info ahead of time, I also got to ask questions ahead of time instead of having to play 20-questions upon meeting them again.  I also had the pleasure of hearing from people who had no desire to go to the reunion and didn’t hesitate to tell me how stupid the reunion is, how much they hated people from our class and their desire not to be found.

Have you ever seen Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion? If not, and you’re thinking of going to a reunion soon it’s definitely something you should watch.  It’s full of awkward moments, stereotypes and good old fashioned hi-jinks.  Also, it will give you pointers on what NOT to do.  It may remind you of people you know.

A reunion is a good time to reconnect with people from your past.  Now that there is Facebook, you can take care of many of the first awkward moments in the comfort of your own home. And you can get a sense from things they post whether they’re really someone you’d want to connect with.  I didn’t have the pleasure of Facebook for my reunion, which was 3 years ago.  My how the game has changed in such a short time.

Here are 5 tips for making your reunion a fun experience:

1.  Try connecting online first – Facebook, Reunion.com, Classmates.com and Twitter make it easy to find and connect with people.  Even if you just lurk and read their updates you’ll gain a great deal of insight. Email also gives you a buffer so you can take it slowly and see how much the other person shares before you lay it all out there.

2. Share photos – sharing current photos will help give you a sense of what others look like in comparison.  Do they still look like they did in high school?  Have they aged gracefully?  It may help you feel more confident about your looks or give you the impetus you need to make changes.

3.  Expect others to have changed – Just like you have changed and experience many things in your life, so have they.  Don’t think that they are just like they were in the past.

4.  Don’t relive the stereotypes – In high school, and even in some colleges, we wore labels.  Nerd, Geek, Tease, Jock. Everyone had one.  We may still be those things, but chances are we’re not.  Or at least we’re not in the same context.  Yes, I was a geek in high school but today I wear that proudly and use it to my advantage when it comes to all the new tech knowledge that keeps me connected to a world bigger than I ever imagined.

5.  Old flames may still burn – This is one of the biggest emotional challenges of reunions.  Real or imagined, dealing with former romantic interests can be very challenging.  If you are attending with your spouse, remember they are not only physically present but also a very real part of your current and wonderful life. You are not the same person you were, and neither is that old flame. Put your feelings in perspective.

When I attended my high school reunion, I had the opportunity to reconnect with a number of people.  Overall, it was a positive experience.  I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and share this new chapter in our lives.  In one instance, though, it was extraordinarily awkward.  My best friend from high school said maybe 6 words to me.  He, yes he, was very cold and aloof.  He’s a brilliant guy with a Ph.D. and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up.  I actually spoke more with his wife than I did with him. It really hurt me because when we both went off to college it was weird saying good-bye.  We’re both married and professionals, but I’m not sure if he’s in the same place emotionally as I am.  Maybe he just doesn’t care, and that’s fine.

Don’t go in expecting to go back to that place, either high school or college.  You’re different and so are they. Enjoy the experience and make the best of it. Be yourself, be proud of where you are and most importantly, have fun!

Have you been to a reunion? If so, how did you reconnect with people from your past?

Sara

{ 7 comments }

Honey May 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Hi Sara,

I did not go to my reunion. I am actually glad that I did not go. I think that I probably avoided it for many of the reasons that you mentioned in your post. I have been able to connect with some of my friends from school, but I think I am a very different person now than I was then and I just don’t relate to them anymore.

I am thankful for the large circle of friends that I have now, but very few of them are people that I actually knew in school.

Blessings
Honey

Sara May 30, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Honey,

Recognizing that you are a different person and not very interested in going is good. If you don’t think it would be a good experience, then going wouldn’t be worthwhile. The most wonderful thing about having new experiences is that we have the opportunity to meet new people who may be future friends.

Thank you for sharing your experience!

Sara

Robyn OHSH May 31, 2010 at 5:58 am

This is an excellent topic and post and definitely something everyone has a sense of trepidation about — high school reunions! I have my big one coming up this fall. These tips are wonderful to get me ready!

Thanks so much for linking up to Mingle Monday and for your awesome tweets about it. Enjoy!

Sara May 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

Robyn,

Thank you for stopping by to visit and for leaving a comment. I’m so glad that the information is helpful and I’m sure you’ll be so prepared for your reunion. They can be fun and enjoyable, but just like school we need to do a little work to be prepared.

Kindly, Sara

Amy @ Raising Arrows May 31, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I’ve only made it to my 5 yr at this point. I couldn’t make my 10 yr due to having a sick baby. Don’t even know if we are having a 15 this year.

Part of me really doesn’t want to go b/c of how different I am and the desire to stay far, far away from memories of who I was. It would be nice if everyone would read your post and remind themselves that people do change. 🙂

Sara May 31, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Hi Amy!

Thanks for stopping by today. I can appreciate your not wanting to go to your 15th. Having been privileged to talking to people who didn’t want to go, it’s amazing to me how much of the past people will hold on to. It would be nice if they could remember we all change. Thank you for the nice compliment that people should read my post. I hope they do!

Kindly,
Sara

Nicole May 31, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Wonderful post Sara! My 10 year high school reunion was four years ago and it was very interesting to see how people had changed. The reunion was put together at the last minute so not many people were able to attend. It was nice to catch up with people briefly, but after a couple hours my husband and I were ready to go. Thanks to facebook, I’ve been able to keep in touch and connect with a number of friends over the years.

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