What to Expect At Your High School Reunion

It took a lot of poking and prodding — mostly on the part of your high school BFF – to convince you. After weeks of indecisiveness (and lots of time spent browsing through your old yearbooks), you’ve finally made your decision.

YES. You will be attending your class’s upcoming reunion.

It’s the 20th, after all! That’s a pretty big deal. And you’re curious to see how people have turned out.


You are not sure how you feel about an evening spent with a bunch of people you haven’t seen in two decades. Sure, there are some class members you’ve kept in touch with. But you could count them on two hands. And most of them aren’t even going.

If you had some idea of what to expect, you’d feel a little more at ease about the whole thing – and, perhaps, a little more excited as well.

Well, we’ll be happy to help you out with that!

Every reunion is different, of course. There are thousands of high schools across the country, with unique class members and experiences. And there is no single right way to hold a reunion event. Some are barbecues held in parks, while others are cocktail functions where you’re expected to dress up. (These are only two options, of course. Some planning committees get very creative!) And, naturally, a 10th reunion will be very different from a 50th, even with the same small group of class members in attendance.


friends laughing at party


But, no matter the venue, the activities, or the people, there are some common experiences to be had.

Of course, we can’t predict the future. But, if you ever ask someone about what it was like to attend their own reunion, we’re fairly confident that you’ll hear at least some of this:

  • You will probably walk in feeling at least a little insecure. You may be re-living vivid memories of some of your more awkward high school moments and wondering if everyone else is remembering the same things. Know this: They are not. And you are definitely not the only one! Pretty much everybody is feeling the same way (even if they try not to show it).
  • You’ll almost certainly be asked to wear a name tag. And you may find this annoying. But, even if your class had only 50 members, twenty years is a long time. It’s possible — make that likely — that there will be people present who don’t recognize one another.
  • You might have a momentary flashback to those days when you had a hard time finding your friends in the cafeteria. (Remember wandering around with a tray in your hands, looking for a place to park yourself and eat that square pizza?) The beginning of the reunion may feel a little bit like that as you get your bearings and look around for familiar faces.
  • Despite feeling a little lost, you may also have a strange sense of being at ease. What’s that about? Simple: You’re with a group of your peers. You’re all the same age, and you all share a common experience (even if you’re not sure who to talk to yet!).


friends laughing together at party


  • There will be at least one person who looks surprisingly better than they did when you were 18. And there will be at least one person who looks virtually the same. (Admit it: One of the most entertaining aspects of a reunion is seeing how people have turned out!)
  • The more effort you put into conversation, the better time you’ll have. Your first interactions with most any class member will be mired in small talk (You look great! Can you believe how long it’s been? What are you doing now?). But, if you keep chatting, you’ll be able to delve into the more interesting stuff.
  • You’ll end up talking to at least one person you never really knew when you were in school. This might be someone who never gave you the time of day (or vice versa) way back when, even though you had at least four different classes together. Or you may end up having a great conversation with a virtual stranger. (This may not happen at your class’s first reunion, but the 20th is often cited as the one where people finally start breaking free of their cliques.)
  • You may come away with at least one minor regret. Whether it’s the time you turned down a date with that really nice guy from 11th grade history, or the fact that you and your tenth-grade locker partner grew apart, or even your decision to take French instead of Spanish, you just might be doing a little nostalgic second-guessing on the way home.

Now go make the most of that reunion!