5 Reunion Conversation Starters…. And 5 Things Not to Say

January 27, 2016 · CLASSMATES FUN

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So, you’re headed to your high school reunion. It’ll be an exciting night of recounting memories with friends, teachers and coaches you haven’t seen in ages, but where and how to start breaking the ice?


Luckily for you, reunions are kind of our thing. We’ve rounded up 5 ways you can gracefully kick off the conversation with old friends and, hopefully, pick up right where you left off all those years ago. As an added precaution, we’ve also listed 5 things not to say.


Remember as you read, the most important thing is to simply be yourself. That’s who your old friends remember.

5 Reunion Conversation Starters

1. “Your photos have been awesome!”

No one is immune to flattery, and while you may not have seen your high school class members for a number of years, you’ve likely connected with some of them via Classmates, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or any number of other social networks. Kick off the conversation by mentioning something you’ve seen them post recently, Facebook dispatches from their trip to Greece last summer or Instagram photos of their son or daughter’s latest concert recital are great examples. Recalling specific details about someone is one of the best things you can do to make them feel special, and mentioning their social media life says that you’ve been following along.

2. “Do you still wear that raspberry beret?”

Sure, you’re remembering the beret because they wore it literally every single day of the fall semester, but it’s a detail (and what’d we just tell you about details?) you’ve held on to all these years, an image of this person as you once knew them. Whether it was the beat up car they drove, the coke-bottle glasses they wore or the big-haired music they rocked, the little pieces of them that you still remember are a great jumping off point for a new conversation.

3. “Remember that time…”

“…in Ms. Harper’s homeroom, …when you worked at the Sandwich Shop, ….at the homecoming football game, …when your parents left town for the week…” You have an anthology of memories worth revisiting with these friends, and your high school reunion is the perfect place to do it. Just be careful you don’t resurface any tales that are too embarrassing.

4. Shared High School News

Our institutions matter, they help shape who we become as adults in the world. Many alums stay involved with their high school following graduation, and some who settle locally have children who will ultimately graduate from the same school. As you’re there to celebrate your attachment to this institution, it serves as a great talking point. Maybe a new gym or science building was recently opened on campus. Maybe one of the school’s favorite teachers over the decades recently retired. Either provide a great opportunity to chat about what’s changed over the years and what’s stayed the same.

5. “Kids these days….”

So you’ve traded the motorcycle and leather jacket for a minivan and “world’s best dad” coffee mug. Embrace it. Revisiting your past selves is fun and nostalgic, but don’t be afraid to bond around the “current selves” you’ve matured into—mostly, parents. You came of age together, but that means you’ve also come of parenting age together. Trade diaper-changing war stories and invite your old friends to get to know the new you.


…And 5 Things Not to Say

1. “I thought you two would live happily ever after.”

Starting off with their failed high school romance is the quickest way to crash and burn in a conversation with an old friend. No one forgets their first love, and many of us were left mending broken hearts as we graduated high school and departed for different colleges. Don’t be the friend to bring it up at an otherwise enjoyable party.

2. “Can you believe it’s been X years?”

Well, yeah, it’s an X year reunion. As if it’s not bad enough to point out how much older we’ve all gotten—which no one appreciates—it’s just a boring thing to say. Avoid relying on tired clichés to spark conversation with old friends. They remember you as being more original than that.

3. “You haven’t changed a bit.”

Recalling details about someone is a great way to make them feel special, but resorting to one-size-fits-all compliments have the opposite effect. They can feel insincere and unoriginal. It’s much better to compliment something specific than something too general or ambiguous. Noting that they, “still have the same beautiful blue eyes,” or look like they could “run that record relay time tomorrow” is a compliment that’s both more unique and more authentic.

4. “I heard a rumor that…”

It may not even be a bad thing that you heard, but it implies that there’s been some chatter about it among the old crew. Gossip was no fun in high school, and little has changed in that regard as we’ve grown older. If you’re fishing for the scoop on an old friend—about a divorce, about their career, about their kids or family—you’re better off just asking than to preface it as something you heard through the grapevine. An old friend will appreciate you being direct.

5. Anything political. Anything at all. Ever.

Just no. It’s been a long time, and hearts and minds have changed dramatically over the years. You may be genuinely interested in picking the former class president’s brain, but this really isn’t the place to discuss fallout from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Keep things light and fun, focus on your shared memories, and don’t give anyone an excuse to “unfriend” you when they get back home.



What’s your favorite moment from a high school reunion? Share in the comments below.