Summer is Reunion Time

by admin on May 25, 2011

I have been a lover of your site since I found it (it has kept me from making several faux pas) but I now ask for some much needed advice.

The time has come for my high school 10 year class reunion and I’m not sure I want to attend. First some background on my high school experience. I went to a very small h.s. and the first couple of years were pretty good; however, when senior year rolled around, I’m not exaggerating when I say that every one of the people I had been friends with since 1st grade ditched me. I was later informed that it was because I chose to go to my part time job instead of parting with them. The parties of my senior class consisted of drinking and seeing how many people one could sleep with in one night (not my scene). I spent my senior year getting great grades, working, and going to a bookstore out of town on the weekend nights if I didn’t work. I didn’t begin to make friends again until my second year at university. I’m a stronger person now than I was then, but I’m still faced with a conundrum.

Our class president who is organizing the class reunion also happens to be one of the friends that ditched me. She contacted me via facebook and asked for my address to send me an invitation for the reunion. I sent her my address thinking that if I decided to go at least I would have the option. Apparently, by doing so, I inadvertently R.S.V.P’d even though I only sent her my address and nothing else. When the invitation arrived in the mail today, already on it was that I had selected that two were attending. Even if I were to go, I’d never force DH to go, and it’s definitely not on his list to meet those that made my h.s. experience hell.

My question is if I decide not to go, how do I tactfully decline the already written in R.S.V.P. as there is no number on the invite to contact? And if I do decide to go and the conversation inevitably steers towards the “awesome senior year” how do I react if I’m asked about my senior year experience? Any advice would be appreciated on how to handle either of the situations and not come off behaving as though I belong in E-Hell.   0523-11

If you decide to not attend, contact the organizer via Facebook and politely decline the invitation.  “I am sorry but I am unable to attend the reunion this year.  Perhaps the next one!”

If you do attend, you are under no obligation to reveal the details of your personal life to anyone you don’t care to.   When asked how your senior year was,  coyly glance with affection at your husband (show that man off!), smile as if hiding a secret and say, “My senior year was positively divine.”     People don’t need to know *which* senior year you are referring to.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Peart May 25, 2011 at 5:01 am

Though this is not a etiquette answer I think since you have RSVPed (albeit unconciously – is that not an etiquette fail on their part?) you should go. Then it will seem that you always intended to go, that their behaviour then means nothing to you now. Bring your husband and show them all that you are living with a capital l – subtly of course – no etiquette fails for us! I guarantee that they will all be flocking around you and your success. High school takes on an importance that it does not have. Not that this is totally relevant but look at the episode of Friends where Monica goes on a date with the high school heartthrob. She returns and says (I paraphrase) “Remember how I wanted to go on a date with Chuck in High school, when tonight I went on a date with Chuck in high school.” The point being she had moved on and up and he was still living the high school life! Go with your head high – you are not in High school anymore but a mature woman – with a LIFE!!

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josie May 25, 2011 at 5:22 am

I have found that classmates tend to mellow a bit as the years go by. Hopefully they have matured to the point that they don’t need to endlessly go on and on and on about their teenage partying. Surely someone went to college/got a job/ had children/have traveled/wrote a book/anything. Go and show that you have become a class act. The organizer seems a tad unorganized…no contact info?

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karma May 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

Well, it sounds as if you don’t really want to attend in the first place. If you are already worrying about what to say and to whom, this sounds like an event you’d be happier skipping. Why not go out with your spouse to a nice dinner instead?

Meanwhile, if there is a way to mail the RSVP back, simply correct what was written to read “regrets, we will not be attending” and mail it back.

I have avoided both of my high school reunions. I had a senior year similar to yours in terms of all work, no party (My parents would have killed me dead if I’d consumed alcohol!). I don’t regret avoiding mine. The handful of folks I really liked and vice versa—we keep up on facebook. No need to see the other knuckleheads. LOL

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MellowedOne May 25, 2011 at 6:09 am

At my 20-year reunion, I was looking forward to seeing people I shared my high school years with…sort of a general curiosity if you will. These individuals had never been a part of my ‘after school hours life’, but I did share a good portion of my days with them and was probably about the friendliest person in school LOL.

At the reunion, I wanted to do one specific thing however…confront the only person I absolutely could not stand in high school. As BG, one has to know that I got along with everyone, regardless cliques–that’s how unusual this ongoing ‘thing’ was.

At my reunion, however, I wanted a confrontation of a different sort–a friendly one. When she showed up, I walked up to her and with a big smile on my face said, ‘Remember me? I’m the girl you hated in high school!’ She laughed and we hugged. And that was that :) The years of high school drama forgotten in an instant.

People change as they grow older–quite often life experience and time mellow one out. We all have some measure of hindsight where we wish we could ‘do over’ certain events. It’s quite possible those who have caused you pain are now mature adults who regret acting foolishly in their younger years.

OP: Think about why you really want to attend. If you’re hopeful your classmates have changed for the better, go and check it out. If they have, they will most certainly not bring up the past, unless it is to apologize or make peace. If for whatever reason you don’t want to go, contact the event organizer via FB ASAP with your regrets. Personally I would say, “I received the written invitation to our reunion, however, I think I misunderstood your FB note. The invitation appears to show myself and a guest as attending, and unfortunately I will not be able to make it. Thank you very much for the invitation though, and best wishes for a great reunion!”

A side note…reunions can be a letdown in other ways other than high school mistreatment. It was painful to watch my classmates get soused out of their minds as the evening progressed. And to me…what was worst of all..is that those that arranged the event did not invite most of the senior class due to racial prejudices. If I had known that, I would not have bothered to attend.

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DGS May 25, 2011 at 6:20 am

Ditto what Admin said, but I would encourage you to go. High school was ages ago, and hopefully, folks have mellowed out and matured since, and it might be a fun evening out for you and DH. As they say, “the best revenge is living well”. And if you decide not to go, dress up to the nines and go do something fabulous with your DH that night, anyway!

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Typo Tat May 25, 2011 at 6:30 am

This will probably be the unpopular opinion, but I say – don’t go. Don’t try to RSVP, either. Why would you bother?

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--Lia May 25, 2011 at 7:00 am

If you have a strong gut reaction that you don’t want to go, then contact the person who contacted you through facebook. Just say you won’t be able to make it, and leave it at that. It might help if you remember that having someone assume that you’ve RSVPed in the affirmative is a faux pas in itself. I’d guess that the assumed yes is a product of facebook, the new technologies, and the difficulty in planning any sort of large party when you don’t know the guests well. It wouldn’t seem like finding people, getting contact info, issuing invitations, and keeping track of who said what would be a big deal, but it does take a bit of organizing, and mistakes are bound to happen.

But I would urge you to go if your reaction is anything less than a strong gut no. Make sure that your transportation is arranged so you can make an early exit if you if you feel a need to. Don’t rely on someone to give you a lift, and don’t park in a place where you can be blocked in.

One rule of graciousness is to assume the best unless there’s clear evidence to the contrary. People change a lot in 10 years. Some of the old crowd may be aware that they were idiots in highschool and genuinely want to get to know you again after all this time. You probably won’t get a formal apology, but if you get kind interest in what you’re doing now, that should be enough. And if some of them are still idiots and want to give you a chance to get drunk and party, see the above about making an early exit. You may be different, but for me, just seeing them make fools of themselves would be worth the price of admission.

When asked about your senior year, say that you liked biology but had a hard time with French (or some comment about subjects that’s true). Tell about your memories of your part time job, and give some funny story about a customer. Wonder what happened to a favorite teacher you’ve lost touch with. Remember something that’s changed about your home town, a coffee shop that’s gone out of business, or a new shopping center. Talk about how today’s students differ from those of 10 years ago. There should be no end of safe topics that have nothing to do with the social scene.

Naturally you don’t force your husband to go if he doesn’t want to, but encourage him to go because he might get a kick out of seeing the people he’s heard about. If they’re successful nice people, great! you get to connect with people who have changed and deserve a 2nd chance. If they’re alcoholics still stuck in that ridiculous highschool mode, great! you get to go home together and gloat privately. Chances are there will be a lot of grey area in between. Either way, you can’t lose.

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OP May 25, 2011 at 7:13 am

OP here and I just want to thank everyone for their advice on this situation. And, no there was no return mailing address on the invite so I have no way of mailing it back to whomever sent it. I was just worried that declining on FB (should I chose not to go) would be extremely rude. Again, thank you everyone; you have no idea how much you have helped me get things straight in my head.

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Margaret May 25, 2011 at 7:14 am

My 40th was two years ago. DH and I had just moved back to my home town. While I have connected with some of the people whom I liked, I didn’t go to the reunion. There were way too many people I just didn’t want to see and didn’t want to pay money to see them. I’m not sorry.

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boxy May 25, 2011 at 7:15 am

I went to my 10 year reunion and the people who tormented me in high school were still jerks. I hadn’t seen a single one of them since graduation, I’d gotten married to a wonderful man, moved out of state but the minute they saw me walk through the door it was like time warping back 10 years. It was just so stupid and they made the same remarks they had made years ago!

When the 20th reunion rolled around I just laughed. There is absolutely nothing that would be worth my time or effort to return to.

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The Elf May 25, 2011 at 7:16 am

I debated whether to go to my 10th too. My story is slightly different – my few friends were still my friends all through school but many other students bullied me. They bullied my friends too. We were the whole bottom social strata. In fact, it was not I that got the invitation, but my husband, who was more popular than I was in school (and was, notably, NOT among my tormentors). I would be the “and guest”, even though it would be my 10th reunion too. In the end, I decided not to go because while I would enjoy the best revenge of living well (especially having already heard through the grapevine that some of my tormentors were not living well and would be there), what I would really want would be an apology. I doubt that would be forthcoming, or even that they’d see the need for one, and it would be rude to try to force one at what should be a happy occassion.

Besides, it was an $80/person cover at a place I don’t particularly enjoy. I can think of better places to drop $160.

If you can let it go, then go to the reunion and enjoy it. Maybe you can reminisce about freshman and sophomore years. But if you don’t think you can let it go, then politely decline and leave it at that. BTW, the idea of RSVP by simply sending your address is total BS. Decline by contacting the person who contacted you.

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Teapot May 25, 2011 at 7:47 am

You did not indicate your intention to attend. If the planners don’t know how RSVPs work, it’s their problem. You’re under absolutely no obligation to attend. And I really think you don’t want to go. I wouldn’t even consider you a candidate for E-Hell, so don’t nominate yourself.

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SHOEGAL May 25, 2011 at 7:50 am

Why does everyone want to go back and relive those particular 4 years? Life is filled with 4 years that are centered around particular friends and activities and ultimately – things change, people move on and life resumes. This will happen continuously – over and over and over again. I don’t have any desire to meet up and chat with people I barely know now.

I once ran into a woman who went to my high school at a party a friend of mine was giving. She wasn’t in my class but went a couple years before or after I did – I’m sure which. She asked me if I knew this person or that person and told me about people she spoke with recently and what they were doing. She seemed overly concerned with their lives and I could not understand why. I could have cared less. They have nothing to do with me – and the friend I wanted to remain in touch with – I am still good friends with today.

I say you don’t need to go there – whatever for?? You don’t need to lend yourself to an evening that you had no intention of attending anyway or put yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or need to gloss over because of bad memories. You don’t owe these people anything.

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J's Mama May 25, 2011 at 8:09 am

I agree with the admin, if you decide not to go, just politely decline. No other explanation is needed. If you do decide to go, you might find alot of people who made your years hell have grown up alot since then. You might even find that there are old friends who may want to clear the air with you. It’s up to you.

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admin May 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

I do want to add that people can and do change as they grow older. There was a girl who tormented me in middle school and made my life a living hell. But she changed as she grew up and years later after a reunion, we became friends and still keep in contact via Facebook. Writing off people forever for stupid, immature behavior is shortsighted and fails to extend to them the grace to see beyond childhood to see who they have become as adults. God help us if everyone kept judging us for how we were as pimply faced, hormone imbalanced, socially awkward, underaged kids well into our adulthood.

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M.Amanda May 25, 2011 at 8:10 am

I was in a similar position a few years ago. Ten years had made a huge difference in who I was and how much the way I was treated then actually hurt me. I realized that most of those people had probably grown and maybe regretted their behavior back then, but the fact remained that I did not have any fond memories of those people. I now surround myself with people who have similar interests and values. There was no need to reach out and reminisce or reconnect. If I’d gone, it would have been out of unhealthy desire to see how far the mighty had fallen. I RSVP’d my regrets, but didn’t actually regret it at all.

As for the accidental RSVP, send a message either way. Then there will be no confusion. You’re either confirming, “Yes, that is correct, my spouse and I will both be attending,” or correcting, “Sorry, no, we cannot attend, but thanks for the invitation. Please correct your count.” That might also clue in the organizer that she should really wait for a response rather than assume volunteering your address means you and your spouse will definitely attend. I can only imagine the mess if she did that to every classmate and it turned out many of them couldn’t make it and didn’t think to correct her assumption.

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Aje May 25, 2011 at 8:24 am

I have the same opinion as some of the other posters- everyone I want to be in contact with, I am in contact with, through facebook or some other form of technology.

Don’t go because you feel you have to. If you don’t want to go, then don’t. Just politely decline the invitation. At this point, it sounds as though you have little reason to go anyway… and life has only improved for you.

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Bint May 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

I agree with TypoTat. You don’t want to go. Your husband doesn’t want to go. You didn’t want to RSVP and only did so unwittingly.

Honestly, don’t go! Why waste an evening with people you knew over a decade ago and didn’t like much then? Surely you have better things to do with your time?

As for the ‘show them how you’ve moved on’ suggestions…going to the reunion showing off your husband would suggest you haven’t moved on and still value their opinion, whereas you clearly don’t. I’ve moved on from HS, which is why I’ve no interest in going to a reunion. The vast majority are like strangers now, and I just don’t care what they’re up to or what they think of me.

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jan May 25, 2011 at 8:47 am

I have not attended any of my high school reunions and there were about 5 of them (every 5 years).
I have not regretted missing the reunions. I have not had any contact with anyone from my classes, including my s0-called best friends, since the first reunion. I haven’t missed them at all. We’ve changed.
If we get to vote, I vote don’t go. If you are easy enough to find on facebook, the people that want to find you will. Otherwise, why worry about it?

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Lynne May 25, 2011 at 8:49 am

Typo Tat — Why bother? As others have already stated, most of these folks will hopefully no longer be carrying their high-school mindsets, and it is always rude to fail to show up, without notification, when you are expected at a social event. Even though they are expecting her to attend solely because of miscommunication/lack-of-understanding on the part of the organizer, it does not mean that she shouldn’t clarify the situation. Past unkindness should not be repaid 10 years later with rudeness.

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Abbie May 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

I have to agree with Typo Tat. Don’t bother going. I also attended a very small rural highschool. The more popular activities were drinking, sexual intercourse, and attending Church on Sunday mornings (yes, you read that correctly and anyone from a small town can confirm there is often rampant hypocrisy) My family does not practice an organized religion or spiritual path. Plus I was dying my hair purple (thank you, mom, for driving me to the closest city for punky color.), wearing black nail polish (back when you had to buy it in Oct in bulk!), and was quite out of place. Still, I did have a few friends. The closest city experienced a massive tax-base flight into our state and small town my senior year. I was happy to start meeting kids with music tastes a bit more like mine, but our building became so crowded that the administrators decided that about a dozen of us “good” seniors (good gpa’s, no discpline issues, advanced course takers) would be allowed to leave school for the day at 11 am. We were so overcrowded that as a senior, unless you needed a class to graduate, you were given study hall. I had ONE real class on my schedule, due to crowding. So I enrolled in the closest city’s community college. I left highschool every morning, drove for a while, and then took afternoon and evening college classes. I loved it! I was able to meet people that were a bit more wordly than our little town of Church, country music, and marriage at 17.
Fast forward, that little town of cow pastures was listed for several years as the fastest growing town in America thanks to the flight from the closest city. Eventually I opened my own business in the city but opted to live in tiny town after a few years living in the city (& discovering first hand why my little town had become so popular.) I moved back to tiny town. Most of my peers I went to school with do not recognize me, except for I still wear a lot of black…Just black business suites now. I sometimes encounter people I went to school with at the grocery store. The conversations usually make me reconsider living in this part of the country all together. There is no rule that says you have to go (YOU did not RSVP, so I do not feel that rule sticks here). Get dressed up and go out to dinner with your man. Highschool was pretty awful for me and I do not regret skipping my reunions. Sure, time changes people, and I’ve mellowed and matured. I’m sure some of the girls who said extremely cruel things at my expense because I marched to a different drummer. The group of a few girls that were the meanest to me all have daughters now. I always wonder if one of their kids will be a “weird one” and I hope that they can soothe the cruelty other children can give as well and lovingly as my mother did back then. Still, I have zero desire to stand around in a room with these people drinking all night that I didn’t like back then, barely saw my senior year, and avoid at the grocery. Get dressed up and go out on a date with your husband. The great thing about no longer being a kid is you don’t have to write in cursive and you can spend your time how you want to spend it….why re visit something that didn’t add much to your life in the fist place? (unless you just really want the practice of how to extract yourself from awkward conversations politely.)

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many bells down May 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

I was a late bloomer. In high school I was all giant baggy shirts, frizzy hair, and skinny legs. At my 10-year reunion, the guys that made my life miserable in high school were begging me for dances. I reminded one of them how much he’d harassed me in high school – and he looked at me surprised. He didn’t remember any of it.

I still don’t really “get” why people want to revisit high school every 5 or 10 years for the rest of their lives (I went to satisfy my morbid curiosity more than anything), but remember that your memories of these people are going to be of them as they were 10 years ago. I know that *I’m* almost 40, but in my head the people I haven’t seen since high school are still 18.

This summer is my 20-year, and I’m going for the last time to see a few people I’ve reconnected with recently.

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Joe J May 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

If you truly dread meeting these people and have no wish to renew contact with any of them, just do as suggested and reply that you won’t be attending after all, so sorry. Because if they were lousy to you and you think their personalities haven’t changed much since then, then pooh-pooh to the lot of them – who cares what they’d think about you not attending?

I will say, though, that I was in a similar situation with my high school class. It was our ten-year reunion and my class was pretty small (a hair over 60 students). I was dreading going since I didn’t have fond memories of HS, but I decided that I would be “one and done” with the reunions and that was it. I don’t regret going, and in fact it was actually quite interesting. Not only did I touch base with some friends I hadn’t seen in years, I found that some kids I hadn’t really socialized with, or outright hated, had grown into pleasant, friendly people (of course, I’m sure I wasn’t sunshine and rainbow dust back then either). It’s really interesting to meet up with people you knew as kids and thinking that, if you had to do it over again, you’d have liked to be friends with some of them, after all.

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Chocobo May 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

I agree — most people tend to mellow out as they become adults. Even when I left high school and went to a college where many of my other high school classmates went, the social barriers broke down and I was invited (although I declined) out by people whom had roundly excluded and mocked me during my formative years. Ten years, to be sure, would make an even bigger difference.

It might be closure for you after all these years to go. If not, well, you can at least see what has happened to all these people and that might give you some closure (and perhaps some satisfaction) too. I would recommend going with your hubby though, both for support and also to show him off — look at how well you have done!

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Sarah Jane May 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

I don’t know how other class reunions work, but the ones I’ve attended required the purchasing of tickets or the contribution of money before an RSVP in the positive is considered valid.

I have a policy that I’ve adhered to for a number if years: Never hold anyone accountable for anything they did before they were eighteen. People grow up, they learn life lessons, and hopefully, most of them become better people.

I just attended my twentieth class reunion. (High school had not been a picnic for me, either…I was shy, serious, and not one of the popular ones.). However, I got dolled up in my finest and brought my awesome fiancé with me. It was wonderful. People have had kids, worked hard, recovered from serious illness, and many have accomplished some remarkable things…most of all, maturity. People seemed happy to see me, and I was happy to be there. We spent a lot of time talking about our families and careers, very little about “the good old days.”

I would encourage you to go, even if you only stop by for a few minutes before a hot date with your husband. You might end up staying longer than you expected.

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IzzyforRealz May 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

My friends and I plan to organize our own reunion separate from the school’s. There are FAR too many people that I really don’t care to see for me to bother going to my reunions. I’ve kept in touch with my high school group on facebook and we can have fun all by our selves.

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Bint May 25, 2011 at 9:44 am

“Writing off people forever for stupid, immature behavior is shortsighted”

I don’t see it as writing them off. I simply see it as I have wonderful friends in my life already and I don’t care what total strangers are like now.

HS is over. Move on.

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lkb May 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

I’m going through a similar situation right now, sort of — awaiting formal invitations to my 30th. (I’m the one on the forum who was sent an email with the impertinent “explain yourself” from one of the organizers when I posted something about the reunion inadvertently incorrectly on facebook).

IMHO, it would be kind if the OP somehow contacted the organizers (apparently through facebook) that she and her husband would not be attending, if that’s what she ultimately decides. That’s just common courtesy.

If she decides to go, either plan to bean dip about the senior year questions or, well, rehearse a gracious way to answer the questions truthfully (depending on the background circumstances). “I guess we just drifted apart senior year as I had to really concentrate on work and my studies.” If they bring up the partying or tease her about it, I think the OP has every right to tell the truth though. “Excuse me, but I still don’t understand why it seems like everyone including you ditched me. It was a very tough time of my life and I’ve had a hard time forgetting it.”
(Quite honestly, chances are strong that the issue won’t come up unless OP brings it up herself, which of course depends on the specific circumstances.)

For those who have never been among the bullied, read “Please Stop Laughing at Me” and/or “Please Stop Laughing at Us” by Jodee Blanco. Her experiences were slightly (but only slightly) worse than what I went through. Those high school years can be brutal and the scars don’t necessarily go away. Ever.

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The Elf May 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

Admin, I agree that people do change, but….. I’d still want that apology to show me that they recognize how hurtful they were and that they have changed. The funny thing is that I bet they didn’t realize how cruel they were; we all color our memories to our advantage and I’m sure they just saw it as harmless fun. Perhaps I’m just too cynical, but I’d rather spend my time meeting new people and establishing relationships with them than attempting to repair old, bad relationships. I wouldn’t treat my former tormentors poorly should we meet, but I have no desire to seek out their company.

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Hemi Halliwell May 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

I agree with many of the posts- you should think about why and if you really want to go. Some people do change and mature as they grow older; some do not. Should you choose to go and subjects that you prefer not to talk about keep coming up, you could always leave early.
I moved at the end of my junior year. I would love to be able to go back and see all the people at my “former” high school, just to see if they have changed.
Good luck with whatever decision you make!

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AS May 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

I was one of those people in high school who was disliked by most people. A big part of it was my own fault. As years went by, I took responsibility for my actions, and changed the parts of me that was despicable. I also learnt to accept who I am, and not change myself just to please people. I had started changing in college days, and ended up winning any post in the college’s student’s counsel that I contested for.
I am in regular contact with my high school friends. I don’t know what they think of me, but the animosity that was evident in high school days has mellowed down. As other posters and admin said, your friends have probably mellowed down, and it might be good to meet them and burry the past. If you find that they are still like they were in your senior year, you can then cut them off as being too immature. But otherwise, it might not be a bad experience, and who knows? You might end up being friends once again.

I find the automatic RSVP to be weird though. You can get the address of people to send invitations. I don’t think sending the address does not entail an automatic RSVP. If the OP does not want to go, as the admin said, maybe sending a facebook message might be good.

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Ashley May 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

People can change as they get older, so don’t be too quick to ditch this event! I was the quiet nerdy girl in school. Never got any attention from boys unless they wanted to copy my homework, got picked on by girls unless they wanted to copy my homework. Stayed in on the weekends with my close group of friends, and if you needed to find me at school during an off hour or the free period of lunch, I was usually in the library with my noise in a book. I graduated six years ago, and I live in a smallish town where even if you move somewhere else after graduation, you come back to visit often. So I see a lot of the people I graduated with around town. Occasionally we end up chit chatting. A lot of the girls are really nice now and have even apologized directly for any hell they gave me in school. And the guys have obviously shifted gears about what they want from a woman because I can sit and chit chat about video games and other nerdy things and they wind up asking me out. I am happily engaged to one of the guys who stuck by me and was a true friend from second grade onward, but I must admit it is slightly interesting when the same things that got me shunned by boys in high school are suddenly in high demand out here in the real world. I don’t think I am going to my reunion simply because of how often I see these people around town, but my point remains the same. People change. A handful of people will have held onto the same old high school drama, but the rest of them will hopefully have matured into wonderful people you might actually want to call friends. It may be well worth going, you never know…

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--E May 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

It sounds very much as if you don’t want to go. You’re a grown-up. You’re in charge of your life. You are under no obligation whatsoever to attend this thing. A gracious “I can’t make it” message to the organizer is a favor to her, after the way she ambushed you. If you want to take the high road and send that message, that is good. (If you choose not to, I don’t think you’ll have done anything wrong.)

Go if you want; don’t go if you don’t want. You don’t owe anyone anything. It might be interesting; it might be appalling. It will be like any other gathering of 28-year-olds.

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Nicole May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am

10 year reunions are not so far removed from high school to change much. If you don’t feel like going, don’t. It is not rude to express your regrets on Facebook since you have no other way of doing it. If you decide not to go, I hope you will reconsider by your 20th reunion. I was amazed at the difference! We were all adults and had gone through marriage, divorce, children, widowhood, employment and unemployment. Only a few had still hung onto their high school personas and they were the uninteresting ones.

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lkb May 25, 2011 at 11:30 am

For those who wonder why those of us who were the outcasts would even want to go to a reunion. For me (hopeless romantic that I am), I rather unrealistically dream of my Cinderella moment: That I could go and people would realize how far I’ve come. The ugly duckling has indeed become a swan. I’m no supermodel but I’ve done okay for myself.

There’s also a part of me that wants to go to give my tormentors a chance to apologize. However, I realize now, thanks to extensive reading on the whole bullying issue that our tormentors often don’t realize how much pain they caused. “I was just kidding…” I also realize they were probably going through their own private h— at home or elsewhere and I happened to be the convenient target for them. (I’m not excusing them but I think I understand somewhat. Just a little.)

Still, I dream of someday someone saying, “Gee, LKB, I’m so sorry. That guy lit your hair on fire and we did nothing…” I don’t think it will happen though, unless I choose to do something drastic, such as alluding to it in the reunion booklet. Not sure I have the guts though, or the ability to write it without being inflammatory.

Sorry this is long, just a peek at how one of the bullied feels after so many years.

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Xtina May 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Count me among the ones who say that people can and do often change. I was the quiet, shy girl that never had a social life and wasn’t popular, and was picked on. I “grew into myself” through college and learned confidence, and decided to attend my ten-year reunion mostly out of curiosity (like others have said, I kept in contact with friends from HS, so there wasn’t anyone I was looking to reconnect with). I had a good time, and people (including my tormentors) sought me out to speak (kindly) to me, and I enjoyed getting to know a few classmates that I never knew well in school. There were a couple of girls who were still petty and snobby, but I only laughed at how small-minded they were and moved on.

I point-blank told a guy I’d had a crush on, who wouldn’t give me the time of day when we were in school, how much I liked him back then and how he wouldn’t even look at me then; he acted very shocked, and followed me around most of the rest of the evening trying to interest me in a date. haha. Not an issue because I was married, but funny how things turn out.

There have been other reunions since then, but I don’t feel the need to attend again, although it’s not completely off the table, either. I think it’s worth going to one reunion just to see how people have matured (or not).

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Xtina May 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Oh–meant to add (before I got carried away talking about my experience at my reunion) that the OP should not feel bad about not attending, and technically, does not owe the organizer an RSVP since she didn’t actually receive an invitation, only supplied an address. However, it would be a good thing to take the high road and set an example to the extremely disorganized organizer and reach her via Facebook to say that you won’t be attending (if you choose that route).

If the OP does go and people ask what she did in high school–tell the truth. “Oh, you know, I spent most of my senior year working–practicing early for real life, haha!”. If anyone is ugly or snotty to the OP, handle them with tact and grace but don’t back down or allow them to make you feel belittled. However, I would think that with the exception of perhaps a few people, as others and our admin have pointed out–a few years of maturity and life in the real world smartens most people up.

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Library Diva May 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I attended my 10th. My HS experience was just OK, I remember lots of ups, lots of downs, good times with friends, and getting bullied by jerks. I wanted to go because I felt that for better or for worse, those people that I knew during my first 18 years had shaped me and I wanted to see what became of them.

But honestly, what a let-down. It reminded me of one aspect of my HS career that I’d forgotten: I never clicked with anyone in my own class. My friends were always either older or younger. The people in my class had been boring in HS, and continued to be boring at the reunion.

To the OP: I think this invite thing was likely an honest mixup, she probably had you confused with someone else who had immediately RSVPed in the positive. If you don’t want to go, just contact her via Facebook and straighten out the mixup. It’s not a big deal. I agree with others that you may be pleasantly surprised. For all you know, these folks could have spent the past ten years regretting their foolish decision to turn their backs on a decade-long friendship to drink and screw around. The conversation may or may not turn to your awesome senior year; if it does, you can just handle it with grace, talk about an aspect of it that WAS awesome for you, or change the subject.

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Gloria Shiner May 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I wonder if anyone had as great a time in high school as we think they did? Sure seems to be a lot of angst and unhappiness surrounding the memories of it!

My reunions were held at places that had good bands and great food. My 10th was somewhat overwhelming – I hadn’t even thought about most of those people in the intervening years. But my husband had a great time watching all the drama and taking pictures. The 20th was fun because I reconnected with some old friends.

If you go and it looks like it won’t be fun, just leave!

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Emily May 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I already know that I will not attend any of my high school reunions and I only graduated last year. I went to a small one where I knew my whole class but when I had to transfer my friends didn’t want to keep in touch and since I didn’t graduate from there I won’t be invited even though I went there for three years. My other high school was huge and I graduated with a class of 600 and I had a small group of friends there and most of them dumped my after graduation. I just wanted to get through school and move on my life.

Go if you want to see people and catch up with old classmates, don’t go because the assumed rsvp.

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DGS May 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I am so sorry to read about so many miserable high school experiences of so many folks on here. I guess, I’m fortunate in that high school was neither the proverbial best time of my life nor the worst four years of my life – it had its ups and downs, and while I was by no means the queen bee, I got along very well with most of my classmates, participated in a lot of activities and did well in school, but I have never looked upon it as a seminal life experience. It was fine, and we have all hopefully, moved on since then. I am truly sorry that there were horrible people out there who made so many of you feel like you were less than, and I hope that some of those wounds have healed with time.

I think that many people enjoy reunions because they are a chance to reminesce (which is probably, more relevant as one becomes significantly older), because they are a chance to gossip and for many, to feel justice had been served in that they had become more confident and more successful than their peers (which is probably, more significant for those who were tormented by their peers), and because for some, they are simply an excuse for a fancy night on the town. I agree with those who have said that if they wouldn’t want to socialize with their classmates, the right thing to do is not to go -if you wouldn’t want to spend time with any of these folks, don’t. However, I’m a firm believer that most healthy people do grow up, mature and mellow out, so hopefully, if you are one of those that decides to go, you can have a great time, reconnect with some good people, have a wonderful time dancing with your DS(pouse) and not worry too much about those few who hadn’t grown up and still act like brats.

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Elizabeth May 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Send a message through Facebook that says, “I’m sorry, when I sent you my address for the invitation, I didn’t mean to confirm that I’d definitely be attending! Joe and I are not going to be able to make it this year. I hope you guys have a great event!”

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January Girl May 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

If you do decide to go, I would suggest a back up plan.

If you go and realize “whoa, huge mistake!”…I would simply say that you have famil or friends in town/another party that same night. Quietly bow out with that ‘reason’ and go have a great time with your DH.

As I’ve alway said, no point in wasting a good dress and makeup on fools!

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Stepmomster May 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

My advice, go because you want to, not because of obligation. Send your regards if you have to miss it, but if you go, be honest but gentle about your life and relax… all those kids were people just like you, and high schoolers usually were so self focused that as adults they tend to remember the highlights of THEIR lives, not yours. This isn’t a wedding, if you get bored/annoyed/embarrassed you can easily smile, excuse yourself and leave, and perhaps catch a nice late dinner, since you are all dressed up.

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Magicdomino May 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

It sounds like the reunion organizer is assuming that anyone who sends an address is coming, because of course everyone goes to their high school reunion, and if you weren’t interested, you wouldn’t have sent your address in the first place. And the invitation (confirmation) says two, because no one would go to their high school reunion alone. If that is the case, I wouldn’t feel bad if I emailed (Facebooked???) that unfortunately, you won’t be able to come after all.

Before you do so, though, is there any way to contact your former friend, to see if maybe she has changed? A few quick emails might be enough to give you a feel for the situation.

Like some of the other posters here, high school was the worst four years of my life, but I went to my 10th year high school reunion in hope of seeing my friends. My old friends apparently all have bad memories too, because only one of them came. She said a quick “Hello, how are you?”, then went off to dance with her very handsome husband. Everyone else was nice enough, but my life has moved on.

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Enna May 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I agree with Admin: there is no way to send the invite back with your answer contact over FB is fine, whether you dicide to go or not. You don’t have an option to contact the organiser and not use FB as there are no other contact details. If High School was really really bad, e.g.bullying that was really bad then I’d say don’t go. For me personally I would be too curious not to go I would have to go and see what others had made for themselves. It can be difficult when firends change and ditch you – did any of them have jobs? Did any of them study? I’m not saying it’s your fault they ditched you, but if they weren’t prepared to do things that you were interested in other then going out and getting drunk then it’s hardly surprising that you drifted from them, maybe for the better. Wonder how many of them did well at high school!

If anyone has found themselves dithced by firends and feeling left out in an educational organisation then I suggest try making firends at work or in the library etc, suggest a book group, study group, or a cinema group, ice skating, eating out/pinics etc.

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WrenskiBaby May 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm

OP, I agree with the admin’s advice.

But, personally… you and I share a few things in common regarding our last year of high school. I’ve been out of high school almost 35 years and you know what? I will never attend a reunion. I will not risk being rejected by the same group of people again.

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karma May 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I don’t understand why these two themes run through the posts encouraging her to go:

1. Show off your successful life/spouse/self.
Why? Does you need approval from them? Do you need to show them that despite their thoughts of you, you managed to make it okay? Do you need to show them “what you’ve got” that may impress them?

2. Go see if they changed and turned out nice.
Again, I ask why. Where do you think grown-up jerks come from? They are teen jerks who just got older. Yep, people don’t really change their character. Now they are just older with money and jobs. If they are polite or nice or friendly, it’s only because they’ve learned to control their jerky-ness in public.

If they’d turned out nice, they’d have looked you up long ago.

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babs May 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm

It is NOT rude to RSVP via Facebook when the clueless “organizer” didn’t give anyone a way to respond. My experience was, at our 10 year reunion, classmates were still climbing up the social ladder and checking each other out. It was a bit stiff. Our 20th was a riot. People were mostly over all of that and just glad to see each other and have a good time. Now that we’re older, class years are combined and the reunions have been moved upstate to make the location more centralized (since 90% of the people have moved away from this large city we’re from). If you feel you want to skip out of this one, do what you want to do, and don’t be pressured because you “think” you’ve RSVP’d, especially since the woman putting this shindig together needs a few etiquette lessons herself. She may have gotten some verbal responses and didn’t remember who said what to her.

I’m sure there are some that you would really enjoy seeing, should you decide to go. People do mellow with age, and as time goes on, the issues you had in high school will fade out to a distant memory. Sounds like you have a good husband and a good life, and, you know what they say… “success is the best revenge”!

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kingshearte May 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Personally, I’d be inclined to go, for closure, if nothing else. I’d be pretty surprised if any of those people had a reaction that senior year other than “Wow, were we ever idiots that year!” but if they do, then you’ll know that you really didn’t lose much when you split from them. If they have grown up, you don’t have to forgive and forget the way they treated you then, but you were friends with them once, presumably for a reason, and maybe in some cases, the reason’s still there.

On the other hand, if you truly have no interest in seeing any of these people again, finding out what they’ve been up to, whether or not they’ve morphed back into human beings, etc., then don’t go. You don’t owe them anything.

Ultimately, whatever you decide, decide it for you and you alone.

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Jade May 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I had misgivings about attending my own high school reunion a few years ago, but in the main I am glad I made the effort. Of course not everyone had grown and matured as I had, some were still stuck in that same old routine, but on the whole my former classmates surprised me. Boys who had made my life difficult in high school made a point of coming up and initiating conversations with me (and not one of them tried to stuff me into a locker – Bonus!)

Maybe some of the people at your reunion will still be the same, but you’ll find that most people view them with pity – poor so-and-so who never made anything of themselves. If you go, go with an open mind and you might be surprised and delighted by what you find.

And as I said to my friend when she was fretting about going with me – ‘If we get there and it’s awful we’ll just leave them to it and nick off to the pub!’

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