15 Helpful Tips Before Your High School Reunion

I’ll start out by confessing that I really didn’t want to attend my high school reunion.



Why didn’t I want to attend my high school reunion?

There were several reasons…

I didn’t really want to pay to see people that I haven’t kept in contact with in years.

I thought that if we hadn’t stayed in contact at this point, why bother?

I don’t mean that in a cold way, but typically you stay in contact with who you want to after high school and move on.

I wasn’t super smart.

I wasn’t a troublemaker.

I was just kind of average in high school.

I pretty much got along with everyone but I never really felt comfortable in my own skin in high school.

…I’m not sure if anyone ever really does.

I had friends in high school, but I also had other close friendships with students from other schools.

I think this made it so that I never really knew where I fit in clique-wise because I never fully focused only on relationships from my high school.

I also wasn’t the girl that all of the guys wanted to date…but I did watch them date my friends, which made me an honorary member of the “My Mom Says I’m Pretty” Club.

I honestly couldn’t wait for high school to be over.

I just wanted a fresh start.


Why did I go to my high school reunion?

My oldest high school friend convinced/nagged me to go to the reunion.

I’ve been friends with her my WHOLE life.

Not many people can say that, but our moms were both pregnant at the same time and we were next-door neighbors.

Even though we were opposites in many ways, we’ve still stayed in touch our whole lives.

I signed up for my high school reunion on the very last day to sign up because I’m a procrastinator/deadline person and I still wanted to keep my options open.

So I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong in my attitude and perspective.

Tips for Attending Your High School Reunion

So after attending my 20th high school reunion, I have some tips to share.


1. Eat Before You Go to Your High School Reunion

Our reunion served appetizer-style foods.

It’s awkward to have a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in 20 years while eating hot wings or when you’re super hungry scarfing down food.

I only ate a few meatballs and one bite of a finger sandwich…and I was so hungry after!

Eat before!

2. Wear Comfortable Shoes to Your High School Reunion

Depending on the environment of your reunion, you will probably not sit down a lot.

I didn’t sit down the whole night, so comfortable shoes are important.

Ladies, you can’t go wrong with wedges.

3. What to Wear to Your High School Reunion

When deciding on what to wear to your high school reunion, opt to wear something that you tend to get complimented on every time you wear it, that isn’t super trendy.

Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. You probably have a specific color or a shirt, dress, etc., that is one of your go-to wardrobe staples.

When you look good, you feel good.

Also, you need to get over it if you didn’t achieve perfect abs, your ideal weight, perfect hair, perfect life, etc. before the reunion.

No one really cares that much and don’t let your insecurities keep you from the opportunity to enjoy the night.

I don’t remember people’s clothing sizes from that night, but I do remember how they made me feel.

We’ve all met beautiful people whose words or actions have made them less attractive and average people whose words or actions that have made them more beautiful.

Beauty starts on the inside.

4. Have a Wingman at Your High School Reunion

I showed up with my oldest high school friend.

My husband went to high school in Michigan so we decided that it would be more fun to go with a friend and less awkward for him to not know many people there.

You have to decide if you want to bring that special someone with you and whether that person might feel ignored all night or not.

I think that everyone is a little nervous or anxious about how the night will go.

It’s a lot easier if you have someone by your side. I will note that I didn’t see my “wingman” until the end of the evening after we got there because we were both talking to different people throughout the night.

5. The High School Reunion Experience Is a Bit Like Speed Dating

You will talk A LOT.

It’s also like a bunch of interrupted mini-conversations.

I felt like I was starting to lose my voice toward the end of the night.

It’s also a lot easier to transition to talking to someone else if you are standing up vs. sitting down.

6. Facebook is a Bit of a Spoiler Alert for Your High School Reunion

My reunion wasn’t super dramatic with transformations because I’m friends with a good portion of people from high school on Facebook.

Facebook knowledge made it easier for conversations as a point of reference because I had a general idea of what they had been up to or if they had kids.

I will also note that I feel like I’ve interacted with a lot of people on Facebook more than I ever did in high school, in a good way.

7. Take the Tour of Your Old High School If You Can

Our high school reunion had a tour set up which gave us the opportunity to reconnect with a few people ahead of time. It was also a good reminder that all of my memories of high school really weren’t bad.

8. A Lot of Beautiful People From High School Are Still Beautiful

It is what it is.

They aged really well, but overall I felt like everyone aged really well.

I also discovered and confirmed that I definitely peaked after high school based on the reactions that I received about how I looked.

I’m ok with that.

I felt WAY cuter in college than in high school anyway.


9. When They Ask You to Submit Pictures From High School for Your High School Reunion, DO IT!

Otherwise, you might discover that your only picture on the photo board at the high school reunion is from when you portrayed a prostitute in the play “Guys and Dolls” your senior year.

Nice scrunchie and dress right?

10. Make Your Decision About Drinking at Your High School Reunion Before You Go

Do you plan on having more than a few drinks at your high school reunion?

Make sure that you have a designated driver set up ahead of time.

When in doubt, Uber home if you need to.

There will also most likely be an after-party at a local bar so again, try to have your ride situation handled ahead of time.

It’s not worth an accident or a DUI.

Also, keep in mind that you haven’t seen a lot of these people in 20 years and that evening will also be their last impression of you for a while too.

The effects of a few drinks can happen quicker than you realize and you don’t want any regrets…especially decisions or actions that could hurt or question your current relationships.

11. Talk to Everyone at Your High School Reunion

Who cares what their social status was in high school!

Are they a nice person?

Do they treat people with respect?

Are they friendly, kind?

Awesome, then great to see you!

We’re not in high school anymore, so cross-clique lines and you might discover that you missed out on getting to know some really amazing people in high school.

We also tend to give grace to ourselves that we’ve changed but forever remember people for how they were in high school ..good or bad.

Extend and give grace.

You’ve changed and so has everyone else.

We’re all on a journey and no one has gone through life without some bumps in the road.

We’ve all made mistakes and authenticity is actually really refreshing.

12. Thank Your High School Reunion Organizers

They put A LOT of hours into contacting everyone, setting up the venue, taking payments, and all of the little touches during the event from music to photo boards to party favors to make the evening special.

13. Ask People to Tag You if They Take Pics at Your High School Reunion…Unless They’re Unflattering

I didn’t take pictures at my high school reunion which is really weird because I take pictures of EVERYTHING – ALL. THE. TIME.

Honestly, it would have felt odd in many of the moments of conversation with someone I hadn’t seen in years, to ask to pause to take a picture.

I’m also not adding group pictures from my high school reunion in this post because I want to be respectful of everyone’s privacy.

14. Reconnect With Those Friendships That Have Lost Touch After Your High School Reunion

I realized that there were a lot of people that I missed, that I didn’t know that I missed.

Our class has already lost 7 people!

Too many, too soon. Life goes by so fast.

Don’t miss your opportunity to see people that you might not see again.

Also, intentionally follow up on those friendships that you really want to reconnect with.

Don’t let another 20 years pass by.

My takeaway from the reunion was that it REALLY was good to see everyone. That’s something that I kept on saying throughout the night.

15. If You’re an Introvert, Ask a Lot of Questions

I’m a bit of an introverted extravert. I love people, but they also can drain my energy. I need alone time to recharge and I totally understand that the idea of talking to people for hours can sound mentally exhausting.

To get through an awkward conversation, you just need to ask a series of open-ended questions. People LOVE to talk about themselves, so be curious about them, and it should be easy to get a conversation going.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Where do you live now?
  • What type of work are you in? Tell me more about it.
  • What’s been your favorite job since high school?
  • How did you meet your spouse/partner?
  • What do you do for fun?

Are High School Reunions Worth Going to?

Yes, it’s worth going to at least one high school reunion to connect with old classmates.

If you are on the fence about going to your high school reunion, I would encourage you to go….or at least consider it.

Your high school years don’t define you, but they do help shape you into the person you are today by how you responded to them.

You’ll be glad that you did!


8 thoughts on “15 Helpful Tips Before Your High School Reunion”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of adding where they live now on their name tag. That’s a really helpful conversation starter.

  2. I just went to my 20th. It was a small private school so under a 100 graduates but almost half came, mostly local, but some did come from out of town. Ours was offsite at a brewery; there was no A/V for the slideshow and the lighting wasn’t great to see black and white yearbooks… and it was outside and threatening to rain the whole night (but didn’t!) so keep location limits in mind. I would have liked to see the slideshow and also have music from our HS years playing, which also wasn’t happening. There were plenty of heavy apps but the plates, silverware, and napkins were hidden under things so make sure those are plentiful and in multiple areas if you want people to eat. The money for alcohol ran out (everyone had 2 drink tickets but I guess the organizers assumed more beer than wine?).
    Someone had made a “senior year memories” book when we were seniors and handed out copies; I’d still had mine so I brought it to pass around and it was a hit since there were a number of fun prompts such as “where I’ll be in 20 years..”. Someone had a poetry book from our English class that was made then and they brought it, those were nice. People brought pictures but it was hard to see them in the darkish atmosphere.
    It would have been nice to have on name tags both name and current location too as a conversation starter, maybe a couple designated photographers who get around to all areas to not have that awkward “nice to see you, ok selfie, smile!” moment minutes after seeing someone.
    Don’t give out ceramic mugs, everyone already has mugs. Maybe a picture frame? A coaster? A phone stand? Unless it’s a water bottle or insulated travel mug, then maybe. Definitely wear comfortable shoes and clothes that make you feel like your best self. people have spent more years out of high school than in it by the time a reunion rolls around; keep an open mind. Also try to think of one nice thing you remember about a person before you talk with them (if you remember them!) even if you weren’t close. You may spent 20 minutes at most with someone at a reunion so make it meaningful. Chances are they might have something good to say about you too!

  3. I think it could be worth it especially if you also make the most of traveling to the area while you are there.

  4. I haven’t been to a HS reunion yet, but our 50th class reunion will be coming up in less than 5 years. My class does have a Facebook page our Class Of 1977 reunions. I’ve visited it several times, and have even tried getting in on the posted conversations, but out of a class of 330 graduates, only 1, maybe 2 people have responded to anything I’ve commented on.; maybe 1 or 2 more on top of that have “liked” any comments I made. I would like to take my wife of 30 years to a reunion with me, but I don’t want to spend all the time and money to travel over 1000 miles to New York, only to have no one talk to me, no matter how hard I try. 2 unrelated, but trusted classmates have gone to separate previous reunions, and both have said that the reunions are basically comprised of the old cliques from high school staying to themselves. Do you think the classmates will be different if I go in person, or is the handwriting on the wall saying, “Don’t bother?”.

  5. I’m sorry that you had such a negative experience in high school. If you do decide to go I hope that some of those people have changed for the better.

  6. Idk how I feel about going 90% of them were mean to me. They’re just going to be mean to me again so why would I want to go?

  7. Appreciated this article. i have a Reunion coming up in October. A hesitation of some is that feeling of “loneliness”. The say they didnt really have a “best friend”. Not sure if they’ll be remembered.

    In some cases they know they weren’t a very nice person in high school, but now they’ve changed.

    I believe virtually all of them want to come. And I hope they do. The reality is it’s our 40th. May be a last opportunity.

    Almost everyone that does ultimately go is grateful for the experience.

  8. Thank you for these awesome tips! A group of us are planning next year’s 20th reunion and I’m looking for inspiration. I’ve been trying to find a “checklist” for these questions I’ve had, so I find this really useful! I found most of my classmates and teachers through – Check it out before your next reunion!

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