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Are high school reunions a thing of the past?

This question comes from my mom, who spent last night at her high school reunion (I’ll be nice and not say what year the reunion was for). Will social media like Facebook take away from the “surprise” of seeing everyone at reunions? How many people go just to see if someone went bald, or got fat, or got super rich, or married someone hot, or had ten million children?
It seems like some sort of vindictiveness is the motivation behind going to most reunions, since you theoretically keep in contact with most of the people you like. But now you keep in contact with everyone. You know exactly what that old bully is up to, if the captain of the football team came out of the closet, or whatever.

So, has Facebook killed the concept of the reunion? Or will us humans keep gathering in person, even with the people we don’t really like?

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Comments

  1. Jonsmitch2 says

    I’d imagine we’d keep gathering. I mean, even relatively small schools have graduating classes well over 150. There’s got to be a decent level of selection in terms of who you stay facebook friends with (i.e., there will always be a few people you no longer keep in touch with, but are still curious about).

  2. Lyz says

    I didn’t go to my 10 year reunion last year (really? 10 years?  Doesn’t feel like it!) because I’m still in touch with the people I want to be in touch with and I really didn’t get along at all with the others.  Something about drastically differing values systems, lifestyles, etc.  Would I have been more inclined to go if the internet hadn’t kept me in touch with everyone?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I also seem to recall that it was during Gen Con, which is way more important in my universe.  :)

  3. says

    God, I hope so. I loathe the idea of high school reunions. I didn’t go to mine – I had no desire to be surrounded by several hundred people I didn’t like 10 years ago.

  4. says

    I will be attending my 20 year in September.  I’m looking forward to it, mostly BECAUSE I’ve been in touch with several people through FB.  In fact, I am now friends with people I didn’t even associate with back then.  I think keeping in touch through FB helps with some of the awkwardness of reunions.  My 10 year was spent huddled up with the very few people I had been in touch with.

  5. CB says

    You’re almost there Jen! Sweet sleep awaits! I am a teensy bit older than you are, so my views about FB may be skewed. I primarily keep in touch with college friends there, rather than high school friends. Because many of us live in different parts of the country, I will most definitely be attending reunion, since keeping up with people’s posts will never replace seeing people in person.

  6. says

    I agree with the sentiments here. I went to my first two. After that, why bother. These people treated me like crap in school. Why would I want to make a special trip to see them. And a number have gone fundamentalist Christian. They would probably chase me around the reunion now trying to exorcise me or save me.

  7. bob42 says

    I never go to them. I wouldn’t want to disappoint the nice people that voted me most likely to do hard time.

  8. breadbox says

    Indeed; I wouldn’t be surprised if FB had the opposite effect, of giving people more reason to attend reunions, instead of just going for spite.

  9. SteveS says

    Ack! That’s exactly what I was gonna say! (Except it’s not 10, more like mumblemumble years ago).

  10. Alex says

    The people in my graduating class were really nice and friendly. They were fun to be with, even though they were not really part of my circle of friends. I would definitely be inclined to go to my high school reunion.With that said, I have not even been to a reunion. I am still in undergrad! XD

  11. WhatPaleBlueDot says

    I think I would like to go to a reunion… but not ten years out.  That’s just silly.  20?  30?  Sure.

  12. Nankayk says

    I have never gone to a reunion. I was always scared I would end up walking up to a certain person (or 2 or 3) and punching them square in the nose. Funny how after 116 years, I still feel that way.

  13. lomifeh says

    I have never gone to any of my reunions, nor do I plan on it.  I agree that as we’ve become more connected the purpose of them has faded.   The point o a reunion is to see where all your former classmates are.  Between Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and now G+ what is the point?  You can keep tabs in general and  just meet up with the people whom you want to meet.

  14. Carrie says

    I organized my 20th last year and had a much better turn out than the 10 year BECAUSE of facebook.  We even decided to do it every five years instead.  If you’re the kind of person who just wants to see how far everyone has fallen, then sure…you can find that out online.  But we had a small, close class that was very happy to catch up in person.

  15. hippiefemme says

    My school has a giant reunion every five years for all students who ever attended–seriously. We don’t have individual reunions for the class of [insert graduation year here]. I didn’t attend the last one because I was only five years out of school, but I’ll attend the next one. We have a reunion choir and reunion band, so it gives some of us (band geeks) a chance to reunite and to meet fellow band geeks from different generations.

  16. says

    Honesty, I’ll go out of morbid curiosity, but I’ve been told that a lot of my classmates died due to car accidents and alcohol and drug related binges, or got arrested for similar things. I graduated in 2007, so it only took four years for that to happen. It will be a very small group by the time the first reunion rolls around.

  17. says

    I think we still will, since not everyone uses social media, and the stuff you skim from FB isn’t everything anyway.  Also, we don’t reconnect with everyone.Course… I’m also very bitter since I probably will never have a proper high school reunion.  international school, with kids from over 50 different countries.  Do you know how hard it is to get the majority of us in one country, let alone the same state/city/etc?!

  18. Katy says

    I had a pretty awful time in high school, so I have never felt tempted to relive it by attending a high school reunion. I find that I really have nothing in common with people I knew in high school anymore – since it’s more about living in the same area and less about having anything in common, I’m definitely closer with people I met in college, and my best friends are the ones who suffered through grad school with me.

  19. says

    In fairness, they’re also good for people who weren’t much in high school but have done something with their life since. One thing I found with Facebook is that despite HS not being a great time for me, the people I went to HS with are a. not nearly as big of jerks as I thought they were back when I graduated, and b. share a great deal in common with me in terms of our childhood backgrounds (YMMV on this end I guess).I went from positively meh about my 20 year reunion (coming up in just a year GUHHHHHH age) to being pretty solidly for it. I’ve gotten together with a few HS friends now and this should be as much to meet the people who moved away as it is anything else.

  20. Old Fogey says

    Is this an American thing? There was a brief vogue for reunions in the UK, sparked by Friends Reunited website, but it seems to have died out now.Sure, a few people have always got together, but most people are more likely to be friends with those they met at Uni.

  21. godless heathen says

    I’m only friends with high school people I liked or hung out with because they were part of my group. And a few people I was good friends with in elementary/middle school, but drifted away from in high school. I’m pretty sure I have less in common with most of the kids I went to high school with now than I did then. Also, when Facebook first came out a bunch of people who I thought didn’t even know I existed in HS friended me. Through that, I stalked a lot of other people from HS and realized that most of them hadn’t changed and were still jerks/annoying/conservative/boring.However, I’m not sure if that makes me less likely to want to go to my 10 year reunion. I never really wanted to, unless I became super hot, super famous, super rich, super successful or married someone with those qualities.

  22. Siobhan says

    I had every intention of going to my 30th reunion in two years, but then I signed up to Facebook and found pretty much everyone I was curious about.  Mildly curious, for the most part.  Just wonderin’ “hey, what’s THAT person doing now?”.  Facebook gave me that without the $600 airplane ticket and $200 hotel bill and $300 restaurant/eating out bill.  I have very little in common with most of them.  Frankly I’m shocked at how many of them have reproduced so prolifically, and have turned into serious christians.  Also at how many of the ones I thought were fairly reasonable people have become complete raving social conservative hypocrites.  The one I really -care- about wasn’t even in my high school class, and we keep in touch regularly and see each other when we can (given that she lives in Iowa and I live in Vermont).  She flew up to sing at my vow renewal this last Sept. and that was really special to me. The other one that I care about doesn’t want to talk to me because he’s become a very down on the fact that I live as a middle age woman in Vermont instead of, I dunno, as an ascetic buddhist monk who hates the US.  He hasn’t spoken to me since I had to twist his arm to come hear our mutual best friend (previously mentioned) sing at Carnegie Hall in 2002.  I suspect he feels he has a little in common with me as I feel I have with the other folks in my graduating class. Though really, he’s wrong.  He’s hung up on some very superficial things and if he’d bother to actually talk to me, I think he’d find that we’re not as far apart as he thinks.  I really miss him, and I wish he’d just talk to me.  But well, there it is…What was my point?

  23. Ash says

    I was in a class of 534 and I certainly don’t have them all added on Facebook. In fact, I deleted most of them after I finished college, just because I don’t care about the minutiae of their daily lives (and it’d be weird if, after not communicating directly with someone in four or five years, I knew who they were dating, what city they lived in, what they’d named their children, etc.). I’ll still go to my reunions, not even out of a sense of vindictiveness, and I don’t think the surprise will be ruined. Plus we’ll be together in one place, as opposed to just reading 140-character snippets of their lives (and there will be FOOD). I liked most of my class and, even though I haven’t been following their status updates, I look forward to seeing them again.

  24. hoverFrog says

    I wouldn’t have known about my reunion if it wasn’t for facebook.  The one person I was still in contact with told me about it.Honestly though.  Any excuse for a beer in the company of people who you’ve forgotten why they irritated you is well worthwhile.  If nothing else I now have a reason not to go to the next one.

  25. NoxiousNan says

    My high school years were right out of a John Hughes film, and I don’t care to see any of those assholes ever again.That said, if I were interested, facebook would be the only way I would know it was happening.

  26. says

    If anything, I think FB will increase the amount of reunions.   From what I’ve seen, Facebook has led to more and better organized reunions.  My ten year reunion was a bust because they could only reach about 40-50% of the class.  Not a lot of people turned up for that one.  The class after mine just had a reunion that used FB to get their events organized and I was hearing about it all weekend from the people who were in town for it.

  27. Greg23 says

    Having attended my 3rd (30 year) and 4th (40 year) reunions I have found 2 things. After the second one people are done trying to impress. If you’ve grown at all you will find you have more in common with the people you didn’t hang with than most of the ones you did. There are likely some very interesting people you went to school with. Make the effort to find out who they are.

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