High school reunions in the age of social media
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
It came for me last month, like the grim reaper had set an alarm for 10 years later and was coming to collect: I received a Facebook invite to my high school reunion.
Yes, the time has finally come for Bellerose’s graduating class of ’08 to convene for a night of waxing nostalgic, reconnecting with old friends, and maybe a few sambuca shots—y’know, for nostalgia.
Aside from the invite’s initial surprise, I’m dispassionate about my reunion. So, like anyone in 2018, I’m blaming social media for my problems.
To me, high school reunions are one ginormous, speed dating-styled catch-up session, but instead of ready-to-mingle singles, it’s with people you haven’t seen or heard from in a decade. An opportunity to find out which high school sweethearts made it down the aisle, what “Most likely to…” accolades transferred into reality, and who kept wearing fedoras beyond their formative teenage years.
Except those big reveals and twists meant for the reunion are spoiled by my social media feed.
I know X got married right after high school, and managed to squeeze out kids in as many years. A and B broke up while they were in university, though I wasn’t expecting A and C to hook up so quickly afterward. K still thinks Anchorman jokes are the funniest thing ever—yeah, I saw his weekly posts until I discovered that “Unfollow” button.
Even the reunion’s guest list read more like a checklist of changed names and profile pictures avec tiny humans. The invitation should’ve started with a “Spoiler Alert,” to preserve what tiny amount of mystery remained.
Nowadays, staying in touch with your high school pals is as simple as a few taps of a mouse, and kablam, you’ve overcome any geographical obstacle. Hypothetically, I could talk to my best friend from high school all day, every day, but we both have lives that exist outside of each other.
If I’m not attending the reunion for the juicy plot twists that other people’s lives took, then what am I attending for? From the research I’ve done: Nothing extraordinary, but nothing terrible.
According to the website Reunion Announcements, attendance for a 10-year reunion is “typically in the range of 20 to 30 per cent,” with anything over 30 per cent considered to be “highly successful.” Only a quarter of the folks I graduated with will be showing up to the reunion.
I interviewed several older friends to ask how their 10-year reunions went, and the anecdotal evidence always fell into one of three categories: They went to their reunion and had a lot of fun; they went, and it was okay; or they regretted not going. All these outcomes, while varied, are incredibly easy to live with.
What are 10-year high school reunions, in the age where everyone’s lives can be found online, and there are no surprises waiting for you?
It’s just a thing; A thing with people you went to high school with, and people you’re still friends with, some you don’t talk to anymore, but you wish you did. There will be people at your reunion who were complete jerks to you, and some thinking the same about you. Some people will be hotter, some will look more travelled, some will have kids, and some won’t.
A reunion is just a thing, and whether you’re the person organizing it, or the person who immediately hits “Ignore” on their invite, I hope you’re content with your decision.
Unless your decision includes a few of those sambuca shots.