Top Ten Things Not to do at a High School Reunion

This list is as a result of seeing some high school reunion photos and messages on a number of social media sites. I have never attended a high school reunion, so the information captured here has been matters of here say and recounting of others about their reunion.

a HighSchoolReunionBlue1

Top Ten Thing Not to do at a High School Reunion

10 If you attend a high school reunion, do not pose for photos that you don’t know where they will end up. If you do at best, the photos will only be traded among classmates. At worst, they will end up on the “what the not to wear, eat, or drink” website.(Which will go viral and you’ll be getting calls from the Today show to appear on their segment called EXCESS)

9 If you attend a high school reunion, do not pretend to be what you are not. If you do, at best your little fib will be seen as a joke. At worst, your profile on the class newsletter will be featured under the title Most Successful Grad. (Which will be picked up by the news services and published by your newspaper)

8 If you attend a high school reunion, do not bring a date that you do not know simply because they are beautiful. If you do, at best your charade will be found out early with no consequences. At worst, your date will discover the true reason you brought them and will make an exit and a scene remembered for the next five reunions. (Only you passing away will halt the story telling)

7 If you attend a high school reunion, do not rent an expensive car for your grand entrance. If you do, at best you will look overly anxious to impress and get the opposite reaction. At worst, the valet will take your rental car for a spin and inadvertently leave the side chrome on the street fleeing a hit and run accident. (Which you will easily be able to explain to the judge)

6 If you attend a high school reunion, do not try to hide the fact that you don’t remember everyone’s name. If you do, at best you will look like a fool trying to check name tags without being caught. At worst, you will call someone by a different name, and the name will be associated by that person to an old flame or rival. (You will have lots a bunch of points on that one)

5 If you attend a high school reunion, do not take this time to argue fine points about your grades with your old teachers. If you do, at best the teachers will wish they had flunked you. At worst, one of them may remember you failed to turn in that assignment in the eleventh grade that will require you to repeat the course and nullify your high school diploma. (Try explaining that to your boss)

4 If you attend a high school reunion, do not think your old flame wants to begin where you left off just by smiling at you. If you do, at best you will be embarrassed to learn they are happily married. At worst, you will be a little too forward thinking all is forgiven only to be arrested as you leave the building for assault. ( Gotta remember no means no)

3 If you attend a high school reunion, do not assume the free drinks at the bar carry no consequences. If you do, at best you may exhibit a little tipsiness that everyone will think is cute. At worst, you will have the honor and resulting infamy of passing out on top of the Congratulations Class cake. (The clothes you’re wearing belong to your roommate as well.)

2 If you go to a high school reunion, do not offer to be part of the planning committee for the next one. If you do, at best everyone will forget your offer. At worst, you will be appointed chairperson with all the rights and responsibilities to make the nest one the best ever. (You will also want to get a Xanax prescription)

1 If you go to a high school reunion do not tell everyone you meet that “we must get together.” If you do at best, they will all wonder if you are having a breakdown. At worst, the ones you least want to see will stay in touch long enough to cop a free overnight on their way through your town. (Plus they have some kind of foot infection that requires you to burn your sheets when they leave)


  1. I attended two of the last 4: 20th- and 40th-year. Your list is somewhat male-centered, so I would add the following (in no particular order):
    — Do not go up and “high five” to and assume the people you believe are LGBT are “out” even though you know and they know and everyone knows and has always known…. Unbelievably, 40 years later, some of them still are closeted. Go figure.
    — Do not apologize to or remind old flames, enemies or friends of your transgressions. They were happily forgetful until you came along with your “sorry I did…” stories.
    — Do not buy an article of clothing that is too small for you several months before the Reunion, believing you will “fit into it by then,” bring only that to wear to the formal event, and then find out you, in fact, do NOT fit into it and now have nothing to wear.
    — When you can’t recognize someone because s/he is a lot fatter, balder, greyer, or stooped over, or has much clearer skin, DO NOT EXPLAIN why you didn’t recognize him/her. They won’t appreciate your comments on “how much we’ve all changed.”
    — When someone recognizes you, wants to sit with/hang out with you, seems to know you well, and you HAVE NO IDEA WHO THAT IS, do not play along. Be honest, because usually that person believes you are someone else!
    — Do not complain ahead of time about the open bar and the extra cost because, as you explain, you don’t drink, and do not bother to tell them you do not want to hang out with a “bunch of drunk people you barely know” for several hours. No one who drinks wants to be there sober, anyway, so you’re doomed.


    Best to you, John!


    1. Thanks Sally. I enjoyed yours very much. I liked the idea of someone thinking you are someone else. I can imagine that happening quite often. 🙂

  2. Very entertaining John, I have attended only one reunion and that was traumatic enough……

    1. I can believe it. Thanks Michael.

  3. I only attended the first one, 10 year…it was so childish and everyone kept talking about “child-hood” things that were of no consequence to me. Every time someone walked by and said something like “Remember her and how she used to dress?” I would walk away thinking “I have an electric bill/mortgage payment due.” I like to leave childhood things back in my childhood. I’m an adult now and have been for quite some time, so I’m a bit turned off to the antics and attitudes of those who have not progressed in 50 million years. (Yes, that’s my exaggeration number for today). Thanks, John H, great post!


    1. Thank you for the visit. I feel the same. I was talking to some classmates after the five year that I missed and got wind of the discussions. I decided life had moved on and so did I and there was no reason to look back.

  4. Wow. So many rules. Kind of glad I wasn’t invited to mine. 🙂

    1. You would have been had anyone known whee you were.

      1. Guess so. Wouldn’t have been able to go anyway since it happened around the same time as my grandfather’s funeral.

      2. That would put a damper on attending.

      3. Also travel. I lived in Florida at the time, so I’d have to go up one weekend and then go back the the following one.

      4. Would not be worthwhile

      5. Nope. Eh, I had sleeping to do that weekend anyway.

  5. My 45th will be next year, so thanks for the tips.

    1. Always ready to help. Last year was the 55th for me. I didn’t go.

      1. … which is the best way to avoid blunders. It’s a 3-hour drive for me, so time will tell if I attend.

      2. Mine is thousands of miles.

      3. A good reason not to go.

  6. I found high school itself traumatic enough without being further subjected to it at 10-year intervals. John, again, you’ve devised a list that gives me every reason to not to do something, like go to a high school reunion 🙂 Recently I was invited to one. When I was contacted for my address, I remarked, “wow, 50 years went by fast.” The organizer responded, “It’s been 40. Let’s not push it, Marie.” Obviously, I would be a big hit 😉

    1. LOL. Not too much difference between the 40 and 50 except the ten years so I can see the confusion. Thanks

  7. Never been to a reunion, although if I did, I’m sure I’d do all these things on purpose.

    1. Of course. As would I.

  8. I like #1 the best, that’s a classic. My way to avoid these has been to avoid reunions in general. If I decide to change my approach, I’ll reprint this.

    1. Also take notes for your “I attended a reunion post.”

  9. Hi John H, had to laugh at some of these don’ts. They are the reasons I don’t attend a high school reunion. 🙂 Never have, because in the end, I hear about all that happened, and then I feel happy that I did not attend.

    1. Thanks Joy. The biggest laugh is knowing we weren’t involved in an embarrassing situation. (unlike the ones we are laughing about)

  10. Ha! Fun post. Never been to one of mine. Greg wants to go to a Cornell Reunion at some point. I have my reservations.

    1. I would be with you on the reservations.

  11. Thanks for a day-brightener, John! I’ve been to one reunion and while it was … um, okay, I guess, it didn’t convince me to attend any of the others. High school wasn’t a good time for many of us. Over time, we’ve changed and don’t care to be stuffed back into the person we were then. Too many memories, and frankly, I suppose I’d rather remember classmates as they were then, rather than see how the years have played out (and guess who’s who, ha!)

    1. I agree. It seems like a desperate act to capture what is long gone.


    1. You and I could chant a duet.

  13. I’ve never been to one either, John. But that list sounds like spot-on advice! 😀

  14. Shirley Harris-Slaughter · ·

    We had one individual who kept everybody in touch with each other, complete with addresses and phone numbers on a list. Most of us didn’t want to keep the charade going especially as you start aging. And some folks’ lives didn’t turn out like a fairytale so they didn’t want to go down memory lane with fellow classmates. And honestly, I didn’t want to be around some of these folks as we had nothing in common going forward. So you won’t have to worry about me even turning up at one of these things anymore. When I wrote my first book that’s when I found out who truly was my friend. Very revealing!! lol

    1. Yeah, some like it and some not so much. Thanks for the visit.

  15. Very entertaining, John! I’ve not attended one either – fortunately, the organizers could never track me down (I’m a pretty slippery guy!). But I agree with many of the sentiments shared above – I stay in touch with those who meant something to me, and even they have little in common with me anymore. Thanks for posting this!

    1. Thank you for the visit. I have to say I do not have any one from high school even as a contact. Not sure I would be able to carry on a decent conversation beyond “so what do you do?” (I hate that) Thanks again for the comment as well as the visit.

%d bloggers like this: