Tip #1. Bring your spouse to break the ice for you. My husband, Joe, saved me~ not even kidding. I recognized NO ONE (at first). As I was frozen in place, clutching my O'Douls and forgetting to breathe, he devised a plan on the spot. He started walking up to people in front of me and reaching his hand out asked how people were doing:) As they struggled to place him, he introduced himself as my husband. This gave me a minute to sneak a peek at nametags and quickly try and place them.
Tip #2. Do not wear short sleeves to this reunion ladies. Even the nearly anorexic ladies were sporting 'bingo flags.' Not pretty in the pictures; at all. I thought I was pretty hot to trot that night. Suffice it to say that when I saw my arms in the pictures I squeaked with dismay
Tip #3. If the invite says 'casual' this is not an excuse to show up in sweats or the equivalent attire. I really do not care if they are your 'nice' sweats or your best beach wear. This is about me, people. I see you, and rather than accept your choices, I start worrying about your homelife, what drove you to such decisions with your wardrobe.....your lack of confidence-because you have clearly given up or not even tried to look your best, which then leads me to wonder what else I could've done to help you over the last 30 years. I think about how important education is (I am a teacher, people- I can't help it) and if you needed someone to tell you about tube tops not being the stellar contribution to fashion Walmart displays would have you believe (for 99% of us). Yes, I am codependent, obsessive and chronically curious. I completely identify with Glenda from Wicked and have all I can do NOT to take you by the hand and sing, 'Popular' to you. So, clothes really can make you feel better, not to mention sparing others from the trauma I described. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Tip #4. Study. Get out your yearbooks and spend time looking through them. Scary, but helpful. I would recommend you bring my yearbooks to your next reunion. Having them with you is an easy thing to make small talk about when you can not remember a thing about or did not even hang out with or even know the person you are chatting with.
Tip #5. Have 5 generic questions to ask classmates AND spouses. Some examples that I wish I had thought of before my reunion: What have you been up to since high school? What was your favorite part of high school? What was really hard for you in high school? How do you spend your time now? Did you become a parent? Tell me about your family. How do you like your work? What do you love to do? Your get the idea. Relying on your memory of high school to figure out what to chat about.... falls short, at least for me, every single time.
Tip #6. Your view of who you were in high school, is not necessarily how others remember you. I tend to identify just one person as my friend from high school. I spent high school really feeling like my BFFs 'DUFF.' She was after all on the homecoming court, was voted most beautiful AND a few boys asked me out to get closer to her, asking, "So, what is Tricia doing tonight? You think she'd like to hang with us?' This reunion reminded me that I had far more friends than I remember, they did not associate me with my perceived best friend as strongly as I did. Even though my best friend from high school and I have not stayed connected beyond a few facebook messages, I would've KILLED to have her with me at my reunion. It would have felt safer, I think, to hang out with her like at our 20 year. It also would've kept me from rediscovering my other old friends.