High school reunions are the perfect storms for awkwardness. Not only do you have to guess everyone's names you don't remember, you also have to explain what you've been doing to people you haven't seen in years, and in turn listen to them share their life stories.
When you throw in all the unresolved tensions between 'cool kids' and 'dorks,' teachers and students, and of course, lovers and their crushes, it's easy to see why many people skip these things entirely!
All comments have been edited for clarity.
Thanks For Being Discreet
“At my high school class’s 10-year reunion, the organizers gave ‘awards’ to people for various reasons. One girl from was given an award for having the ‘most kids’ of anyone there. She had four kids by different guys, which was part of the announcement. The look on her face as she slinked up to the podium said it all.”
Was It Something I Said?
“A guy from our class passed away shortly before our 20-year reunion. He was never popular but well known in our class. During the awards/speech section of the night, the lady (our class president, I think) was trying to get the crowd to settle down for a moment of silence. You could tell it meant a lot to her as she started getting heated. The crowd started shushing one another, and it got just quiet enough to hear somebody in the crowd say, ‘Geez, did somebody die or something?'”
Two Generations Of Awkwardness
“My mom’s 35-year high school reunion was at a bar that I frequent quite a bit. I walked in with my mom and went up to a bartender that I knew to order a drink for my mom and me. He looked up at my mother and I and immediately got shy and weird and then said, ‘YOU’RE THE DAUGHTER OF [my mom’s name]?’
Apparently, he had a huge crush on my mom in high school, and my uncle (my mom’s older brother) had beat him up because he (and my mom) didn’t like him.
Very awkward indeed.”
No Means No, Lady!
“Mine is in a few months but the awkwardness has already started.
First, I never had any plans to go. Things like that aren’t my speed. I’m not a mingler and I always want to leave right away. Besides, I’ll be away on military orders by that time anyway, so there’s no way I can go.
A few weeks ago I get added to a 10-year reunion page on Facebook by someone I don’t recognize. I immediately think ‘nope’ and leave the page, then don’t think about it again. I got a phone call a few days later from an unknown number. This was not unusual since lots of people call me for work stuff. I answer and get this enthusiastic, ‘HI, IT’S [NAME]! HOW ARE YOU!’
I apologize and tell her I think she has the wrong number. I don’t know anyone with that name. She says my whole name and says she got my number from another former classmate of ours. She was the class president but I honest to god didn’t remember her. She asks about the reunion, and I politely tell her I’m not going, I have other obligations. She says, ‘I don’t know if that will work, I’ll be in touch’ and hangs up. I’m like, huh? but whatever.
A few days later I get added back to the same group by her. Again, I leave it. Not 30 minutes later I get a phone call from her. She wants to know why I left the group again, and again I tell her I have other obligations. She told me that ‘You don’t skip reunions; we’ve planned this for years. You’ll be there.’ Sarcastically, I said, ‘Ok, well save me a spot then,’ and hung up.
A third time I’m added to this group. I’m like, are you kidding me? and I leave again. I get a call, and this time she’s calling to tell me that I need to send her the money for my food ticket and admission by the end of the week. I politely remind her that I’m not going. She gets snooty and informs me that the venue and catering have already been reserved and that I will need to pay for my meal as the fund would not cover it.
Once again I remind her that I was never attending and that it isn’t my fault that she paid in advance without a proper count. She then told me, ‘You don’t have a choice. It’s already paid for, so you have to be there. I said, ‘Alright, bye and hung up again.'”
I ended up blocking her on Facebook, ignoring her calls, and leaving the group two more times when other members of the reunion committee added me.”
Maybe He Was Just Going Undercover As A Jerk
“My 10-year reunion in 2009 was the most awkward thing ever.
There was this dorky guy in high school who ran for class president one year and lost in a landslide. Our 10-year reunion rolls around at a private venue downtown, and this guy shows up. We can instantly tell he’s had WAY too many, and he’s with a woman who seems like she barely knew him. The guy is now a detective at a nearby police department and proceeds to have even more to drink at the reunion. He starts telling everyone there about how he’s a bigshot detective and solves crimes all the time.
The night ends with him getting into a loud argument with the woman in the parking lot. The owners of the venue come out and threaten to call the police. He shows his badge and tells them to screw off. He continues cursing her out and gets in his car alone, almost hitting her as he speeds off, leaving her there.
At that point, everyone else shifted the party to a local bar, as the private venue had closed. At the bar, I see the girl basically hitting on a guy, apparently looking for someone else to finish her night. What she doesn’t know is that the guy she’s with is gay and in the closet (he came out a few years later).
Our 20-year is coming up and I can’t wait.”
These Girls Can’t Take A Hint
“Apparently, every year, my brother’s graduating class gets together at this one neighborhood bar over Thanksgiving. It’s not a formal thing, but anyone can come and they all have a few drinks. I had no idea about it, and apparently, my brother didn’t either. How did we find out? Three or four years ago, we showed up to get a drink, just the two of us, and his entire graduating class was there.
My brother was nerdy and kind of awkward growing up, but after going through the Marines and college he’s transitioned into being a bit more outgoing, sociable guy. Coming out of the closet once he hit 23 helped too since he became more comfortable in his own skin and it showed outwardly.
The thing was, no one seemed to know he was gay. And this is a small town in the Midwest, where there’s nothing else to do but gossip and since no one leaves, everyone knows everyone else. I spent all night cringing, while my brother dodged the advances of a bunch of girls aggressively hitting on him. Since the dating pool consists of the same guys they went to high school with and he was fresh meat, they were all coming on strong, and it was bad. Then everything got even worse when he told them he was living on the East Coast because he was gay and married, and his husband’s job was there.
There was a lot of ‘oh… well… my cousin’s aunt’s neighbor is gay!’ in an attempt to relate to him, or just straight up ignoring him.
After we had all had a few, someone started pulling the ‘are you really sure?’ stuff, and he responded by going into detail about why he liked his husband so much. That was when we called it a night.”
To Hug Or Not To Hug
“I was there with a guy friend when he saw his ex. They approached each other – him going in for a hug and her extending her hand to shake. When they each realized what the other was doing, she put her arms out for a hug, and he extended his hand to shake. By the time they touched, it was just a jumble of hands and arms weirdly touching each other.
He started by saying, ‘So, how have you been?’ I just said, ‘Uh, excuse me,’ and got away from them.’
Have You People Never Heard Of Roommates?
“I went to mine with my roommate. Everyone thought we were married or something (I’m male, she’s female). When we started dancing with other people, girls would look over my shoulder at my roommate and then slowly dance away from me. It wasn’t like I was getting close or anything. On the flip side, this one dude just stopped dancing with my roommate and left without a word. When she came to tell me about what happened, we both turned to see that he was making a bee-line for the exit.
After telling this to a mutual friend, it was pointed out that we probably looked like swingers. We still laugh about it to this day.”
Ten Years Later, Still A Bully
“Actually, my high school reunion WAS the awkward thing. I didn’t attend, and neither did many people. Everyone hated each other, and from what I heard, only one clique turned up with the odd person from one or two others making an appearance.
Even though I didn’t go, it was still awkward when a girl who bullied me relentlessly at school tried adding me on Facebook to invite me to the reunion. She never apologized to me, so I have to assume she still thinks she did nothing wrong. I politely declined her invitation.”
Oversized Jenga? Still Sounds Like A Pretty Good Night
“The most awkward thing for me was probably the reunion itself. Our 10-year was in 2015. I did not attend as I got roped into helping salvage a four-wheeler from the river that a couple buddies had found.
So for about three or four months leading up to the reunion date, a few of the ‘popular’ girls from our class started a Facebook group to organize everything. And it seemed to be going well – people had moved all over the country but were saying they were moving their schedules around to attend, there was talk of renting an event hall on the fairgrounds, one girl’s family now owned a local restaurant and offered to put up that venue for an after-hours thing. Everyone seemed into it, and from what I could see, all seemed ready and willing to put behind them whatever petty grudges and high school crap had existed 10 years prior.
Then it’s the morning of, and no one has committed to anything. In fact, it’s almost complete radio silence in the Facebook group. Someone suggests that since we have no place reserved, should everyone just meet at the bars downtown and go from there? So it was that exactly seven people showed up and played oversized Jenga. They at least looked like they had a good time, but what a let-down; I was initially bummed about knowing I was missing our reunion but when I saw the turnout on Facebook when I got back into cell range, I wasn’t that disappointed anymore.”
Albert Davis Would Be Proud
“I haven’t had a high school reunion yet, but here’s a fun story from my mom’s 10-year reunion.
She went with my dad back to her hometown for the reunion. My dad grew up in a different city, so he didn’t know anybody there. Bored out of his mind, he decided to have some fun and found a way to discreetly ask someone who the biggest juvenile delinquent and troublemaker was in their graduating class.
Let’s call him Albert Davis.
So, my dad went to the nametag table and found Albert Davis’s nametag. He put it on and went around saying hi to everyone just to watch their reactions. They were shocked, as apparently most of them had assumed Albert Davis was in prison.
My mom did not think it was funny.”
This Goes Beyond Awkward… Brutal!
“My wife and I dated throughout high school and college. We married and had a child. We still had a few close friends we graduated with that were going as well. I would say there was about a 70 percent turnout. We had a good time and everyone had a few drinks. We all mingled, and at one point, my wife talked briefly to a guy who she had cheated on me with right after high school. They didn’t speak for more than three minutes. They hadn’t spoken since that day almost 10 years prior. We had moved past it; she had tried to make amends, I had forgiven her, and we had a family.
At least that’s what I thought. Less than a month after the reunion, I could tell that something wasn’t right. When I asked her about it, she told me she wasn’t happy and wanted a divorce. We had been together for over a decade, and I was devastated. After a week of feeling like I had failed and doing everything I could to win her back, I discovered she had been having an affair with that same guy.”
Was It Worth Getting Your Chest Crushed?
“I went with my wife to her reunion. I may have had one or three before arriving, and when I got there I remembered hearing a story of a guy who was my wife’s third-grade boyfriend. Later in life, he had a rough time of things–substance problems, run-ins with the law, etc.
As a joke, I wrote his name on my name badge and went about my business. Not long after, a rather strong and stocky woman turned around, looked at me, then at my name tag. When she saw the name she looked up at me, screamed excitedly as loud as I’ve ever heard, bear-hugged me while lifting me off the ground, and bit my neck. No blood, but he had a decent bruise.
I then mainly asked her questions to avoid her asking questions, like where have you been, what’re you up to, and so on. I did my best to play the part, as I didn’t want her to be disappointed (or angry). I went on to the next small group and joined the discussion, followed by me finding my wife and heading back for more drinks.
No harm, no foul?”
Sounds About Right
“The lighting was dim, we were old, and some nitwit decided to let people scrawl their own name tags, which then hung on overly long lanyards at knee-level. Nobody could hear anything over the snot-nose DJ blasting ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ and trying to figure out who you were talking to was awkward.”
Face To Face With A Mean Girl
“I went to my girlfriend’s high school reunion with her. Now, we’re lesbians and in a small town, so I was expecting a few people to give us weird looks, but nothing we couldn’t handle. It was so much worse than that.
When we get to the reunion, we’re having a nice time. People recognize my girlfriend (she was much more popular than me back in high school), and no one cares that we’re gay until we start chatting with one of our classmates, let’s call her Mean Girl, and her husband. When I say that I’m her partner, the lady asks, ‘Oh, like business partner?’ Since my girlfriend has a good sense of humor, she laughs and tells her that no, we’re dating. What does she do? Not apologize, not just avoid mentioning it, but instead she turns to her husband and says in Spanish, ‘I knew there was something wrong with her.’
What she didn’t know is that my girlfriend is Mexican and speaks fluent Spanish. So she tells the lady to screw off, and we leave Mean Girl behind with her mouth agape in shock.
At the awards portion of the night, we had pretty much forgotten Mean Girl. It turns out she had been the organizer of the event and was doing the awards. We laugh at some of the humorous awards, and then we get to my girlfriend’s award. Can you guess what it was? I won’t repeat it, but you can imagine it was offensive. Long story short, I am escorted out by security after having lost my cool on Mean Girl. Nobody messes with my girlfriend.”
Just Like Old Times
“I didn’t go to my 10-year, but drama unfolded on Facebook in the planning stages. One guy decided the ‘official’ reunion wasn’t good enough, so he planned a competing reunion and tried to siphon people off of the other.
When people started posting confusion to the event page, the argument between the two reunion leaders went something like 80 comments deep. The best part is, the then-current principal (who’d been a popular math teacher when we were students) actually had to step in and mediate. It was hysterical. I had been on the fence about going since I stayed close to my good friends in high school and Facebook kept me informed about anyone else I cared to know about, but that whole thing sealed it for me, and I skipped it. It’s true what they say about 10-year reunions: nobody has changed.”
When Your Reunion Comes To You
“I walked into my regular bar hangout, and the place was packed with people. So many were coming over and saying hello, asking me what I’ve been up to since graduation. Some lady comes over and puts a name tag on my shirt with my name on written on it, tells me how glad she is I made it even though they had no contact info for me and couldn’t send me the reunion info.
It turns out, it was the first night of our 20-year class reunion. There was nobody there I recognized, and even with the name tags I was lost. I am terribly bad at remembering faces and names, to the point that I have to bring my dog to the airport when I have to pick up my parents, because she always sees them in the crowd before I do. It was awful and awkward, and I got out of there as soon as I could.”
Dance Like No One’s Coming
“I went with my now-wife to her 10-year reunion. It was a small class and she had a small group of friends who she hung out with. Tickets were $200 each (open bar, food, DJ). The day before, she finds out the two people she was looking forward to seeing couldn’t make it, and on the day of another friend got in an accident and couldn’t make it. The last friend just decided not to go, so we ended up sitting at a table, basically by ourselves. My wife decided to make the best of it and was the ‘person who dances by herself all night’ in the middle of the dance floor.
I’m sure we won’t be going to any more of her reunions.”
I’ll Stay Right Where I Am, Thanks
“This was not high school, but my primary school reunion. This was only about four years ago, but we all got together at someone’s place. For some reason, a couple of people’s mothers joined in to have their ‘mom group’ hang out as well (a cliquey group with soccer mom vibes). Everyone (except the moms) were seated at a big table, but there was a majority of guys. This is important.
There were a couple of other women sitting there too, but they went to the kitchen to grab snacks. So I ended up being the only woman at the table amongst all the dudes. Well, cue one guy’s mom, who dramatically pulls me aside and loudly urges me to move somewhere else, saying, ‘Sweetie, let the men talk, it’s the men’s table. Why don’t you go with the rest of the ladies inside for some lady talk?’
I said I was fine where I was and sat back down. But that silence… the whole group of moms staring at me like a pack of velociraptors. It was awkward.
Now I know why my mom hated them.”