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The 5 Don’ts of High School Reunions

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It’s here. The invitation that you’ve secretly been dreading (or maybe hoping for) since the day you tossed your cap at graduation. You’ve been invited to your high school reunion.iStock_000033378726_Double

After you get past the shock of I’ve been out of high school that long, it’s time to consider whether you’ll be attending. For many, there is a lot of anxiety behind the decision, and people often choose not to go because they are afraid of reliving their worst high school memories. But don’t fret; remember that reunions may make you feel like you’re back in high school, but you are not. Unlike high school, you can always leave if you start feeling too uncomfortable.

If you’ve decided to attend, keep these five don’ts in mind when you’re back in the gymnasium dancing to that one 80’s hit that reminds you of Senior prom.

  1. Don’t go to impress anyone.

You may feel inclined to rent a sports car, or maybe even a date, but that will only lead to more anxiety hoping that you can fake it for the entire evening. You spent all of high school trying to fit in and “be” somebody; you don’t need to keep the charade up now. Go as you are, and make a point to meet up with friends who you know will be accepting regardless of what the last however many years have brought upon you—receding hairlines and all.

  1. Don’t freak out about where you are in life.

As soon as you open your reunion invitation, you often open up doubts and concerns that are rooted deep in your past that make you reconsider where you’re at in life. All of a sudden, you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything yet and start down a spiral that only leads to negative thoughts and insecurity. Although contemplating your current state isn’t a bad thing, make sure to keep your mind in check. Everyone has his or her own path, and just because you didn’t end up on Broadway doesn’t mean that you’re not still successful.

  1. Don’t ditch your significant other.

Whether you brought your spouse that you’ve been married to for 15 years or a person you’ve just started dating, it’s important to not forget about them when you start reminiscing about that one football game your Junior year. Yes, this is a time to catch up and get sentimental, but do your best to introduce your significant other to everyone and include him or her in conversation.

Also, give your significant other the option of coming with you. Reunions can already be a bit awkward and are even more so when you don’t know anyone there. If they want to come, that’s great! But pressuring them to go will only lead to an uncomfortable evening for both of you.

  1. Don’t flirt with your ex.

Reunions don’t only mean running into old friends. Seeing your ex-high school sweetheart may bring about old feelings and temptation. Depending on how you ended the relationship, you may have gotten past it long ago, but this can be dangerous if you’re still harboring unresolved emotions. Don’t allow rose-colored memories to cloud your judgment and jeopardize a marriage or relationship that you’re currently in. You may think that you still know that person, but you don’t know what they’ve been through since high school. They may have taken on baggage that won’t be apparent the one night you see them. Or life simply may have changed their personality altogether. Because of this, recognize that your feelings may not be grounded and that some memories are best left in the past.

  1. Don’t forget what year it is.

You can avoid most of these don’ts by simply following this one: stay grounded in where you are in the present, even when you’re surrounded by the people of your past. Emotions are bound to resurface, but if you stay levelheaded and remind yourself of how far you’ve truly come, you’ll be able to have a nice night of catching up with old friends without digging up unnecessary issues and regrets.