My 10 year high school reunion was this past Friday.  It went rather well.  The venue was okay (we had it in a sports bar in downtown Grand Rapids).  The service was good too.  And I thought we had a good turnout.  More than I thought there would be anyway.

I was able to talk to a number of people in the three hours I was there.  However, I didn’t get to talk to nearly as many people as I would have liked.  I probably only talked to about a third of the people I would have liked to.  In all, I probably conversed with around a dozen people in that three hour span.  Most of  the people I talked to that night I would have interacted with on a regular basis in high school as well.

I didn’t have much of an interest in pretending to be friends with people I wasn’t friends with in high school.  I see high school reunions as an opportunity to reconnect with people I had lost touch with or hadn’t seen on a regular basis since graduation.  I didn’t see it as an opportunity to create new friendships or impress people.  Sure, some people reinvent themselves or go through interesting and important life changes.  And it might be worth my time to get to know them.  However, my intention was not to create a new friendship out of thin air in three hours at a sports bar in a town I no longer live in.  High School reunions should be a chance to catch up with old friends.  And that is exactly what I intended to do.

There is an interesting twist to this.  I already knew what most of the people I wanted to talk to were up to these days.  It’s not because I had actively kept in touch with them over the years.  I hadn’t had an actual conversation with many of them in years.  It was Facebook.  Facebook has changed the whole high school reunion thing.

Most of my impressions of how high school reunions are supposed to go have come from movies like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion  and Grosse Point Blank.  You see people you haven’t seen in years.  You are surprised to hear what they have been up to (because you honestly didn’t know).  Then there’s either a shoot out with Dan Aykroyd or you are swept away by a millionaire with a helicopter.

None of this actually happens at high school reunions (unfortunately).  But I do imagine that high school reunions 10 or 20 years ago consisted of large groups of people that were divided into two main groups.  Those who stayed and those who left.  Those who stayed in town probably knew what most of the others who stayed in town were up to because they interacted with each other on a semi-regular basis.  Those who left were probably pretty clueless about life back in town and vice versa.  People genuinely needed to catch up because they had been out of contact.

However, because of Facebook I already knew who got married, had kids, changed jobs, moved to a new city, etc.  Facebook ruined some of the surprise associated with catching up with old friends.  In fact, our whole reunion was planned on Facebook.  Although it ruined some of that surprise it did prepare me for some of the interactions I had that night.  I always had something to talk about because I already knew what was going on in their lives.  It took some of the awkwardness out of the conversation.

It will be interesting to see how future reunions are shaped by technology.  Maybe for my 20th class reunion I’ll send my robot, who will arrive on a hover board.

Overall, I’d say the reunion was a success.  Most people seemed to be having a good time and were engaged in lively conversations.  I had a good time as well.  See you at the next one (or at least my hover board riding robot will be there).

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