Has Facebook changed School Reunions?

by Meg on September 13, 2011

In just under 2 weeks, I will be attending my 10 year High School Reunion.  As with most things in my life, I’ve been consulting my three older sisters on if they went to theirs or not, and what it was like.  It should be noted that they are 11, 12, and 15 years older than me, so I often rely on what mistakes or insights they gained by going through certain mile stones before I even get close to reaching them.

As the three of them had very different high school experiences, their comments have also been very different.  One will never go back, one goes back every time, and one doesn’t officially attend, but takes the time to reach out to those she still cares about outside of the reunion.  I’ve heard stories of just how shocking it was to see what happened with people in their classes.  I’ve also heard stories that make it seem like it’s simply an inescapable fact that how just like when you revert to being your former child self when you’re back at your parents’ home,  the group dynamic of high school comes right back.

However, as a high school friend and I chatted with my sisters about a month ago, my friend and I pointed out that we aren’t even sure if morbid curisoity is even a reason to go back anymore quite simply because of Facebook.  We know who got fat, lost weight, went natural, went more fake, went on to get lots of degrees, who have traveled the world, had kids out of marriage, are headed for their third child already, ended up with their high school sweetheart, to name some of the life markers we use to compare ourselves to others.  Of course, there are the few that don’t have a Facebook account and no real Google Footprint, and they do indeed remain the ones that all of us are most curious about.

Initially, I always planned on coming back simply because it would be an excuse to come back to my former state and that I had not lived in for nine years.  Life had a few other plans up its sleeve and I’ve actually been at home now for the last few months.  I’ve already reconnected with most of the girls I care about and my best friends from high school remain the ones that moved away like I did and never really returned.  With those girls, we have taken the time to traverse the country to see each other in the past ten years.

Thus remains the question of, do I want to go see the girls I was mere acquaintances with for four years?  I can’t help but factor in that I was only one of about sixty girls that graduated from an all girls school.  Is it really enough that I’m just casual friends with them on Facebook and get to be just as part of their lives virtually as I was in high school, or do I feel like I need to show up to prove something?  I’ve been told that 5, 10, and 15 year reunions are way more of a pissing contest than anything else.  It’s not until we reach 20 years and beyond do we become this support group of people who knew each other before things like Cancer, divorce, financial ruin, addiction, and other curve balls that life throws at us and that we can just sit and remember our happy younger days.

I do plan on attending with a close friend who is coming from out of town and doing a follow-up brunch with her and another friend the next day.  That second friend being like my one sister who will never officially go, but will take the time to see the few select people she wants to see.  This friend has a bit better sense of self and is way more satisfied by what she sees or doesn’t see with Facebook.  I on the other hand I guess am too curious and oddly optimistic that maybe despite seeing these girl’s lives unfold on Facebook, that maybe some of us can rise out of the old high school dynamic and become brand new friends as the adults we now are.

If not, back to my and everyone’s Facebook stalking habits.


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