Guest Post: How I Avoided High School Reunion Anxiety

I am continuing my guest post series with a serious discussion of fonts and high school from my wonderful friend Tara. You may know her as @tarable on Twitter, but I know her as that one gal who is taller than me, makes me laugh like a donkey and slaps my butt WAY too hard.


How I Avoided High School Reunion Anxiety

by Tara Anderson Calihman

[Hint: pretty much the same way I avoided high school anxiety: by finding my tribe, being myself and cracking jokes.]

This showed up in the mail.

How To Deal With High School Anxiety

Where to start? Obviously the font they chose for the word ‘anxiety’ is a good place to begin, as Greeblemonkey the designer would attest. But before that, do you like the dripping blood I added to the flyer? I think that touch alone would definitely increase attendance. (I won’t charge you for that tip, random reunion planning company.)

Here’s the thing: I get it if you hated high school. There’s a plethora of things to hate. While I had my share of awful moments, I would honestly say that I loved most of high school. I mean I was definitely a dork but I was a dork that had friends, a boyfriend and lots of laughs. So getting back together with some of the people that I spent the majority of my time with in the early 90’s… well, that’s a no-brainer for me.

Plus, I didn’t drink in high school. (Which, legally, no one should be doing anyway. Ahem. #endPSA) But at our school, there were definitely the kids who “partied’ and those who did not. I was firmly in the Did Not and Do Not Even Think of Inviting Me to One of Those Types of Parties. So in a weird, slightly twisted way, I really want to go to my reunion and drink with some of those people that I should have been drinking with back then. (Aside from the developmental damage argument and legality issues, high school seems like the perfect time to be drinking. But that’s a whole other blog post with many more potential arguments…)

But back to the flyer for my reunion that I received in the mail. After listing the symptoms of High School Reunion Anxiety (of which, Facebook and FOMO are not even mentioned!), there are experts listed with testimonial comments. Pretty normal for a brochure selling something, you’re thinking.

But now is where it gets weird. On the testimonials, instead of having the class president’s name where it should be, the caption underneath simply reads “Class president” (illustrated in blue above). No name of our class president, just the title. I guess this makes sense because the company can use the same brochure for every class reunion – but as a copywriter, it was weird to see. It’s like if you’re reading a customer testimonial that’s anonymous, the endorsement obviously becomes less authentic and therefore less believable. Maybe they didn’t know they were supposed to actually replace that text with the class president’s name?

(Related: Why do I need a marketing testimonial to get me to go to my high school reunion at all? Like someone on the fence about attending is going to be swayed by made-up marketing copy?)

Since hearing about the reunion, I have had a few moments of a weirdness but nothing close to ANXIETY with a scary font. And it’s never really about going to the reunion. It’s more about finding the great dress and whether or not I cave in and cover my gray hairs. You know, the more far reaching anxiety of just being an aging woman in our society. Sigh.

Bring on the popular girls. And the vodka.

This article has 8 comments

  1. Everyfann

    I hated high school but still had a blast at my reunion!

  2. Felix Lee

    I love my high school days. One of the memorable part of my life. And I love attending high school reunions.

  3. Aimee Giese

    By the way, I have yet to attend one of mine. After our 20th, a bunch of friends got on Facebook though which has been like a reunion for me!

  4. Julie Marsh

    Anxiety, whatever. Go or don’t go, a la Yoda. (Can you tell I was kind of a dork too?)

    I went to my 15th, had to miss my 20th due to BlogHer speaking engagement, and hope to go to my 25th unless a triathlon gets in the way. Priorities, yo.

  5. Sadie

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Aimee Giese

    Julie – I think it depends on who much anxiety there was then?

  7. MargieK

    I missed the 5th (poor grad student, too far from home to afford to go back to Maine from Colorado), but have gone to all of them since, and always enjoyed myself. I, too, was one of those “did not ‘party'” types (not necessarily by choice, more like I got pidgeon-holed as such because I was a good student), but found that whatever prejudices or past problems people may have had, everyone was genuinely glad to each other. People grow up, become adults, and life happens. We all have successes and failures, and it’s just interesting to talk to people and find out what kinds of things they’ve been doing, what adventures they’ve had.

    I was disappointed we didn’t have a 35th reunion, but will make sure to attend the 40th, whether my husband goes or not. He drank so much he fell out of his chair at the last one he attended, so I ended up going to the 30th alone.

    It probably helps that my husband and I were in the same class in high school (NOT “high school sweethearts,” though!) We ran in different crowds and didn’t start dating until a few years out of high school, so people might have been a bit surprised to see us together at the 10th. Our parents all still live in the same city, so we combine the trip with seeing family.

    I urge everyone who has the opportunity (and can afford it, if it’s far away) to go at least once.

  8. rabia basri

    Beautiful you, I have a love/hate relationship with your posts about anxiety/depression. I love that you are so honest and open about it and I’m sure it helps so many people who may be sitting alone and thinking that they are the only one acting a bit “crazy” and having weird “unreasonable” thoughts (which is to say not crazy or unreasonable at all). But I hate that I can’t just invent a magic hug and give it to you to make it all go away! And BTW your Santa rocks, if you don’t love him, send him here, I’m sure I can find a cake to pop him on top of and take the credit for! Nila

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