School Reunions – Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

I’ve never really been a fan of school reunions. Not for any particular reason, just that I’ve heard a lot of stories about it. From insults, shadiness, to outright fights, I’ve heard it all. The competition to appear as the most successful is usually over the top.

Where they are not competing, a whole new level of pretentiousness is unlocked. A friend of mine refused to go for her school reunion because, in her opinion, she hadn’t achieved as much as she wanted. She didn’t want to go there and be made to feel inferior. Someone also said that he loaned his car to a friend to attend his school’s reunion.

Stories such as this are worrisome. I thought the whole essence of reunions was for you to reconnect with friends and colleagues. People that, due to time and distance, you have not been able to see. In some cases, people get valuable contacts at their reunions. Deals are struck, jobs are gotten etc.


School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

With all the negativity associated with reunions, I was not particularly excited about my school’s (University) reunion. Not that I was not interested in seeing my friends and colleagues, but I didn’t know what to expect. Having not attended one before, and with all the terrifying stories I’d heard, I went with a very low expectation.

But mehn, was I blown away?!! It was the most fun I’d had in a while. All the negativity and all the other sh*t, flew right out of the window. There was so much joy, laughter, food, drinks, etc. We took loads of pictures (Le Hubs was the designated DJ and photographer).

School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

Would I do it again? Definitely. In as much as I had so much fun, I know that not everyone will attend their school’s reunion.

After I regaled my friend with the stories of our reunion, she still didn’t change her mind. Bottom line, to her, reunions are just a way for people to rub their successes on other people’s faces.

And she is not alone!

School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

Why do people think reunions are a very bad idea?

1. For those who were bullied or socially awkward, it brings back terrible memories

Bullying is usually rampant in high schools, so I guess any high school reunion will be awkward for someone who was bullied. Chances are that you will not attend.

For colleges, you have the cliques and socially inept. People who were not in the popular clique would typically not be interested in any reunion where the popular people will be attending. Same with the socially inept.

The funny thing is, most of these people who were so popular in school may have a different mindset about life. Adulting and responsibilities have a way of putting things into perspective. Some of them may have also forgotten all their school shenanigans.

There were a couple of them at our school’s reunion. Not that they were mean or anything, we just didn’t have anything in common. So back then in school, you would rarely find me hanging out with them and vice versa. We all had a perception about each other. While they may have seen me as timid in school, I saw them as flamboyant and extravagant.

School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

But all these “perceptions” were nowhere to be found when we all met. Instead, we were sharing hugs, trading jokes, and generally having such a good time.

2. The seemingly never-ending loser’s contest

I guess its human nature to want people, especially old school mates, to see that you’ve made it in life. Nobody wants to appear a loser to others. We are all in this loser’s contest albeit subconsciously.

I narrated a story of a friend loaning his car to another for his school reunion. In the same vein, I’ve heard of people fabricating stories and printing fictitious complimentary cards for ghost companies, all in a bid to show off. This is very unhealthy and, in my opinion, stems from deep rooted insecurity about one’s self.

Conversely, it can also be argued that a lot of the well-to-do ones attend reunions to rub it in the faces of others. It’s appears to be a lose-lose situation. But is there a law that says you cannot attend reunions without any add-ons?

School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

With all the downsides, why then do people attend reunions?

Psychology Today succinctly puts it this way:

“So then why do we go (for reunions)?  I don’t want to presume to speak for everyone, but I suspect for many of us it’s the same reason why we would watch a Friends reunion show all these years later.  We know it wouldn’t be very good, but we still want to know how the story turned out.  Humans are storytelling, story-loving creatures. 

All these folks from high school were in the story of our lives when it was at its most intense, with small, but magic-seeming, triumphs and earth shattering defeats that made tomorrow seem like an impossibility. 

None of us had any idea who we would be 25 years later (or even 5 years later), but now that that time has arrived, we want to see how the stories played out.  Even when I’m watching a third rate movie on an airplane, I still want to see how it ends before they turn everything off at landing.”

School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

Curiosity is part of us. We all want to know how this or that person ended up. Even at my school’s reunion we were talking about different people and what they were currently up to.

Expectedly, it won’t be all bells and roses. There will be some awkward moments, but also great moments. You’ll end up regretting not going more than you’ll regret going.

School Reunions - Cliques, Rivalry, And The Whole Shebang

I can’t believe I’m the one writing that people should attend their reunions, knowing all the stories that I’ve heard. This goes to show that it is sometimes better to get a first-hand experience as opposed to hearing other people’s views.

If you haven’t read our other posts, please take a minute to catch-up. We talked about how to move on after losing your job. Also, you can find out why failure is a good thing, and blogs to follow to jumpstart your career.

All my love,


  • Zinny

    This was a nice read. I attended my secondary school reunion some years back. By then we were in the University. It wasn’t bad but I remember a few people didn’t want to show up because it felt like a waste of time to them. I guess every person is entitled to their opinion on it.

    I wouldn’t mind going for a reunion in the future if I’m not busy. Thankfully, you enjoyed yours and that’s great news. Wishing you a Happy New Year in advance. All the best and thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Zinny. Wishing you the very best of 2018.