425: Reunions

Do you attend reunions?

Show notes and links:
Greatist
Psychology Today


Full episode script

Matthew Liberman, in Psychology Today, wrote in 2013:
Reunions seem like a lose-lose proposition. If you were a bit of an outcast the first time around, why would you want to subject yourself to standing in a room full of people who made you feel that way. If you were the prom king or star athlete, you probably aren’t anymore and showing up at the reunion is likely to burst the bubble of everyone’s memory of you.

So then why do we go? 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.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t go to my 10 year high school or college reunions, and I’m undecided if I’ll head to any future reunions. As James Charisma wrote in Greatist:

More than any other “milestone” event in life—graduations, weddings, and funerals—we don’t really go to other people’s reunions. Half the time, people don’t even show up to their own. So we collectively look to film for answers about what they’ll be like… and of course, in Movieland, the event usually looks like Prom: Part Two.

But maybe – just maybe – going isn’t such a bad thing. Quoting an NPR story from 2011:

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page admits that it took him two decades to work up the courage to attend his class reunion — but he tells NPR’s Neal Conan that he’s glad he finally did it.

“The thing about reunions,” Page says, “[is] you can clear a lot of the air with them.”

Old humiliations keep too many people away from their reunions, he says. But if you find the courage to go, you might be surprised to hear some very heartfelt mea culpas from old nemeses.

“It’s amazing how many apologies I heard,” says Page. “One fellow came over — a white classmate — out of the blue, and apologized for being so racist 40 years ago.”

On a lighter note, Page says he was also approached by two female classmates who wanted to apologize for bullying him whenever the teacher wasn’t looking.

And if I’ll show up to the next Blackfoot High reunion? Well, that’s still to be decided.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.