by Adrienne Laursen
It’s here. You can’t believe it’s been this long and you can’t believe that you’re this old.
High school reunions can trigger mixed emotions in the best of us, and knowing how to work through them before, during and after, is the key to enjoying yourself. Adrienne Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Fox 9 Relationship Expert, and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares tips for getting through your 10 or 20-year class reunion this summer.
1. Having Anxiety is NORMAL!
I guarantee you that everyone walking in the door is feeling some kind of anxiety or fear around what people will think of them. Will I be skinny enough? Am I successful enough? Are the same people that I didn’t get along with still going to hate me? Will I have anyone to talk to?
These are all very normal and rational concerns so rest assured that the majority of people in the room will be feeling the same way. Even though you’re not in high school anymore, those memories get easily triggered (good and bad) because it’s such an impressionable time in our lives.
2. Work on increasing your confidence ahead of time.
Yes, in order to manage the above-mentioned anxiety and self-esteem concerns, you need to work on it. That doesn’t mean there’s a magic wand fix specially formulated for high school reunions! What it does mean is that you need to practice a few things.
Things to consider…
- Figure out what you’ll wear ahead of time. Select something that makes you feel really good about yourself.
- If you’re not feeling as successful as your classmates, focus on what you have been up to. What are your accomplishments? Everybody is good at something so know ahead of time how you’ll respond.
- Try to find out who is attending so you’ll know if there are any potential mind fields to stay away from.
- Prepare answers that you’re comfortable with in case you find yourself in a conversation you’d rather not be having.
3. Limit your alcohol!
I know, what a buzz-kill, right?! Wrong! People do stupid things when they’re drunk and high school reunions are notorious for this. My advice is always the same no matter what type of environment you’re heading into. You always want to be able to walk away with your head held high, and no morning-after-walk-of-shame!
4. Set expectations with your partner.
Whether or not you choose to bring your significant other or spouse along for the ride, it’s imperative that you set expectations for behavior at the reunion. Reunions are really good for triggering jealousy that otherwise may not be an issue.
Things to consider:
- Is having your partner by your side the best idea?
- Get them up to speed on what’s what and who’s who.
- Apprise them of any “ex” run-ins and discuss how that should be handled.
- Discuss conduct (there’s that drinking piece again).
5. Have fun!
After all this preparation, the reality is that most of your fears and anxieties will be unfounded, and everyone is just there to have some fun. So reminisce, dance the night away, and just enjoy yourself!
For more information on Adrienne’s counseling services and free relationship tips, please visit her website at www.TheEngagementCoach.com.