HOW TO ENJOY A REUNION

HOW TO ENJOY A REUNION is the focus for today’s post. I want to post the definition of the word reunion before we get into the discussion. According to Google:

re·un·ion

rēˈyo͞onyən/
noun
  1. an instance of two or more people coming together again after a period of separation.
    “she had a tearful reunion with her parents”
    • a social gathering attended by members of a certain group of people who have not seen each other for some time.
      “a school reunion”
    • the act or process of being brought together again as a unified whole.
      “the reunion of East and West Germany”

     

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Basically there are two popular reunions:

  • Reunion of classmates, employee groups, unions, fraternities, associations, and military groups.
  • Reunion of family or close friends

 

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TIPS FOR ENJOYING YOUR CLASS REUNION. THE GUIDEPOST offered a great guide and with my 50th class reunion I thought I might benefit from these suggestions:

by – Posted on Aug 8, 2016

In my experience there are three schools of thoughts when it comes to class reunions: There are those who wouldn’t miss theirs on a bet, those who wouldn’t attend one if their lives depended on it, and the rest of us, who find the prospect of reconnecting with our former classmates both intriguing and daunting.

I’ve always taken the approach that a class reunion will definitely be interesting, and it just might prove to be fun. I attended my (gulp) 40-year reunion a few weeks back, and, like the trio of 10-year gatherings that preceded it, it was not only less painful than I might have feared, it was downright enjoyable.

Skeptical? I understand. But hear me out: Following the reunion, I turned to my classmates on the Facebook page we’d used to organize the event and asked them for tips that might help those people who were hesitant to take the plunge to enjoy the experience, and I have to say, the class of ’76 came through with flying colors. Here are 10 indispensable tips for making the most of your next reunion, even if it happens to be your first.

1. If it’s the first time you’ve attended a reunion, whether you graduated ten years ago or thirty, make plans to go with a friend.

It helps to have someone you’re close to who can serve as “home base” as you try to overcome your nerves (almost everyone experiences a bit of nervousness at a reunion) and reach out to your former classmates.

READ MORE: SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND MORE!

2. Peruse your old yearbook before you go.

This tip grows more useful with every passing decade. If you’re just ten years removed from high school, chances are pretty good that you’ll recognize everyone at the reunion, but after forty years, I can tell you from first-hand experience, not all the faces you’ll encounter will be so familiar. And when you do recognize former classmates, you may briefly struggle to recall their names. A little time with your yearbook could a long way toward alleviating both problems.

It’s also a good idea to bring your yearbook along to the reunion. Your friends who are struggling with all those not-so-familiar faces and names will thank you as they sneak a quick peek at it.

3. Use Facebook to (re)connect with folks ahead of time.

Facebook and other social media outlets have really had an impact on the reunion experience. Ten years ago, at my 30-year reunion, I had very little idea what was going on in the lives of my classmates or, in some cases, how their appearance had changed.

But this time, I was familiar going in with the basic circumstances of many of my classmates’ lives and was able to quickly move beyond the typical catch-up chatter (and in some cases, to avoid asking awkward questions) and spend some quality time with them.

READ MORE: ONE OF THE CROWD

4. Be proactive.

Don’t sit at a table waiting for classmates to approach you. It’s perfectly normal to feel shy or be nervous—everyone goes through that—but try to push past it. Just find a familiar face or two and say hello. It won’t take long at all before those nerves dissipate.

5. Introduce yourself when greeting a classmate you’ve not seen in years.

Don’t put people on the spot by asking them if they remember you. They may recognize your face right away, but still experience momentary difficulty in recalling your name. That happens to most of us at one time or another, so simply state your name when saying hello. Believe me, your former classmates will appreciate it.

6. If you sometimes feel you don’t know what to say, ask others to tell you about their lives.

As you learn about the paths your classmates have followed through life, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be inspired, and you’ll be reminded that everyone goes through good times and bad. It’s one thing we all have in common.

7. Look at everyone with new eyes and a forgiving heart.

If you encounter someone who hurt or offended you in high school, try to let bygones be bygones. Chances are, they don’t remember the incident and if they do, they are very likely now sorry for their behavior. Give everyone you encounter at the reunion a pass on the past and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how decent and kind most of your classmates have turned out to be.

8. Don’t compare your insides to anyone else’s outsides.

With each passing year, the social pressures of high school—the resentments, the rivalries, the unrequited affections—fade away, but many of us are still tempted to compare our lives with others’. You may encounter some people at your reunion who appear to be especially prosperous and happy, but we can’t always know someone else’s pain or troubles, past or present.

READ MORE: DOES NOSTALGIA MAKE YOU HAPPY?

After a decade or more, it’s a good bet that every person in the room has experienced setbacks and heartbreak as well as good times, so be happy for those who appear to be doing well, sympathetic to those who might be struggling, and embrace your own journey, wherever it has led you.

And most of all, don’t worry about your weight, your hair (or lack thereof), your wrinkles, or what you’re wearing. Before you know it, you and your classmates will all feel as if you are back in high school and you won’t even know notice the changes the years have wrought.

9. Spend time with people you didn’t know very well back in the day.

This is one aspect of reunions that can be very rewarding, especially for those of us who went to larger schools. There were more than 450 people in my graduating class, for example; there’s no way I could have been close with them all.

At the past couple of reunions, though, I’ve had the chance to become better acquainted with some former classmates I was only casually acquainted with back in the day, and it has been a gift. Not only can you reconnect with old friends at your reunion, you just might make some new ones.

10. Don’t talk politics—focus instead on the memories.

This was especially good advice for me, as my recent reunion took place during this heated election season, but it’s a good policy for any such gathering. Who needs friction when old friends have convened to celebrate the bonds they share?

If you follow the above advice, I think you’ll find your reunion to be a positive experience, one that is not only interesting but rewarding and fun.

Our thanks go out to the members of Oklahoma City’s John Marshall High School, Class of 1976, who contributed their wisdom, experience and insights to this story.

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Here is another good guide on Enjoying Your Family Reunions:

It can be different this year. Imagine walking into your next family reunion feeling excited about being there and knowing that you’ll leave feeling happy about your whole experience.

It’s your choice. You can use these five tips to make your next family gathering the experience you’ve always wanted.

Tip #1 – Decide What You Want to Experience

We call this creating an intention. If you aren’t very clear about what you do want to experience, then it will be difficult to make that happen. And it may be hard for you to even notice it when it is happening. How do you get clear about your intention? Ask yourself these questions:

“How could my family and I benefit from this?”

You might choose fun, caring and harmony. Or peacefulness: “If my experience today could only be peaceful I would walk out happy and wanting to return next time.” Take some time to imagine all the qualities that would make your next family gathering a wonderful experience for you.

“How could you and your family benefit from this quality of experience?”

Perhaps you could gain a greater sense of connection. You and your family might really look forward to seeing each other again. Or you might be more playful with one another. The time you spend identifying these benefits will help you remember your intention if things start to get challenging at the gathering.

Tip #2 – Know That People Are Doing the Best They Can

You might ask: “When Aunt Sue complains about everything under the sun, is she doing the best she can? When Dad criticizes me about every part of my life, is he doing the best he can?”

Yes. They’re doing the best they can.

Stop and think about it. Do they look like they’re having fun at these times? Are they being effective at getting what they really want? If they knew a way to take care of themselves that was more fun and that worked better at getting what they really wanted, don’t you think they would do it?

So if you get upset seeing people act the way they do, remind yourself: They’re doing the best they can. Then get back to creating what you want to experience as fast as you can.

How do you do that?

Tip #3 – Don’t Take Things Personally

“Don’t take it personally if someone says that what I’m doing is stupid?”

You can avoid taking things personally if you start with this understanding: Everything people do or say starts with a desire to support something they value.

And what could that be? Guess.

Your father says to you: “How can you possibly think that starting your own business is a smart thing to do?” He might value security, or predictability. He might be worried about how you’ll continue to pay your bills. Believe it or not, this might be his attempt to contribute to you. And, he is Doing The Best He Can.

So the next time you hear something you don’t enjoy, the next time you want to defend yourself and justify your position, STOP and remember: It’s about them. Don’t take it personally.

Instead, try to be curious. “Wow, I wonder what’s going on with them?” Imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes: “If I said or did that, what might be going on with me?” See if you can guess.

Tip #4 – Clarify Your Understanding About What Others Want

One big cause of upset between people is not being sure about what they want from each other.

Have you ever heard people express concerns or complaints like: “I just don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent this month?” Or: “I hate it when we start eating without giving thanks first.” Or maybe a family member starts talking to you about how your favorite cousin is making a mess of her life.

What happens then? Do you feel confused or uncomfortable? Do you try to justify yourself, explain the situation, or give advice?

Whenever you feel uncomfortable hearing people’s concerns or complaints, we believe this is partly caused by your not understanding what they want from you.

We suggest you start asking for clarity. Say or guess out loud what you think the other person might want from you.

Before you start, remember tips 1, 2, and 3. Get present to the intention you created for the gathering. Remember people are doing the best they can. Don’t take things personally.

Suppose cousin Jim says: “I just don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent this month.” What does he want? Ask him: “Do you want to brainstorm some ideas about how you might get your rent this month?”

Or when your grandmother says: “I hate it when we start eating without giving thanks first.” What does she want? Ask her: “Would you like to see if somebody is willing to give thanks before we eat this year?

If your guesses aren’t accurate, they’ll let you know by saying something else that gets closer to what they do want. Your guess will open the way for a conversation that can lead to more understanding and less stress for both of you.

Tip #5 – Develop Your Ability to Be Grateful

What you focus your attention on grows.

If you constantly notice things that cause you pain, then you will continue to suffer. “How inconsiderate he is.” “She doesn’t care about me.” “He’s the most selfish person I’ve ever known.”

Try focusing your attention on what you do enjoy.

It may sound simple. But ask yourself: “What would it be like if I spent my day simply noticing everything that I enjoy about being with my family?”

Imagine looking for all the things that you do enjoy, and being thankful for them. “It smells so good in here; I can’t wait to eat.” “I’m so grateful that everyone cares enough to spend time together.” “It’s nice that my mom enjoys having these gatherings at her house.”

How would you feel if you only focused your attention on the things you do enjoy?

So here’s the plan for a family reunion experience just like you’ve always wanted 1. Decide what you really do want to experience 2. Know that people are doing the best they can 3. Don’t take things personally 4. Clarify your understanding about what others want and 5. Focus on what you enjoy

Following this plan is the fastestPsychology Articles, easiest way to enjoy any family experience.

Note from Arline Miller: In all things, familiar or unfamiliar surroundings, BE YOURSELF! You have qualities and unique traits that are your own and this is the best way to reflect to others the best image. I have been in many environments and crowds and what works best for me is not to “try to work it” and do what comes naturally to me. I suggest everyone do the same. It is okay to not interject something into every conversation and give the speakers your undivided attention. It is okay to smile and laugh when it is appropriate. The biggest advice I can give is relax, move around as much as you are comfortable, and remember the other people here are friends, classmates, etc. and they are feeling the same as you. HAVE FUN!

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2017 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for reference credit. Photos are not the property of Sipping Cups unless stated.

 

 

Author: sippingcupsofinspiration

A blogger since 2012, a published author of two Five Star romance novels, A MISTRESS, A WIFE and TELL ME LIES; LOVE ME STILL and RIDDLE ME THIS, LOVE OR BLISS. Still a small town girl with a lot of experience of people watching.

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