29 Awkward And Embarrassing Things That Happened At These People’s High School Reunions

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with school reunions. On the one hand, it’s utterly awesome to see your old friends and teachers because you probably haven’t kept in touch as often as you would’ve liked to. On the other hand, some people feel a ton of pressure to impress their former classmates.

The reality is that our lives rarely turn out exactly as we had envisioned them back in school. Though we might fulfill certain dreams, we probably won’t have achieved all of our ambitions by the next big class reunion. So things can feel a bit weird when you dress up and mill around your old schoolmates, making awkward small talk. However, that awkwardness is nothing compared to what some internet users have witnessed.

Some of them spilled the tea about the most awkward and embarrassing things that they’ve ever seen at their high school reunions, in a thread on r/AskReddit. We’ve collected some of their most intensely uncomfortable stories to share with you, dear Pandas. They’ll give you a sense of perspective about real awkwardness, that’s for sure.

Bored Panda wanted to learn why people feel so much pressure to impress others at school reunions, so we reached out to Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., the host of the mental health advice podcast ‘Baggage Check,’ and the bestselling author of ‘Detox Your Thoughts.’  

We also got in touch with social psychologist Laura Martocci, Ph.D., the founder of ‘The Emotion Spa.’ She was kind enough to share some practical advice on how to deal with someone trying to embarrass you at school reunions and explained how humor and ‘owning’ uncomfortable situations empower you. Read on for both of our interviews.


Not me but my BIL's highschool reunion.

A guy that was severely bullied in highschool started a Facebook group to get the ball rolling on planning a highschool reunion, he planned the venue, food, drinks and asked everyone pay a ticket price to cover it all.

He organised the money go into a provided bank account, received 200+ peoples HS reunion dollarydoos and f****d off. Never to be heard of again.

Ive never laughed so hard in my life.

Image credits: jacksake1

According to Bonior, the host of the ‘Baggage Check’ podcast and the author of ‘Detox Your Thoughts,’ there are several reasons why people feel so much pressure to impress others at their school reunions.

“These are the people that they went through adolescence with—the time of life where they wanted most to fit in, and wondered if they measured up, and compared themselves constantly. So the presence of those same people can be a trigger back to that same mindset,” she explained that this is similar to going back to your parents’ house after moving out. Doing this can make you take on the old role of feeling like a child.

“Also, the passage of time that goes on before a reunion is a reality check about what you are doing with your life, and how much you are ‘supposed’ to have progressed in the time since— the comparisons get even tougher because you are expected to have something to ‘show’ for these years since you were last in high school, and you might wonder whether you have interesting enough stories to talk about, or impressive enough achievements,” she said.


I play in a band. We got booked by a restaurant "for some class reunion". I show up to set up for the gig & it's my f*****g class. I wasn't even invited.

Image credits: Gonzostewie


At my 10th, the organizers gave "awards" to people for various reasons. One girl from our class was given an award for having the "most kids" of anyone there. She'd had 4 by different guys which was part of the announcement. The look on her face as she slinked up to the podium said it all.

Image credits: Surullian

Meanwhile, some alumni might be incredibly self-conscious about the physical ways that they’ve changed, e.g. aging, losing hair, and gaining weight. ‘They don't want to see the ‘shocked’ look on someone's face when they are seen, especially if it was someone they were romantically connected to,” Bonior told Bored Panda.

We were interested in what might help someone feel less pressure at events like school reunions. According to Bonior, it’s essential that you remind yourself that this is just going to be the ‘public’ snapshot of someone’s life. Very much like posting something on social media. You never know what the actual story is, just beneath the surface. 

“The person with the fanciest shoes might be massively in debt, the person with the attractive partner might be on the verge of divorce, the person with the impressive career might be hated by their coworkers and about to be fired.”

Meanwhile, the perspective that you might want to consider having when you go to your reunion is seeing it as your opportunity to make new memories in the way that you want. It’s your chance to connect with the people you find interesting and enjoyable, “not as your obligation to perform for others or impress them.”


When i was like 6 i went to my dad small town 30(?) yr reunion. His ex fiancé (not my mom) was dressed in her prom dress. And kept talking to me saying she should have been my mommy. Even then i knew that was weird. Keep your crazy in lady

Image credits: honey579badger


Someone made a speech along the lines of, "...to all of those that felt picked on or bullied, I have something to say to you." She then started to sing"Let it go" from Frozen.

Image credits: feralturtles


A guy from our class passed away from cancer shortly before our 20th reunion. He was never super popular but was pretty well known across our class. During the awards/speech section of the night, the lady (our class president, I think) was trying to get the crowd to settle down for a moment of silence. You could tell it meant a lot to her as she started getting heated. The crowd started shushing one another, and it got just quiet enough to hear somebody say 'geez, did somebody die or something?'

Image credits: badideas1

“So many people have the same insecurities that it becomes a waste of energy to dwell so much on what others are thinking—they are thinking about how they come across!” Bonior said, adding that you should aim to have a few interesting conversations and “if you need to cut the night short, give yourself permission to.” That last part, we feel, is absolutely essential. 

Bored Panda also reached out to social psychologist Martocci. The founder of ‘The Emotion Spa’ answered a couple of our questions on how to deal with embarrassment in a way that empowers you. After all, many of us have a low-key fear that someone will end up telling embarrassing stories about us from our past, at our next high school reunion.

Martocci told Bored Panda to imagine something that would embarrass you if a former classmate publicly ‘remembered’ it at your reunion. An example of this could be someone calling you by your thoroughly embarrassing school nickname (‘pizza-face’) which your crush gave you 

The social psychologist suggested taking a step back, avoiding getting “tangled up in uncomfortable feelings” that are bound to be rushing back, and asking yourself a few important questions. “What might make a former classmate try to embarrass me? Make him or her, (either overtly, or in a passive-aggressive way), ridicule me in front of others?”


10 year reunion held at a bar owned by former classmate; started at 10 pm. Owner told people adults over 21 only. People said they needed to bring their kids and were told no.

Several people brought their babies and toddlers anyway. Parents drank like teenagers and the kids ran wild. Owner called cops who watched the parents be negligent. Parents escorted out by some cops and their kids were taken out by others.

Image credits: WeedleBeest


People coming up to me asking me what's up and seem to know a whole deal about me while I have no memory of who they are at all.

Image credits: RubyWhiteArt


Oh, MY time to shine! The beautiful cheerleader twins got SO wasted at our 20th reunion one of them puked on the table and the other got so drunk she fell out of the photo booth. Their daughters had to carry them out.

Image credits: FROCKbFINE

Martocci explained to us that public ridicule is “the same power-play that bullies used in the hallways, cafeterias, and buses all those years ago.” Your former classmates whom you meet at the reunion might bully/try to embarrass you or someone else because they want popularity, respect, and social power.

“One way to achieve these ends is to create power imbalances by shaming someone (you!). And, if their ridicule is endorsed by the laughter of others, it is devastating,” she noted that even laughter that might not be intended as cruelty can be devastating. That’s when you should ask yourself how you can interrupt their play for power.

The answer is a straightforward but powerful one: your ‘acceptance’ of the ‘shameful memory that someone’s sharing. “Smile, and laugh along. How can they follow up with some further disparagement if you seem unphased?” Martocci said.

“Think about it this way: how you would feel if someone else were being publicly ridiculed in front of you? Would they seem a loser or a fool for simply shrugging their shoulders over the past? Or would their ‘acceptance’ make the classmate who made the comment seem a bit pathetic?” You don’t necessarily have to smile though. A simple eye-roll or saying ‘whatever’ can stop the conversation.


My wife (at the time) and I had dated all through HS and college. We married and had a child. We still had a few close friends we graduated with that were going as well. I would say there was about a 70% turnout. We had a good time and everyone got pretty drunk. We all mingled and my wife talked to a guy who she had cheated on me with right after HS. They didn't speak for more that 3 minutes. They hadn't spoke since that day almost 10 years before. We had moved passed it and had a family, at least that's what I thought. Less than a month after the reunion I could tell that something wasn't right, when I asked her about it she told me she wasn't happy and wanted a divorce. We had been together for a VERY long time and I was devastated. After a week of feeling like I had failed and doing everything I could to win her back I discovered she had been having an affair with that same guy.

Image credits: DrMonkey7


A guy and a gal that never dated in high school, went out to the parking lot and hooked up. 9 months later she had a kid, he denied it was his, paternity test proved it was.

Image credits: Actionjack7


Two of our classmates passed away before our five year reunion. One of the girls organizing the event thought it would be a good idea to make cardboard cutouts of their faces, as if “they were truly still here with us.” The worst part was that people got drunk and started toting them around, taking pictures with them. It was f****d up.

Image credits: greenVneck

Martocci explained to Bored Panda exactly what laughing along and ‘owning’ those uncomfortable feelings does. The first thing that happens is that you feel empowered. The social psychologist shared that saying something like, “Ha, yeah, I wouldn’t want that on my highlight reel” can stop your classmate’s power-play.

You can also ‘own’ the awkward memories by admitting that you were whatever they said. Or you can say, “So what? We were all young and did stupid things.” That’ll stop the conversation in its tracks!

The power of humor in these sorts of awkward situations can’t be understated. Martocci pointed out that laughing along with everyone else “gets you beyond social isolation and vulnerability—you are not being laughed at, you are laughing with.”

So you go from awkward, embarrassing, and isolating experiences to taking control of what the events of the past mean. “It seems counter-intuitive to ‘admit’ a weakness, but it is a technique of resistance. You don’t allow the arrow to hit its mark,” she said.


When my lady teacher came up to me, kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me. She was very drunk. I felt very awkward.

Image credits: smanbot


My 10 yr HS reunion was last year (technically 11yr, graduated in ‘06). Anyways, a bunch of us girls planned it and I had the idea to dig through some old school stuff from MS/HS. So I did, and found some old year books ranging from 5th grade up to senior year. So I brought them with and we were all sitting around looking at them (probably about 40-50 people showed up) when people started coming up to me pointing out things I had written in the year books. I failed to look at these books before I brought them and I apparently had wrote ALL OVER so many people that I hated in middle school. It was horrible. All I could do was apologize and tell them I was apparently a raging b***h in middle school. It was bad.

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The whole thing was just awkward, people were trying to show how much more 'successful' they are than everybody else, some even going so far as asking people what their salaries were.

I skipped out early and never went to the following ones.

Image credits: Reapr

“If you are not embarrassed/shamed, you control the narrative around the incident. You refuse to be a character—e.g. a fool or a loser—in their story. Your response decides how it will be interpreted—and you will be seen—going forward,” she told Bored Panda.

It’s hard to laugh at yourself and to practice ‘owning it’ at first because it feels like you’ll be inviting further ridicule down the line. However, that’s not the case. Martocci suggested trying the approach: “It is both uncomfortable and liberating.”

“Owning it and laughing along ‘puts the ball back in their court.’ Shrugging your shoulders and laughing along, while commenting ‘god you’re such a jerk for remembering that,’ dispels the social discomfort—it turns the awkwardness back on the former classmate who tried to embarrass you,” the social psychologist noted that the best defense is a good offense.


Apparently, every year, my brother's graduating class gets together at this one neighborhood bar over thanksgiving. It's not a formal thing, but anyone can come and they all have a few drinks and it's totally normal. I literally had no idea about it, and apparently my brother didn't either, because three or four years ago we showed up to get a drink together alone and his entire graduating class of 50-ish people were there.

Now, my brother was super nerdy and kind of an awkward kid, but the Marines and college turned that around and now he's a outgoing, sociable guy. Coming out of the closet once he hit 23 helped too, since he was comfortable in his own skin and it showed outwardly.

Thing was, no one seemed to know he was gay. And this is small town in the midwest, where there's nothing else to do but gossip and since no one leaves, everyone knows everyone else. I literally spent all night cringing, while my brother dodged the advances of a bunch of girls aggressively hitting on him. Since the dating pool is the same guys they went to high school with and he was fresh meat, they were all coming on super strong and it was bad. Then everything got even worse when he told them he was living on the east coast because he was gay and married, and his husband's job was there.

Image credits: 2354PK


Haven't had a high school reunion yet, but here's a fun one from my Mom's third reunion.

She went with my dad back to her hometown for the reunion. My dad grew up in a different place, so he didn't know anybody there. Bored out of his mind, he decided to have some fun and found a way to discreetly ask someone who the biggest juvenile deliquent, troublemaker was in their graduating class.

Let's call him... Albert Davis.

So, my dad went to the nametag table and found Albert Davis's nametag. He put it on and went around saying hi to everyone just to watch their reactions, because most of them assumed that Albert Davis was in prison.

My mom did not think it was funny.

Image credits: anon


At my 10 year reunion it was more everyone getting really pissed. At the 20th there were a few people seemingly bitter at those who had done pretty well in life, odd really

Image credits: BadDiplomat

It’s natural that we want to impress other people. Human beings are social animals, and reputation means a lot. We want to be loved, respected, and adored! It’s a very natural desire. So when we fall short of the expectations that others have for us (or the expectations that we imagine they have), we can feel uncomfortable. As though we’ve failed or let somebody down.

This might explain why some people put on fancy clothes and boast so much at school reunions. They might be presenting a slightly better version of their life because they want to leave a good impression. Ironically, most people care so much about what others think of them that they don’t focus all that much on how their former classmates are doing in life. Oh, we definitely judge others, but we tend to care more about how others might perceive us. We’re sometimes our very worst critics even if we might be doing perfectly fine.

People judge others automatically for a wide range of reasons. For example, this helps us understand ourselves better in relation to others: we start working out where we fit in, in society; we reevaluate our ambitions and aspirations while figuring out what kind of future we’d like to avoid. Others might judge people to feel better about their lives by positioning themselves as ‘superior’ to others. Others still judge in order to fit in. Meanwhile, some individuals have a hard time coming to terms with their flaws and mistakes, so they attack others as a defensive reaction.


5 year reunion, took my husband. Guy who liked me freshman year (then never talked civilly to me again) told me he was going to die alone and unloved behind a dumpster. Note: He had been a popular football player, I was a social outcast.

Image credits: kjbrasda


My friend said her cousin's high school reunion was really awkward because this guy ran up and kissed his high school girlfriend without her asking and then got in a fist fight with her husband, did not turn out well from what I hear.

Image credits: JustaReverseFridge


At our 15th they asked, then gave out prizes for the person who'd traveled the farthest to attend, traveled the least far to attend, had the newest car, the oldest car, the youngest child . . . The look on the MC's face when he realized what asking for the oldest child would mean . . .

Image credits: anon

Used mindfully, judging others can help us stay aligned with our values and be more self-aware of how we fit into society. What you want to avoid is passing judgment on people as a way to hurt them or as a means to avoid thinking about your own mistakes.

Some of the best things that teachers can do to help their students achieve their potential are to support and encourage them throughout their time in school, while also providing them with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills. Something else that can help immensely is when educators provide their students with access to their professional networks. This can help them get started with university applications or take their very first steps on their career paths. A little bit of help goes a long way. 


Got invited by Facebook message (we’re not friends on fb) by one of the girls who made pretty much the whole time I was there a living hell. Didn’t attend obviously, because everyone I wanted to keep in touch with I did - but got a “aw sorry we missed you hun, we should do lunch soon!” message.

But, why? Selective memory, orrrrr?

Image credits: jinxsays


I was there with a guy friend when he saw his ex. They approached each other - him going in for a hug and her extending her hand to shake. When they each realized what the other was doing, she put her arms out for a hug, and he extended his hand to shake. By the time they touched, it was just a jumble of hands and arms weirdly touching each other.

He started by saying, “Sooooo...how have you been?” I just said, “Uhhh, excuse me...” and got the hell away from them.

Image credits: FakeNewsLiveUpdate


At my 10th (year) HS reunion, a guy I hated and who hated me showed up and came directly toward me. Not saying anything at all to me he then engaged the person standing right next to me on my left. He proceeded to move around the room talking to literally everyone there (only 33 people in my class), and stopping with the person on my right. Didn’t so much as acknowledge my existence the whole rest of the day. It was super weird at the time, but many years later it was the most memorable thing that happened. I laugh about it now.

Edited to clarify 10 year reunion.

Image credits: otterdisaster

Odds are that some of the people from your school will have made it big. (If that’s you, dear Pandas, congratulations! We’re happy for you.) Maybe they’ve started up their own business. Perhaps they’re a celebrity known around the world. Or they might have traveled the world, become renowned writers, musicians, or artists, or been to space. Or all of that put together.

When meeting up with them at your school reunion, try to avoid being starstruck. Be yourself because they’re looking for a bit of normality in their lives, since they’re usually in the spotlight. Compliment their work and have fun. 

It’s impossible to say with certainty who’s going to become famous and successful for sure, however, there are some early indicators that can help you figure out which of your school friends has the biggest chance. Charisma, perseverance and resilience, diligence and self-discipline, conscientiousness—these are all character traits that matter far more than raw intelligence. Personality, how you relate to others, and how well you bounce back from failure are all essential to success.

Remember that it’s never too late to aim for your goals. Your school days might be behind you, but you’ve got the rest of your life in front of you to make your dreams and ambitions come true.


The captain of the football team was a pretty sad sight. He looked like hell and was so proud of sneaking booze in with his flask.

I mean, it was a cash bar but the prices were reasonable…

Image credits: lorum_ipsum_dolor


I went to my wife's last reunion a few months ago. The day of the reunion she got a call that it was cancelled. Apparently, five years earlier a classmate got creepy and stalkery with another classmate. The people organizing the reunion invited him not to show up. Then the guy posted on facebook some vague threats. They did actually change the venue and have the reunion, but there were many people that couldn't be contacted with the updated info.

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I went with my wife to her reunion. I may have had one or three before arriving, and when I got there I remembered hearing a story of a guy who was my wife's 3rd grade boyfriend. Later in life he had a rough time of things--drugs, alcohol, run-ins with the law, etc.

As a joke, I wrote his name on my name badge and went about my business. Not long after, a rather strong and stocky woman turned around, looked at me, then at my name tag. When she saw the name she looked up at me, screamed excitedly as loud as I've ever heard, bear-hugged me while lifting me off the ground, and bit my neck. No blood, but decent bruise.

Image credits: Doc-in-a-box


My mom’s 35th high school reunion was at a bar that I frequent quite a bit... I walked in with my mom and went up to a bartender that I know to order a drink for my mom and I. He looked up at my mother and I and immediately got super shy and weird and then said, YOURE THE DAUGHTER OF (my mom’s name)???

Apparently he had a huge crush on my mom in high school and my uncle beat the s**t out of him because he creeped my mom out.

Very awkward indeed.

Image credits: merkmill


The lighting was dim, we were old, and some nitwit decided to let people scrawl their own name tags which then hung on lanyards at crotch level. Nobody could hear anything over the snot-nose DJ blasting “Eye of the Tiger” and trying to figure out who you were talking to was pretty awkward.

Image credits: jobrody