High school reunions are wild. Not only is it really bizarre for the students who see their peers all grown up, but it's also just as weird for the teachers. The people who saw you at your most confusing, vulnerable time, now seeing who you've become. Here are some stories from the teachers' perspective.
u/ReallySmartHamster asked: Teachers who regularly get invited to high school reunions, what are the most amazing transformations, common patterns, epic stories, saddest declines etc. you've seen through the years?
My grandpa invited his English teacher from high school to their 60th HS reunion. She was 97 at the time (101 now) and is sharp as a tack. She had a wonderful time seeing everyone and even remembered a good portion of her students, but did mention that it was disheartening to see students of hers who have died or are suffering from dementia.
Dress to impress.Giphy
Common patterns are that the 10 year reunion, they all show up with the intention to impress - fancy clothes are the norm, many women look as if they went to the salon to have their hair styled, spouses are primped in a similar fashion (and also brought to the reunion).
By the next reunion, usually the class has lost at least one person unexpectedly so there is always the tribute table and the mood is more about reminiscing about old times than trying to impress each other. Dress is usually more casual and less presence of spouses (unless they are graduates of the same high school).
He has a good memory.
I know that this is a reach-out to teachers but I want to do a shout-out to a teacher.
I attended only my 20th year reunion in 1999, and only because I had to return home to my family because my step-mother was dying. I had left town the day after graduation and never looked back.
A math teacher who taught calculus and coached football was so amazing in our school and our community that the whole town had created a day devoted to him and named it "Garvin Day." He was retiring that year.
He was a man of quiet intensity. I remember his catching me and some friends smoking in the boiler room and he looked at each of us intently. "I don't think that's very smart to smoke in here. I'd have thought y'all were smarter than this."
It was a Catholic college prep school with very strict rules that had any other teacher caught us, we would have been expelled.
Coach Garvin had such patience in his ways, and he worked every angle to get us to understand math. He listened and when he spoke, he spoke to each one of us.
So on the day I roll up to the school, there was a line the whole length of the football field to say hey to Coach Garvin. I couldn't wait to see him although I doubted he'd remember little ole me after 20 years!
It took me almost an hour to hear him speak my name, as he had spoken each other name of every one of us in that line I imagine.
"How have you been? What have you been doing? You still smoking?"
I missed my 10 years reunion but I went to 15 years.
As some said, most people came to impress others. I don't care, I was there to see a guy I was friends with in school. He was a very intelligent dude, but clearly had a problem with authorities. When we got older, he worked as a chemist and also liked drugs. Back in the days, we used to smoke pot regularly but he found other friends and things for worse. Like cooking-meth-and-get-your-door kicked-in-weekly-by-cops-or-russians-worse. Last thing I heard, he went to jail for a couple of years.
When I met him at the reunion, he was also happy to see me. We talked almost the whole evening, it was great. What I liked the most, he found a wife when he got out of jail, she supported him to get rid of an heroin-addiction he got in jail and he's a proud father of two kids. Nice transformation.
Nothing to be ashamed of.Giphy
I was one of the valedictorians and got voted most likely to become president, I dated the same guy most of the way through high school and married him in college.
10 years down the way, I was divorced and on disability for mental illness. I was actually afraid to go to the reunion because things were TOTALLY different. I don't know why, but I seriously thought people would think bad of me for getting a divorce.
Our school did something interesting for the reunion. One part was a formal sit down dinner that cost something like $80. But another part was a free BBQ down at the local park. I went to the freebie. Everyone was pretty casual. Very few of the former popular crowd came - guess they just wanted to show off at the formal dinner.
Lots of other people there had been honors students and had also gotten a harsh smack in the face by life. Lots of the valedictorians and honors students failed out of college by sophomore year. I know a couple of them had gone through rehab. I was surprised to find I wasn't the only one who was mentally ill - we'd all apparently been REALLY good at hiding it in high school.
A lot of people got into fields no one would have pegged them for. The shyest girl worked as a pharma rep, scrawny dorky kid was now absolutely ripped and in the military. I'd been known as a writer and journalist, but I know several people were surprised to hear I'd primarily worked as a computer tech.
So I'd worked myself up for nothing. I was glad I went. I'm guessing the school didn't bother to do anything for 20th or 25th, or maybe the former popular kids decided having a free event again was gauche.
There was a kid in my high school who was, for lack of a better term, a huge f*ck up. Lots of drugs, really overweight, constantly getting suspended, getting in fights, trouble with the law, etc.
So I show up to my 10 year reunion, And there is this guy there that nobody recognizes. Tall, long hair, muscular, pretty good looking. It's the same guy. Literally none of us could picture him so he had to show us old photos on his phone. He told me that after high school he got a job cleaning pools, which "saved his life" according to him. It was really tough work which got him in shape, and helped him kick drugs and gave him a purpose. Eventually he started his own pool cleaning business and has since expanded it enough that he makes fantastic money and doesn't even work 40 hours a week, and it's still growing.
It sounded like he had some demons to work through, but he literally went from being somebody we all kinda expected to spend his life in jail, to arguably being the best looking guy at the reunion, making more money than almost anyone there, and just having a huge turnaround. Probably the biggest talk of the night, and honestly, I think everyone was really impressed. I know I was. He deserved all the kudos he got.
We got in contact via 'friendsreunited' (if anyone remembers that) and I was chatting with a couple of people in the weeks leading up to the reunion
I was making jokes about seeing a girl - Carol - who everyone wanted to 'be friends' with. Making jokes about how she was a flirt and probably had been through a couple of husbands by now, when someone informed me that she had died of cancer at age 20
Once at the reunion, I asked 'whatever happened to Gary L'... Gary was a joker, he was friends with everyone and, somehow, able to fit in with all the different factions at school.
I was told that Good ol' Gary was in prison, on multiple counts of Possession of CP.
All I know is I got super drunk with my favorite teacher at our 5-year reunion. She's amazing. She's a romance writer, not above a stupid prank, and a ton of fun. It's not the only time we got drunk together. Seeing different a side to teachers is interesting as an adult.
Awwww that's so great.
Our school had a 3 strike rule, even to drugs. I was the supply teacher that people liked and talked to, I helped a kid when his parents were on drugs, it turned out he was on drugs too. Weeks after that he just looked tired and worn out.
Next time I see him he's happy, cheerful and a great looking guy he would no longer have to keep his head down, he was no longer the weird kid that everyone stays away from.
I ran into my old math teacher who thought I was a complete dummy a few months ago. He's not a teacher anymore, runs a tire shop.
He was pretty shocked that I'm doing very well in life.
I wouldn't either.Giphy
Since I was still in school, I couldn't wait to attend my reunions; I imagined we're all finally our fully developed selves, over the pettiness and cliques, able to converse as adults.
I flew across the country to attend my 10th reunion. It was small, and awkward, and there were a LOT of single moms with 10-year-olds. It was in our town's local bro-pub. No one spoke to me then either.
Did not attend 20th.
Good for him.
My first two years there was a kid who was very troubled. Complete disruption, immature, defiant. He was caught selling Xanax, was almost put up for expulsion and graduated after doing just enough independent study work...
A few years later he showed up to the reunion a completely different person. Tall, in shape, confident, well-spoken and he had just passed his exam to become an x-ray technician. He had very normal conversations with staff members and I about budgeting so he could save up for a nicer house and other appropriate topics. If you'd have known this kid when he was in his teens never in a billion years would you have thought you'd have that kind of conversation with him. Very proud of him.
A lot can relate.
At my 40th I was stunned at the number of classmates in recovery. Being in recovery brought together classmates who 49 years earlier had nothing in common.
Sometimes you just move on.Giphy
Only half of my class showed up for the 10 year. We are supposed to have my 20 year this year, but I doubt it will even happen. Even if we weren't dealing with a global pandemic, I don't think anyone really gives a sh*t. I went to a small (for NJ) Catholic high school; we had a tight class, but most of us just moved on with our lives to care much.
Went to my 30th in November, flew there just to go to the reunion. Reconnected with my favorite teacher from high school, who was the same age I am now when she taught me. Told her she had to go to the reunion and she had a blast.
So glad I went especially in light of everything now. Made a point of telling the people who were good and kind to me what they did and how it still impacts me.
There are few things more annoying than when you are seeking advice and someone responds with a boring platitude that helps no one. Believe it or not, if you choose to provide advice, it needs to be specific to the situation and shouldn't be dressed up in trite phrasing. Does saying, "Keep your head up" actually contribute anything if that's all you have to say when someone comes to you in search of a listening ear?
But this goes deeper than just advice, to be fair. Some of us are sick of greedy corporations that stress the importance of being a "family" while refusing to pay proper wages. Still more of us are tired of people using certain language when other language can suffice.
After Redditor BensReddits asked the online community, "What is a phrase you absolutely hate hearing?" people shared their stories.
"At any sort of conference..."
At any sort of conference/gathering/presentation:
"How're you all doing today?!? C'mon, I know you can answer louder than that! HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING TODAY?!"
Instant resentment every time.
I second that resentment.
I attended a conference once where the main speaker did this several times in the span of thirty minutes as he announced different initiatives.
Such a headache.
"At my work..."
At my work upper management has started using the word "activate" a lot. As in, "We are working on plans to activate underutilized spaces." And, "Let's activate a few other teams on this." It just sounds silly to me and like they are trying too hard to avoid using simple, perfectly adequate language.
I'll take your "activate" and give you...
What is wrong with the word "use"?
"I was born in Australia..."
"Your English is so good!"
Thank you, I was born in Australia and English is literally my first language. My standard response these days is, "Oh thank you, yours too!"
This one is especially annoying...
...if you're not alabaster white.
This is a big one:
"Where are you from? No I mean where are you from."
Also annoying if you're not alabaster white.
"Someone saying to a teenager..."
Someone saying to a teenager, "These are the best years of your life!" I am in my mid-40s now and most people my age remember high school as horrible and awkward. The more appropriate thing to say is, "Hang in there kid! I promise life gets better. Just get through adolescence the best you can."
High school sucked.
My life vastly improved in my 20s. Let's not convince teenagers that they have nothing to look forward to after high school's over and done with.
"That's nothing... " when I tell them something only for them to turn it onto a competition and say something worse that happened to them.
The chronic one-upper.
"But she's your mother!"
Yeah, well she should've acted like one.
"I've heard it from people..."
"When you have your own children you'll understand."
I've heard it from people who don't understand that I want nothing more than my own family but being pregnant will kill me, and when I bring up adoption as a valid way of having children they'll buckle down on that phrase as to say adopted kids are not the same. It's disheartening to hear as a formal foster child and has reinforced my beliefs that no one really saw me as enough. Why would you say that to someone? All kids are the same and those without kids shouldn't be dismissed.
"I lost my daughter..."
"God has a plan" or "It happened for a reason."
I lost my daughter when I was 36 weeks in because of a sudden placental abruption followed by a uterine rupture, lost 2.2 litres of blood. I can't carry again without risking the child or myself. And I had to listen to a variety of phrases that made me want to hit those people. Those two were the worst. Followed by "You can try again" or "Did you get the child baptized?" (got this one only once though).
"Who on earth..."
"When are you going to have kids?"
Who on earth are you to not only insist I should stop and redirect my whole life for kids, but then put me on the spot and make up a timetable to change my whole life? Not everyone wants kids.
Now that you've learned a thing or two...
...you could say that all of the responses here are an exceptional opportunity to improve your social skills.
Have some of your own stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Dating is difficult––and truth be told, I don't know how anyone can do it right now, what with a pandemic going on and all. Just the thought stresses me out. Dating is especially hard for people who defy expectations in a heteronormative society. Take bisexuals, for example.
Bisexuals have been open about their struggles maintaining relationships with both men and women, even having to lie about their sexuality if they want to date certain people.
"I feel like if I end up in a straight relationship, I'll look like I was just experimenting all these years, but if I end up in a gay relationship people will say I was never actually bisexual," one man told the BBC in 2019. "Then if I don't have a monogamous relationship people will say I'm just greedy."
Indeed, the pressure to be either gay or straight can be a lot to navigate. After Redditor Trevor-on-Reddit asked the online community, "Bisexual people who have dated both genders, what are some notable differences you've learned about dating both men and women?" bisexuals spoke candidly about their experiences. Take note: You might learn something new.
We all know someone who really cannot figure out even the most basic thing without copious amounts of help. But when you meet someone who is completely and totally past all help, how do you even begin to try to help them get along?
Most of the time, they will just be flustered, or they won't listen. And you have to just stand Idly by and watch them fail.
What is your "This person has no idea how the real world works" moment?
Here were some of those stories.
The Boot, Not The Camp
When I was in boot camp, some kid put his letter addressed to 'mom' with no address attatched.
I was gonna say that its not that stupid for a very young kid to do that, but then I realized you said boot camp and not summer camp.
Don't Steal Dangerous Chemicals
A student working part time at my laboratory at a University came into my office and asked "so what all can I eat in the refrigerator, I didn't know I was supposed to bring my own lunch". I looked at him, stunned and replied "nothing, that food is what people brought for their own lunch, but you can use my grub hub to order". He DID NOT UNDERSTAND. It took 4 tries to get him to realize he can't just eat someone else's lunch.
Same student: I walked into the lab room and told him I made a full pot of coffee in the office and he could help himself. Him: "a pot of coffee? What's that?" He never used a coffee maker other than a Kuerig before and didn't even know it was a thing.
He was fired a month later for stealing chloroform.
No Ma'am, Like, REAL Bears
At a national park, the park ranger says "stay on the trails, there are bears in the area."
One lady says "isn't that dangerous? Why aren't they in their cages?"
"Ma'am, we're not a zoo."
These people are lucky to make it out of bed every day.
Sleeping On The Job
I lived with some Japanese exchange students during the final summer of college. They were really nice girls, but one of them (Mari) (~19 years old) obviously had no idea how anything worked. She spoke the best English and I was tutoring some of the other girls, while they helped me with my Japanese.
But Mari would constantly call me to come to get her because she thought we had free buses (all the buses). After all, we were students. That wasn't the issue. I could deal with that. It was a whole new culture. She was learning.
But what happened that made me realize Mari could not be left on her own was when she ended up in Eloy, Arizona. Which was ~400 miles and five hours from where we were. She had been talking to some guy on campus, he said he was visiting family in Arizona, and she said "I want to go."
He just took her with him, and she went without even telling us. She had just assumed the guy would take her back, but he said he couldn't because he was staying in Arizona. So I had to arrange a ticket, get her on the bus via the phone, and then pick her up two hours away because she missed her second bus by napping.
How...? What...? Huh...?
Had a friend who was in some uncredited scam online college for her master's degree in medical billing or something. She was on a loan program that was sending her about $5k every 3 months directly to her via check in the mail.
This was her only source of income. She kept calling it a grant that didn't need to be paid back. She was flat broke as a joke for 2 months but then the check would come in and she would be living the good life for a few weeks before being poor again.
We tried to do an intervention and show her the insane interest rate that would be back dated as soon as her "school" was done but she didn't want anyone to bust her free money dreams.
She just kept talking about all the money she would eventually be making billing insurance companies...turns out she wasn't even logging in to the online college or even attempting to get this degree.
She thought the money was free, the degree was automatic and the job was guaranteed. Some people are beyond help.
Such Brilliant. So Money. Wow
My boss told me about a friend of his, who told him af a "life hack". She would get her bills in the mail, NOT pay them, and then wait a couple of months to pay. Then she would cry so the debt collectors would feel bad and waive the fees for not paying on time. That was her "brilliant life hack"
Himbo Rights Activist
The other day, my 18yo brother-in-law got married to his highschool sweetheart in a parking garage so that they can live off campus at college together.
Girlfriend's, now wife, mother is an ordained minister. His parents, my in-laws, were very upset and he couldn't understand why because "it's just a fake marriage for school". Oh no, sweet boy. You are MARRIED. I just laughed and laughed. I love him dearly. He is a dumb*ss.
And yet somehow they are there to add these stories to our dull, dull days.
A dude (18 yo) in boot camp got a letter from home and I can see he is agitated. Being 22 and concerned for his well-being, I asked him if he wanted to talk about it. (I'm thinking a Dear John letter or the Mom and Dad divorcing letter.)
He dead *ss told me that his younger brother got a Mercedes for his birthday and that he was pissed bc he "only got a BMW". Can't remember what I said, but I knew boot camp was gonna knock down. (It did.)
Who Pays Your Bills?
When my roommate, who never once paid for rent or groceries or anything, turned down the only job offer they have ever gotten, in front of me, TWICE.
They were so desperate they called him twice, offering good pay, during covid, and he had the gaul to say no in front of me. His excuse was "nah I'm sure there's something better. $20 an hour is garbage in this city" -_-
Just Read ONE Parenting Book
I worked for a clueless couple who had no idea how to raise a kid. He wore the same outfit everyday for a month until I gently suggested that he needs new clothes. His parents asked me "Where can we get baby clothes?" This was slightly hilarious given that they lived above a Target and next to a baby boutique.
I had to have the same conversation once the child was old enough for solid foods. I was asked "Where can we get baby food?" I had to explain that most grocery stores carry a baby aisle, or that she can mash up her own fruits at home for the baby. This family decided that sour cream would be a great first food for their baby!
I'll mention that this was a wealthy family who went on vacation at least 2-3 times a month. By far the weirdest thing they did was try and drop off Grandma at daycare along with the baby.
Stories like this make you feel like the most well-equipped, with it person alive, right?
We're all well aware of the weird, horrible, predatory things men do when attracted to women. But what about when women are the culprits?
Though it seems that, statistically, men are problematic at a WAY higher rate than women, there are certainly times where the person bringing the creepy vibes is, indeed, the woman.
Some men of Reddit gathered to share the most bizarre and uncomfortable things a woman has ever said.
AidenTheGamer14 asked, "Men of Reddit, what is the creepiest thing a girl has ever said or done to you?"
For some, it was the stalkers.
The cryptic behavior and frightening detective work of ex-lovers can be unparalleled.
Some Light Sleuthing
"Found out my address from the phone book, this was the 90s, sat outside my house for multiple nights, all night just watching my house, I live in the middle of the woods miles outside of town."
"We only had one date and agreed to leave it at that. I found out sometime later what she had been doing."
"Girl I was dating asked if I had changed the locks since breaking up with my ex months prior. I'm like 'No, but she wasn't a crazy person so I never worried about it.' She says if I don't change the locks she ain't comfortable sleeping over, so I change the locks."
"This ex sends me an angry text the next day 'So you changed your locks huh? Real nice a**hole.' So she had been coming over this whole time and doing who knows what."
She Stopped at Nothing
"She kept writing me letters at every address I lived at during that five-year period. If she didn't have the address she'd send them care of my parents. The most memorable is the one where she told me she was married and 'he's a great guy but he's not you.' "
"Once not long after I'd moved to a new address I came home and found a box of cookies she'd FedExed to me. Eventually I moved to a new state. I knew from her return addresses that she lived and worked there, and was worried we'd run into each other but realized that was pretty unlikely."
"Then after less than a year, she found me through a blog I was keeping and left a message on my voicemail demanding we meet. I posted a message to her on my blog telling her to stop harrassing me or I'd call the police (up to that point I'd been ignoring her, hoping she'd take the hint). That night she called, I repeated my threat to bring the authorities in, and I haven't heard from her since."
Others dealt with the creepiness on the internet. With so many avenues of communication all around us, uncomfortable comments can come from all directions.
"Someone I considered a friend started to grow feelings for me, but when she found out I had a girlfriend and I didn't feel the same for her she found out who my girlfriend was somehow. She then DM'd her and tried to tell her that I was cheating on her with her."
"Luckily I was with her when she got that DM so I could explain the situation and then we blocked her. Next day she DM'd her again from an alt account."
Worst Kind of Pen Pal
"I started a new job, and I shared a small office with a woman my age (and a couple other people). She was kinda cute but also weird and super naïve (she grew up in a very rural area). She'd flirt with me a lot, but I wasn't interested."
"So she started sending me emails."
"They were super long, detailing her whole day. And she sent them to me every day. I never responded. Then one day she sent me this long email confessing her love. I replied with the (very obvious) reasons why it wouldn't work and asked her to stop sending me emails every day. She didn't."
"They kept coming. This went on for months. I asked her in person and online to stop, but I still got these email memoirs every day. Eventually I had another female office mate who was her friend have a talk with her. Finally the emails stopped."
That's A Lot of Passwords
"I've had a girl create about 50 different Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram accounts all to try to get me to friend her. I've never met this woman in person and yet every few weeks I'll get a handful of friend requests from her"
"Met this girl online and talked to her a bit. I did started to like her."
"Later found out that the pic she showed me of herself was actually a pic of her friend who had passed away due to cancer."
In my early 20's I was at a party and the hosting woman full-on tried to reach down my pants to grab my business."
"Strange, yes, what made it creepy is that we were right in front of her mother, who was cheering her on."
Breaking Out the Scroll
"After 6 months from our breakup, my ex called me because she wanted to see me. It seemed strange to me but I accepted. When we met she was friendly and all..."
"Then at a certain point she pulls a sheet in which there was written a list of all men she fu**ed after our relationship and she read it all to me, with accurate description of every sexual intercourse. Well it was an awkward moment."
"I was going to head home after a night out and a I was getting into my taxi a girl jumped in after me. I asked what they were doing and she said 'I'm coming home with you.' "
"Nope. Taxi driver helped me and she got out the car eventually when I shot down her advances."
Again, it's important to read this thread and remember that this is a bias sample, solely focused on the incidents where a woman did act creepy.
But, yes, it happens out there.