For most, summer break is a time to rest and relax after a grueling year of homework, finals and dining hall nightmares. Returning home for the summer doesn’t always ensure a stress-free time, however. Once you catch up with home besties and cuddle with your dog for 12 hours straight, you realize that there are very few people you actually want to reconnect with. As soon as this realization occurs, however, you will inevitably run into every single person you graduated high school with. Life is cruel that way.
Because you can’t avoid them forever, here’s a list of the top 9 places you’re guaranteed to see everyone from your high school class. Just smile, wave and then immediately avert eye contact.
1. Coffee Shop
Whether your town’s popular coffee spot is a Starbucks or a local café, you are guaranteed to bump into that one girl from your AP English class who always corrected your grammar.
Because Chipotle is universally loved by all ages,* the plethora of people you see here will be diverse. From jocks to nerds to substitute teachers, be prepared for awkward small talk and pray that the line isn’t unbearably long.
*not a proven fact, but basically a proven fact
3. Any Downtown Bar
It doesn’t matter if you’re from a small town or the heart of Chicago, you will somehow see the same posse of your high school frenemies at every bar you crawl to. Depending on your level of drunkenness, interactions range from throwing shade across the bar to sloppy hugs and squealing.
4. Famous Pizza Place
Every town has at least one “famous” pizza spot, and even if you didn’t like it when you were younger, you somehow crave it every time you visit home. Nostalgia is a weird thing. Avoid dining in on a Friday night, though, because it’s sure to be packed with all of the ex-high school football players’ parents who still wear your high school colors and insist you “tell your mom ‘hi’ for them.”
5. Ice-Cream Parlor
Nothing screams summer like an ice-cream cone from your town’s best shop. Not only will you see those couples who somehow stayed together after high school here, but you’ll also see some current high schoolers on “date night.” The horror.
6. That One Nice Restaurant
You think that you can have a nice dinner out with your parents, but the second you start to sip on your kiddy cocktail, you lock eyes with your high school crush across the restaurant. And of course he’s on a date. He’ll give a half-smile and notice you’re totally third-wheeling your parents.
7. Taco Bell Drive-Thru
When bar close rolls around you know you have two options for drunchies: raid your parents’ pantry (again) or hit up T-Bell. Your poor friend who volunteered to DD will take your crew to get some nachos, and you’ll notice that you’re sandwiched between two carloads of everyone you saw downtown. Ugh.
8. The Best Brunch Spot
Brunch is easily the most Instagrammable meal of the day, so not only will you see everyone from high school, but you’ll see them dolled up in sundresses and strategically sipping on mimosas. This sort of awkwardness can only be cured with an omelet and a loaded Bloody Mary.
9. Local Diner
When you want pie or hash browns, you know you have to come here. Unfortunately, everyone else from your town knows this, too. No matter the time, this greasy spoon will reunite you with every member of your student council you prayed you’d never see again.