No FOMO: Fighting the Fear of Missing Out

I’m an introvert whose idea of a good time is staying in on a Friday night snuggled up in a blanket marathoning TV shows on Netflix. I can count the number of parties I’ve been to on both hands, but I can count the ones I’ve been to and enjoyed on just one. This isn’t to say I hate people – no, I actually like people quite a lot, and therein lies the problem.

As an introvert who enjoys doing things, I run into a problem. One that plagues me despite its light-hearted use in society: FOMO. I struggle constantly with the fear of missing out. I’m constantly torn between going out and doing things with other people and staying in and spending time with me, myself, and I.

When someone tells me about an event that’s happening, my typical immediate response is, I do not want to do that thing. This is quickly followed by, I should do that thing. and If I do not do that thing, I will be missing out.

More thoughts clamor into the forefront then, sometimes in a few minutes and sometimes spread out over a few days prior to the event. They can include such beasts as, I really don’t want to do this but if I don’t I’m a bad person, My mom would be disappointed in me if I didn’t do this, and Everyone there will have a great time and most likely form a coalition against me simply because I’m not there to defend myself and remind them that no, I’m not actually a terrible monster of a person! I picture all of the wonderful things that will most likely happen at this event, such as Bono walking through the door arm in arm with John Lennon who has been risen from the grave just for the night. Or, you know, there being really delicious cake or something.

I normally relent and end up attending the event, and a lot of the time I have about a 5 on the Fun Scale, whereas a Netflix date with myself is always ranked at a 10.

Since coming to college, I’ve discovered that not everyone suffers from FOMO. My roommate doesn’t really mind missing out on things – she often skips parties and school-sponsored events to put on mud masks and meditate in the empty room. When I get home, she’s zen and I’m frazzled. Who wins?

Definitely not me.

So that’s why this year, my resolution is to kick FOMO out the window. If my struggles sound familiar, I suggest you do the same. Who cares if Bono and John Lennon kick it together for a night? If you want to Netflix and chill by yourself then have at it. If you have a book you’ve been meaning to read but all of a sudden your friends all want to go to a party, tell them you have a date with Mark Watney on Mars. Here are some tips I’ve compiled to help you get over your Fear of Missing Out:

  1. Stop using Facebook so much. Your friends’ pictures may all depict them standing in front of a wall tapestry laughing, but they don’t include the three hour lull when the music stopped working, or the awkward conversations, or the fight that broke out. Not everything is as glamorous as it seems on Facebook.
  2. Be more confident in your friendships! If you’re worried that your friends are going to dump you after one night you didn’t spend with them, you either have lousy friends or you’re being insecure. So stop. You don’t need to be at EVERY group gathering to still be part of the group.
  3. Be nicer to yourself. Don’t hold yourself up to standards that were set by other people. There’s no set way to have a good life – for some people, a great college experience is partying every night; for other people, it involves visiting EVERY CORNER OF YOUR CITY; maybe for you, it means relaxing with a few friends at a time and going out only occasionally. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything ‘wrong.’
  4. If anyone tries to guilt you for not doing something, tell them straight-up to quit it. That’s not nice, nor is it productive.
  5. And finally, do what makes you happy and drop anyone who suggests you should do otherwise.

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