Ever feel like you have to accept an invite and get yourself out of the house, or you’ll miss the greatest day/night/party ever? Do you hate when your friends are telling stories about something they did for months after the event and you feel totally left out? Have you ever gone out on the weekend just on the off chance of a wild adventure? Then you’ve experienced FOMO.
Fear of missing out, or FOMO for short, is when you’re anxious or jealous that something exciting and interesting is happening somewhere else and, if you decline an invite or don’t take an opportunity to go somewhere, you’ll miss out. Or specifically, you’ll be the only one of your social group to miss out. In some ways, FOMO is a result of the way we’re always connected to friends through social media.
The thing is, there’s always a story behind those crazy party photos, holiday snaps, and casually posed dinner party shots. For every person who’s actually having as good a time as their Instagram suggests, there’s another who’s secretly wishing they stayed in for a bit of Netflix and takeaway.
There are plenty of reasons why the allure of staying in, let alone staying home alone, is so strong. First of all, the alternative involves so much effort. If you’re going out on the town, you’ve got to do your hair, fix your face, and chuck together an outfit that at the very least won’t get you turned away by security. If you’re going to dinner at a friend’s place, even if they’re catering, you’ve got to get there, pick up drinks, and be on top form conversation wise. As soon as you start thinking about, you get exhausted.
It can help to think of the flip side of FOMO. Whether you’re skipping a party to spend time with your family, ditching match day to look after yourself, or just spending some quality time with your couch, focus on the positives. Every time you have a twinge of FOMO, try thinking of at least three reasons why what you’re doing instead is awesome. Let's call it JOMO, the joy of missing out.
With hindsight, it’s also much easier to see how your FOMO was unjustified. When you’re exhausted the next day, missing pieces of property, cleaning up after other people, or just looking at your bank balance in horror, chances are you’ll rethink whether it was all really worth the hassle. Here’s to kicking FOMO for good!