I absolutely hate missing out on activities. If I’m unable to join my friends or family in doing something I perceive to be fun, I’ll sit wherever I am with a serious pout, scanning social media to see exactly what I’m missing out on. Even worse are the times I wasn’t asked to join a party or outing, and see tons of pictures of the event popping up everywhere. Admittedly, I’ve cried over that type of thing on multiple occasions. Once I literally had to turn my phone off for a few hours (gasp!). I have a chronic and serious case of FOMO, what can I say?
FOMO is the acronym for “Fear Of Missing Out,” and I’m not — by far — the only one who gets it. Ever skipped dinner with your friends not thinking twice about it, only to find out it turned into drinks, and bar hopping, and a house party, and what they call, “the best night ever”? Then, the next day you’re looking at pictures and hearing stories and internally kicking yourself. The struggle is real.
It’s very difficult to find time to say “yes” to everything, in fact it’s impossible. It’s inevitable that we can’t be present for every single get-together. It’s just how we mentally handle missing out that determines whether we’re OK with it, or it’s going to eat us up inside. According to a study reported on by LiveScience, those who suffer from FOMO “feel less competent, less autonomous and less connected with others than people who don't worry about being left out.” In an effort to get our minds right, let’s consider how to ban FOMO.
Here are seven ways to avoid feeling FOMO — seven things, I, myself, have been practicing too.
1. Realize That You Might Not Actually Be Missing Out
According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on PsychCentral, a lot of what we do on social media is exaggerated to make our lives seem a lot better, and frankly more fun, than they really are. When you think closely about it, social media is really more of a reflection of who we want to be, rather than who we really are. The bigger issue is that when social media and FOMO collide, we might find we’re comparing ourselves to these exaggerated lives of others. We’ll never match up to it, because it’s simply not realistic.
Stop and realize these lives you're witnessing online don’t actually exist. Remember the last several times you hung out with a friend and she frowned in the corner the whole time, yet somehow managed to post a few fun and wild pictures from those nights? It’s more than likely she’s pulling the same thing when you’re at home right now with FOMO. It’s very simple to post the highs and omit the lows. Keep that in mind before you let yourself get too upset.
2. Avoid Over-Using Social Media
Here may be the root of your problem. As discussed above, social media offers up a fantasy world, so seeing people post these figuratively fantastic posts when you’re not there can feel like a shot to the heart. Aside from realizing the posts don’t necessarily offer a realistic view of what the event is like, there is another very simple solution: Avoid social media. I’m not recommending you give it up forever, but perhaps take the night off from scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and instead focus on whatever you are currently doing. Is it a foolproof way to kill FOMO? No. Will it help? Absolutely!
3. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself For Staying In
Sometimes, we just need a break from it all. According to WebMD, we genuinely need that necessary “me time.” Many of us don’t know how to do that without a lingering feeling of guilt hanging over us. We can always find a million things to be doing at any given time, but calm down and give yourself a pass for the day or night. Give yourself permission to rest, and relax without thinking of what else you can or should be doing. Staying in and doing this once in awhile is good for you, and by coming to terms with this, it’ll help you slowly lose that FOMO feeling.
4. Consider If You’re The Cause Of Your Own FOMO
By this, I mean are you saying “no” to everything your friends ask you to participate in — even when you have nothing else going on — and then feeling FOMO that you’re not present with them? Again, it’s important to have times to relax by yourself and unwind, but if you are constantly blowing off your friends and never see them, there might come a time when they stop inviting you to do things altogether. So, practice saying “yes.” You might really dread having to put pants on after a Saturday afternoon watching TV in your underwear, but do it. You’ll be thankful later.
5. Host A Party Or Plan A Group Outing
First, if you’re organizing the event, obviously you won’t have to worry about not getting invited to participate. Instant bonus! Second, you get to be somewhat in control of how the day or evening goes. You have the ability to make it genuinely a really fun time, so plan something you know your attendees will enjoy (e.g., if you’re all into winter sports, organize a ski weekend). Everyone will be happy, and so will you.
6. Be OK With Not Being Able To Do It All
There aren’t endless hours in the day, and if there were, we’d all be jumping for joy in that we’d not only be able to finish everything we need to at work, but we’d never have to miss out on spending time with our friends and family. Unfortunately, that will never be the case. We need to pick and choose what things we can say “yes” to, and be OK with the fact that we simply can’t say “yes” to everything. If you’re concerned about not getting invited to things in the future, be sure to explain to whomever invited you that, while your schedule won’t allow it this time, they’re a priority next time. Ultimately, try your best to find a balance.
7. Ask Yourself If Your FOMO Is About Something Bigger
Are you’re simply annoyed that you said “no” to a party invite, and managed to infuriate yourself looking at the pictures? Then no need to look beyond it. However, if your mind is going all sorts of places due to the FOMO — like, now you’re questioning whether you are happy with the friends you currently have — than it might be deeper than just FOMO. Consider whether this FOMO dredges up feelings of general unhappiness in your life or insecurities. If so, you might need to take the necessary time and figure out what is really going on, and how to change it.
FOMO might seem difficult to fight off, but with a little practice, we can all be better at avoiding it. By using the tips mentioned here, you can help yourself feel a bit more calm, cool and collected next time you have to miss out on a get-together.
Images: Pexels (8)