FOMO: Flocks of Magical Otters.
Some may also better refer to this term as the Fear of Missing Out. Y’all, I would be lying if I said I didn’t suffer from a serious case of FOMO every once in a blue moon. Sure, I love me a good night in with some Netflix and wine. I am all about that! But when I’m sitting there on the couch pantsless with my hand in the bag of Doritos aimlessly scrolling through my Insta and Facebook feed seeing all the FUN that’s being had–without moi–this weird sense of, “Why am I not out there?! Doing all of the fun?!” hits me like Miley Cyrus on that damn wrecking ball.
The social media world that named FOMO has also made it an epidemic. It’s hard not to develop this 21st-century form of anxiety when one glance at your smartphone reveals a thousand awesome things your friends — and enemies — are doing. I’ll bet the thought of making energy-generating sculptures out of used diapers never even crossed your mind until your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend posted a TED talk of herself doing just that, and FOMO slapped you right across your lazy, uncreative face. Thanks, Internet. Thanks a lot.
There’s nothing I hate more (with the exception of bad hair days and spiders) than missing out on all of the amazing, exciting, awesome-sauce things that are happening around me. Now that I think of it, FOMO has been a very real thing for me, even before FOMO was a very real thing. As a little girl, I hated sleeping because I was afraid I’d miss something — conversations between my parents, a bat invasion, the apocalypse (yes, I was an anxious kid). When I got older, I started to read obsessively, desperate not to miss any interesting facts about the world (or steamy vampire makeout scenes). Now as a twenty-something adult, I get paranoid every time my friends go out drinking on a Wednesday night without me. I’m afraid of missing out on BOGO deals at the grocery store and am always worried I’m going to not catch my favorite band when they come to town. I’ve also got that ever-present nerd version of FOMO whining in my ears on the regular, “What are you doing writing? You could be decoding dolphin language! Or practicing the glockenspiel! Or making stained-glass mosaics!”
I suspect FOMO will try to follow me to my grave. Which probably won’t be nearly as happening as all the other graves.
But have no fear, my friends!
There are JIF (kid-tested, mother-approved) ways to help combat the dreaded FOMO like a MOFO.
Open communicado with your friends
One thing I love to do with my group of friends is create a direct line of communication, whether that be through texting, Facebook messages or gasp, actually picking up your hand-held app machine aka the phone, and calling them. What’s everyone up to Friday night? Karaoke at our spot on Saturday night? Who wants to go hiking/biking? If you know one or more of your squad may be interested in doing something fun, ask them!
2. Being active on social media
I’m a bit of a social media addict, I will confess. And it’s kind of a double-edged sword. It can be awful when you’re at home alone binging reruns of the Golden Girls with your acne facemask on and see that your BFF just partied with Hanson backstage, but it can also be what helps you get out there and see what’s going on. Use Facebook’s events page to see what’s happening around your area; concerts coming up, festivals, trivia nights, book clubs, etc. There have been so many times when I’ve been trolling scrolling through my Facebook feed only to see that one of my friends was going to a fun event that looked like a blast, something I probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise if I hadn’t come across that. High-five Zuckerberg.
3. Taking advantage of apps
Looking for a cupcake shop that delivers past midnight? There’s an app for that. Want to find a copycat recipe for that cupcake(s) you devoured the night before? There’s an app for that. Need to track how many steps you take during the day to burn off said midnight cupcakes? There’s…wait for it…an app for that. I’m pretty sure there’s an app for anything and everything these days, including one that helps you combat FOMO. One of my go-tos is Eventbrite which is such a great resource to use for all of your entertainment needs. Sports, music, theater, food and drink events, you name it and Eventbrite has got it. It’s super easy to use; you can find events by category and location, and even use it to invite your friends. Plus, you can create events and sell tickets as the host. It’s kind of the bees-knees, guys.
4. Realize it’s okay to stay HOME (O)
FOMO is a very real thing, but what’s important to understand is that this very real thing is a very real and normal feeling. You can’t be everywhere at once, unless you’re the Flash and if so then I am officially jealous because he can rock one incredibly hot spandex suit. But I digress…What I was trying to say before I got distracted by cute super heroes in tights was that it’s okay to miss and be missed every once in a while. Don’t feel the need to say “yes” to every invite. There will be other nights, other chances to make karaoke fools out of yourself. Sometimes you do need to stay at home, pantsless with your hand in that bag of Doritos while scrolling through your phone. And that’s okay.