This isn’t something you only experience as a kid, or a teen, or even as a young adult. Nope. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can affect you at any age or stage in life.
I don’t think people fully appreciate how difficult this feeling is for somebody but, in extreme cases, FOMO has the capacity to be as harmful as any mental health condition. Not only can it breed feelings of anxiety or worthlessness, but it can also help them to grow if they’re already there.
I’ve often beaten myself up when experiencing FOMO and let the feeling really eat away at my insides – why didn’t they invite me? Do they hate me? What I do to make them hate me? And spend the rest of the day/night overanlysing every little thing I’ve done and said recently that may have warranted my exclusion from a social event. And in the digital age we live in, you find out pretty easily when people are somewhere you’re not.
So what do you do? Sit, wallow and hope you can work out how to be the delightful/funny/sassy person you need to get yourself an invite next time whilst tryna act all “I’m FINE” in public. People saw through that act in The One Where Ross Is Fine, and you’re not fine.
So, what should you do? Over the years I’ve learnt that if you have the tools to cope this will go a long way, but you have to use them committedly and consistently:
1. Reframe and retrain your brain. Tell yourself over and over “I don’t know the context of why I haven’t been invited. So and so could have wanted a private chat about something, they might’ve just bumped into each other, etc etc…” You just don’t know, and you might never know, so you can’t presume it’s a bad thing.
2. Do something. Call a family member, ring another friend and make plans with them. If you’re doing something, you’re not thinking about what you may be missing out on.
3. Embrace the JOMO (that’s Joy Of Missing Out). Quite different from the above but another tactic to consider. Ok, so you’re not out being a social butterfly, so why not embrace the time and indulge in a little self care. Pamper session with pizza and Netflix, a lazy wander round the shops, book a massage, maybe just retreat to bed for a nap and some trash tv. Whatever takes you to your happy place, do that and allow yourself to appreciate that you have the time to yourself.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not perfect and I do still have low moments where I cant help but let the FOMO in, but it happens less often and don’t last for very long. I don’t think I could ever fully embrace a JOMO state of mind, but having some strategies to deal with it (like any difficult situation) are a huge help. If you’re a FOMO sufferer too, I encourage you to try ’em out.
Thanks for reading,