FOMO the fear of missing out, can hurt and make an impact on your wellbeing, here are things that I do to stop it taking over and it works!
As a kid, FOMO only really came into play when you knew a classroom buddy was having a birthday party and you are not on the guest list or perhaps someone was having a wedding and for whatever reason you don’t have an invite – it hurt at the time of knowing but because you never visually got to see any of the ‘fun’ and let’s be honest not every event is actually as fun as it made out to be – you really didn’t have a clue on what you were missing out on.
Let’s take holidays too, you would hear that the Jones’ were off abroad (again!) and apart from their silly tan in the middle of winter when everyone was pale as a ghost or if you got collared for the long ‘let’s look at all the holiday photos’ that are not curated as today’s lovely instagram photos; typically seeing the odd finger over the lens, someone’s head chopped off or in a group photo someone is not looking the right way, at the right time – you really didn’t care that you missed out.
And then along came Facebook, I don’t recall the specific date, but I definitely know it wasn’t around in my world, in my late Twenties, when I was travelling around Australia on my own.
I used to have to find an internet cafe, stick coins into a slot of a computer to fire it up and wait a good 10 minutes before you were allowed to complain about a lack of connectivity! Then I would type as fast as I could (due to the time restriction & cost) to send a lengthy (and probably very boring) email to update those who could be bothered to open the email to read about my adventures as they were busy working, make a business, any business – grow!
THE RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
I love social media, I couldn’t do what I do without some of the great platforms like Instagram and Pinterest – these are my favourite two. I tend to shy away from Twitter unless I want to understand what’s currently trending in news, and I’ve never been a huge fan of Facebook – those that have the luxury of seeing my personal page will know it’s just a webpage of my adorable Alfonso. And TikTok, whilst I don’t really use it myself to post, I have learnt so much, it’s actually quite amazing what you can learn in 60 seconds.
However, with the rise of social media, came the rise of FOMO. Yes, all of us at some point have been impacted by FOMO due to social media (or even Whatsapp) – you know when you get added into a group because people think you’ve been invited and then mysteriously the chat goes cold, which basically means those that were ACTUALLY invited have set up a new group and they stupidly think, the others won’t work it out – *I’m rolling my eyes as I type this*.
FOMO the fear of missing out
FOMO – the fear of missing out, we’ve all had it and we all feel the pain of missing out, well no more my dear friend; you’re here reading this because you have felt that pain and you want to know what you can do to stop it in future – good for you! I applaud you – why let others make an impact on your happiness!
And that was my starting point a couple of years ago, the impact on my own unhappiness which made me change. When I acknowledged that I was letting other people’s life events seem more important than my own life, nope I was not having it!
We all have a life and we all should value ourselves to get on and enjoy every moment of daily life and be as happy as we can. So here’s what I do and I hope some or all may work for you too.
The very first starting point when you hear that something is happening and you have not been invited – Would you truly be free to attend? Think about every element of it, do you have the time? Could you get to the location and home safely? Can you actually afford it? What other costs would you incur by going; travel, baby-sitting costs, food, drinks etc
I find frequently when I really stop and think about the whole event, I may not actually be free. Or if I was free it’s in a location that’s simply a complete pain to get back from late in the evening – So stop right there and say to yourself “Even if I was invited, I would have to decline – so it’s good that I don’t have that hassle” – Keep repeating this until you can ‘move on’ from it.
If however you are free, you can afford to go and it’s not hassle at all – then read on, I have other coping mechanisms coming up!
Now I can’t cover every eventuality – so this is what I do and pick which might work for you, based on your own needs
GO OUT ANYWAY
One of the best things you can do if you are not invited to a party or a night out – create your own! Even if it’s just a date night with hubby, get something booked up, a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try and go that extra length to make more time to get ready and put a knock ’em dead outfit on!
DETOX NIGHT IN
Sometimes heading out is not a possible option – so if you can turn your phone off or put it in another room – aim to not be on it for 12-24 hours – download a film, grab some popcorn and put your best pjs on. Have a truly digital detoxifying evening and whatever you do – DO NOT look at your phone before going to bed; forget all about it.
PUT THOSE FRIENDS ON MUTE
I do this all the time – I think 50% of my Whatsapp chats are on mute most of the time – I avoid them unless I am in a good head space – and if there is a lot of chat, I don’t read it all, just the last 2-3 comments to get a feel of the vibe of the chat.
On Facebook if someone is celebrating, I write quick message congratulating them, and then I proactively ‘turn off notifications’ for this post; I never see any more updates on it.
On Instagram – I will intentionally avoid stories for 2-3 days – I actually pick and choose who I watch depending on what mood I am in; I don’t know about you but I find stories have personalities – some make me laugh, some are informative and so on, so I cherry pick.
All of the above you can do in the moment to take control, but there are many proactive things you can do to minimise FOMO in the future, here’s what I do.
IS SHE REALLY YOUR FRIEND?
We have friends from school, friends from work, some very old and some we’ve met through other friends. If the person who is making you feel FOMO is not a true friend to you, why are you allowing them to make you feel like this? Maybe it’s time to move on from them – and put them in the ‘acquaintance’ pot of contacts
WIDEN YOUR FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE
One of the most proactive steps you can take, is widen your friendship circle – and you can do this quite easily.
- Arrange a coffee date with an acquaintance that you know but have never had time, to spend time – at the end of it you might like them to arrange a brunch date or you may never have coffee with them again – it doesn’t matter!
- Get your girlfriends to each bring a friend to a girl’s evening at your house – perhaps organise a make up party or something and ask everyone to bring someone new along – make every effort to make them feel welcome and get to know them, find some common interest
- Arrange a ‘couples’ night out for dinner with your partner with either their friends from work or social scene make every effort to get to know their wives or girlfriends throughout the evening rather than just chatting to your hubby – be sociable
- Arrange a night out with your work girlfriends and invite one or two that you have never done before
GET REACQUAINTED WITH AN OLD FRIEND
We all lose touch at times, but there is nothing more medicinal that a good laugh with an old good friend. Be open, tell them that you are feeling lonely or left out – tell them you miss them and you want to catch up in real life and not just through social media.
Just because you once lived in each other’s daily lives doesn’t mean it will be like that now – you’re older, you have your own lives, so don’t get hung up on the past.
WANT TO GO? GET BOOKING
A really good way to help with FOMO the fear of missing out is to think about the things you want to do; is there a restaurant you wish to dine at, is there a theatre trip you would like to go on. Is there a day out location you’ve never been to before and your are itching to see it.
Find out about the things you want to do, get a feel for price, how many of you should go to make it a good trip, some things are best in couples, others things maybe a group of four and others you need a whole team to enjoy. Once you know, take control and start to put the feelers out on who may wish to go with you and then get arranging.
EVENTS ON THE HORIZON
One of the best tips in life I had when you are about to come to an end of a big life event, say a wedding or buying new home, that’s taken up all your time – have a little trip booked in the not to distance future – you can see it on the horizon it’s just not there yet.
This can truly be medicinal and really works when you see a lot of other people’s holiday spam land on your feed. Instead of thinking, wish I was there, your mindset will change ‘not long to go till I go on mine’. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can just be a night away but it will be something to look forward to and really help minimise that feeling of being left out.
BE THAT SOCIAL BUNNY
When you are invited to attend an event; be really considerate for your host. Arrive duly on time. Arrive with the right attitude. Be sociable. Hosts watch all their guests and judge – have people mingled? has anyone been rude? Is anyone hard work?
No one is asking you not to be yourself, but if you are not easy to be around, if you are haphazardly late and making people anxious to catch transport or something – when this won’t help the invitation to land next time around.
Not being the ideal guest can be the reason you are missing out.