I used to sit at home on a Friday night anxiously awaiting for plans to magically appear.
I checked my phone. Incessantly. I scanned Facebook. I sent out some lame text feelers: “Hey, what are you up to tonight.”
I either got vague “We will hit you up in a bit” or the dreaded radio silence.
I could feel my body tensing up. It was going to happen, again. I would be sitting at home alone on a Friday night ordering a pizza watching Netflix feeling like a complete loser. “Netflix and chill” but actually chilling and watching Netflix.
FOMO was in full effect. The dreaded Fear Of Missing Out. And It did not just stop there. It used to be my standard operating procedure.
- If a friend got a better job, I thought “Shit, I need to step my game up.”
- Every time I scanned Alex’s instagram, I thought “I am not traveling enough.”
- Even though I achieved six pack abs, I thought I was pathetic compared to Navy Seal workouts.
FOMO was never ending! My internal monologue was:
“I need to be doing more, achieving more, making more money, getting a better relationship, hanging out with more famous people, and attending cooler parties.”
That shit got exhausting. I knew this because I was attending a dinner party with free top shelf wines and people I actually liked and I thought, “I bet Phil’s boat party is better. Let me text some people to find out.”
Aghhhhhhhh. Is the grass really that much greener on the other side of that damn fence?
From this period experiencing intense FOMO aka the comparison trap of death I learned a couple things:
INSIGHT #1: JOMO THE F%$K OUT OF LIFE
There is actually a Joy Of Missing Out. In the Paradox of Choice by Psychologist Barry Schwartz, he splits people into two camps: Maximizers and Satisficers. If you are a Maximizer, you are looking for the absolute perfect best in every situation. If you are a satisficer, you are looking for “good enough.”
Whereas maximizers tend to do better objectively, satisficers tend to do better subjectively. Maximizers savor positive events less than satisficers and do not cope as well with negative events. They actually enjoy the experience.
While Jimmy might have technically wound up with a better TV than you, he also spent months agonizingly researching pages and pages of Amazon reviews, and contemplates upgrading his new TV to a better version constantly. And he spent way too much.
What matters most of the time is how we feel about the decisions we make. Be joyful you missed out, you’ll be happier.
INSIGHT #2: CHOOSE TO BRING THE PARTY
Instead of wallowing in the FOMO pit, I realized that I never initiated a night out or made plans for others to join. Passivity at its most passive.
Nope. It was poor me. Why doesn’t anyone call poor Kevin?!
Instead of being present and enjoying Jessica’s dinner party I ruined my night by obsessing about Phil’s amazing boat party. Well, it was amazing in my head. I could have engaged more in conversation, brought a unique dish, or initiated a dance party like is was 1999.
Life can be a constant storm of events where you are always the victim and grey clouds loom overhead OR you can accept that your mental outlook/attitude plays a HUGE part in how you experience the world. Corny as it is…..is the glass half-full or empty???
If you continually make the choice to invest in FOMO, you strengthen your negative attitude like a muscle. It takes a lot of effort and energy to be miserable. Instead, use it to banish the negativity.
Don’t be the Debbie Downer, whining like a brat on their 16th bday who got a BMW instead of a Land Rover.
It takes work to bring the party. But it’s also soooooo much better.