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FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

October 16, 2012

I read an article in Marie Claire this past month called FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. Essentially it explains how modern women often feel like they are missing out when friends do things without them. Here’s the summary from Marie Claire’s website:

“Obsessing about the party you skipped, the after-work drinks with colleagues you passed on, the second date you decided not to accept? The latest syndrome plaguing do-it-all women is the nagging fear that everyone else is in on something that they’re not.”

That’s exactly how I feel most of the time. Even more now that I’m a commuter. “Should I have forgone freelance work and putting the kids to bed for that drink?” “Should I have told them I could go instead of being home with my family?” “Should I have gone to that movie instead of sticking with my alone time tonight”. “Should I have gone to that bar for the game rather than watching it at home”?

It’s been especially difficult with the new commute I’ve accepted. I’m out of the house each morning at 7:30am and I arrive at home around 7:30pm or later. I don’t mind the commute so much, but I do mind that it prevents me from having time to do things like run while the sun is still up, or be home for dinner with the kids. I love my job and I love my coworkers. In all honesty, it was comforting to know that I’m not the only woman who feels this way.  I used to think I had no friends (I wasn’t really the most popular person in high school) and my reaction to that would be to always say yes to everything I was ever invited to attend.

I’ve never been able to say no because I’ve always wanted to be well-liked and loved. I took ‘no’ to the extreme in college when I ignored every friend I had to hang out with my abusive boyfriend. Then I started dating someone else, and the vicious cycle continued. After a series of unfortunate events, I did actually lose most of my friends from college. I don’t really talk to any sorority sister I have/had sans the little I love dearly. And even that relationship is a few and far between conversation. I’m truly miserable at conversation. Because I chose to not spend more quality time with them in college, I’ve lost a lot of relationships and struggled to gain them back. I’ve developed this insane fear that if I don’t do everything my friends ask me to do, I’ll be left in the dust with no one to stand next to me. No friends to call when I have a bad day, nothing.

I’ve learned a lot about friendships in the meantime and I’m happy to say that I don’t agree to every drink or event because I’m afraid. I also have very close friends I’m excited to claim and speak to nearly every day. But that doesn’t mean I don’t fight the urge if I do decide to opt out, or that I feel great when they post about said event later on Facebook. That part I’m still working on. The moral here is that you don’t have to do everything your friends want you to. Everyone needs a little alone time.


P.S. Don’t forget to read my posts next week about the Heartland Film Festival!

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