How to Handle FOMO

Countless young professionals struggle with an epidemic (and buzzword) now widely known as FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. The Urban Dictionary defines FOMO as “the fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.” The fear of missing out on that life changing business opportunity if you skip a networking event, or missing out on meeting that girl or guy of your dreams if you don’t attend that charity ball, or fear of missing out on laughs and the creation of new inside jokes on that girls or guys trip, can be consuming for some YPs, having negative impacts on lives and relationships. FOMO can lead even the most skilled, multitasking YP to overcommit to events and wear thin trying to keep up with the crowd. This type of individual may have a difficult time making a reservation at a restaurant or a buying decision because something better might come along. He or she may be flaky and not want to commit to making plans until they’ve heard from everyone and can pick the most exciting option. The unfortunate reality is that we can’t always do everything that we want or be in more than one place at the same time. Here are ways to deal with FOMO.

Remember the Potential for the Opposite
To avoid the feeling of FOMO, ask yourself how many times you’ve gone out for the sake of it (even though you’re getting sick or are trying to save money) and…nothing happens. The place is too crowded, you get some d-bag’s drink spilled all over you, you don’t meet any sexy strangers and blow a ton of money. It ends up being nothing more than a waste of time, an outfit and a bank account. All because you let your FOMO take over just in case something awesome were to happen. Instead of FOMO, remember the likelihood of the opposite happening: the potential for nothing special.

Don’t Lament
Once you have made up your mind, stop thinking about it. Don’t debate whether or not you made the right decision or wonder what you’re missing. In fact, don’t think about it in a negative way at all; don’t let the feelings of disappointment overcome you. Dwelling on what you are not doing makes the situation worse than it needs to be and can lead to feelings of inadequacy. Remember that saying ‘no’ to a social event does not instantly equate to a subpar, dull evening. 

Make it Positive
Use the time that you would have spent on the night out to do something to benefit you. Catch up on sleep, have a bath or call an old friend. Take the time for yourself. If you’re sick, make the best of it by putting on your comfiest sweatpants, making your favourite tea and indulging in some shameless television. In general, try to savour the moment, the company and the positive outcome of declining an invitation.

Stay Away from Social Media
FOMO has existed long before social media, but social media has heightened the problem. Seeing pictures of your “friends” at events or on fabulous vacations can be enough to make you wonder why you were not at that party or why you didn’t just splurge on that vacation. The feeling of inadequacy can lead to anxiety when logging into social media sites and an addiction to being perpetually connected, sleeping with cell phones and sneaking peaks at it at inappropriate times. Remember: the photos people post are usually their best and they typically rave about their favourite experiences in life – not the bad and ugly. 

Remember there will be Other Opportunities
Even if you’re stuck at a work event the one day the man of your dreams is in town, or home sick on the evening of the hottest charity event of the year, remember that there will be other opportunities. There will be other networking events, parties and moments that can be recreated.