Everyone has two lives.
There’s your real life, then there’s your social media life.
Real-life you is eating a bag of Doritos in your PJ’s while social media you is out partying on a Tuesday night. Real-life you is loading up on carbs and watching Netflix while social media you is flexing at the gym. Real-life you likes your quiet time, social media you is never alone.
In short, social media you is nuts. This “person” never sleeps, is always with friends and only eats celery.
That would be fine, except we can’t stop comparing ourselves to these phantom lives that exist only to show other people how cool we are.
And this isn’t a crusade against social media. It has its uses and I’m beyond parroting overused rhetoric about how “social media is bad.” It isn’t. It just magnifies our feelings of insecurity about being left out that already existed.
So instead of sitting on my bed, scrolling through Instagram and feeling this pit in my stomach as I watch everyone live their “best” lives, I’ve decided to get over it. Here are the rules I swear by for overcoming FOMO:
1. Find something you enjoy doing alone
Honestly, this is the cardinal rule. The reason people feel left out is because they don’t enjoy their time spent alone. Find something fun to do by yourself! Learn to play the flute, read a book, eat Sour Patch Kids. I dunno… but find something that works for you, it can be anything.
2. Maintain your individual relationships
We’ve all been there: You’re catching up with your friends and it comes out that they’ve spent time without you. It’s like a sharp sting of betrayal but you have to act like you don’t care. If you want to avoid that feeling of isolation, you need to maintain your individual relationships. Set a standing call with each of your friends, once a week. If you can see them in person, even better! That way, when they spend time together as a group you won’t feel as bad, because you also have your own unique memories of times shared with them.
3. Ground yourself
If all else fails, make a mental note of the most important relationships in your life. It’s easy to get caught up in what you don’t have, but it’s infinitely more important to remember all the great relationships you rely on. Who cares if you only have two friends? You love spending time with them and that’s what matters. When you see something that makes you jealous or angry, think about the people in your life who make you happy and move on.
If you’re like me and suffer from extreme FOMO, work within the grounds that are realistic for a millennial. You don’t have to vanish from online existence and become a caveman, you just need to learn how to be okay with not being a part of the group.
Fear of Missing Out? More like Fighting Our Miserable Outlook.