Neo Allenism or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sign Out of Facebook
The Fear of Missing Out, a condition so nice they gave it a catchy nickname: FOMO.
So cute right?
Isn’t that cute?
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO, remember) is a form of social anxiety in which an individual is afraid that they are left out of something memorable (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fomo): a party, a music festival, a craft circle, anything that was attended by more than one person, a person with FOMO believes they were excluded from it.
What a load of bullshit.
Not a fan
When did we become so insecure? Many blame the new addition to our human gene code, social media.
THERE IS PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF ON THE INTERNET THAT SOMETHING FUN HAPPENED THAT I WAS NOT PRESENT FOR. MY LIFE IS OVER.
Last year I went through one of those record-breaking breakups. He cheated, I caught him, weekend on the couch eating cheese and watching Reese Witherspoon–you get it. I had caught him via months of illicit texts on his phone. I took screengrabs of everything and sent them to myself, which I then sent to the girl he was cheating with, along with the words “Keep him”.
While on the couch I contemplated the ways I could ruin him with the press of a “Send” button. As genuinely orgasmic as that would have felt, I instead decided to disable my Facebook account.
Capybara is concerned for your lack of social media.
In my mind, I was taking the high road. What I didn’t realize was I was setting myself free. People asked where I’d gone, as if my very existence was in question. Many knew of the recent drama I’d encountered, and even more supported me unplugging.
I still texted people. I even called them. I did not “Like” one status; I did not share one painfully liberal news blip. I did not miss Facebook at all.
Not even for a junky second did I want to log on to that blue and white void. Was I missing out? Probably. Whatever did I do with myself?
I exercised. I made plans with people I hadn’t seen in ages and followed through on them, allowing myself to flake when I needed a good cry. I redecorated the apartment because it was mine. The fabric of my social circle was unraveling, people were taking sides, and I was in my living room painting motivational words onto tiny canvases.
*not an exact representation*
This blissful reawakening of my soul lasted two weeks (I’m not perfect, shut up). Re-entering into Facebook post break-up was rebirth. I was baptized in the validation of the click of a thumbs up. Over the next few months I would soul search and be fortunate enough to be loved by the greatest man alive (not Ron Swanson, but close). I moved to San Francisco to be with him. And the Likes stopped liking.
I panicked: I was already terrified at my lack of friends in a new city. Were my old friends giving up on me too? Surely if they loved me they’d like my status updates…
I must be so paranoid to see the lack of interaction and interest in my witty Facebook activity as a lack of interest in me (“I will murder whoever just farted on this sardined rush hour train.”). And this began my examination of the forces that give FOMO all of its power.
Who gives FOMO its power? The girls who retake a group selfie until all of them look skinny.
The bros who post about what a mistake it was to drink the night before.
Douche. Some of us have work in the morning!!
The same photo on Instagram of the Ferris Wheel at Coachella that appeared on your feed 100 times this weekend (and next weekend! Because that mess is two weekends now).
Look familiar? (stabs self in the face)
The forces of FOMO aren’t always passive aggressive? Have you ever gotten to work on Monday and have a coworker tell you about the incredible weekend they had (and you’re quietly stirring your coffee thinking of telling them you did something more interesting than starting and finishing “True Detective”)? Believe it or not, that person is more insecure than you. They are validating how great their time was based on your reaction. Don’t be a robot, respond however you like, but don’t feel guilty because your time was spent doing something less awesome-sounding (who are we kidding, “True Detective” is worth it). Let that guilt go. Tell it to shut up and leave forever because it too is fueling the FOMO.
You should never feel guilty or less-than for spending your time the way you want to. If you need a night, day or weekend to just lay low, do it! Fuck FOMO, this is the year of JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out, Joy because it’s your time damnit. You deserve to spend it the way you want to.