I’ve talked before about being a social introvert. I know it seems to counter everything I’ve disclosed about myself, but I enjoy going out and doing things and seeing friends. It’s just that sometimes, the very thought of it drains me. This is why I have a serious problem with FOMO (fear of missing out).
The eternal struggle
Forget Hamlet’s existential crisis; ”to go out or to stay in?” is the real question. There are some times when I just can’t. It’s been a long week, I’ve had plans accounting for most of my time and I just can’t bear any more, so my weekend plans consist of doing nothing. But, even when that while I’m soaking up every moment of alone time, I can’t help but channel Mindy Kaling (“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”). What am I missing out on? Shouldn’t I be having adventures and Instagramming brunches and getting my party on, like everyone else?
Make it count
Sometimes it’s not worth it to push yourself. It’s easy to be persuaded to “just come” even though you really and truly don’t want to. Every introvert knows that feeling– you’re sitting amongst your friends, thinking, “I’m tired. Can I go home now?” while they’re having the time of their lives. And it makes you feel miserable, and your friends say you look miserable and all you can think is, “I told you so.”Sometimes, though, giving into the FOMO is good. You just need to be in the right headspace.
A couple of weeks ago, I tried to make plans for a Friday evening. It had been a while since I’d gone out, though, and I thought “why not?” What I didn’t consider at the time, however, was that it happened to be St. Patrick’s Day. A few friends were going to a hockey game and suggested we meet up afterwards. The idea of going out later than I had planned, alone, and meeting at a crowded bar on the busiest pub night of the year was just too much. So, I politely passed and opted for a night to myself instead. I had a solo jaunt around the mall and had just come home, exhausted from the crowds and lights and loud, trendy music and settled down to a late dinner before a bath with a good book. And that’s when I got the text: “We’re going to the bar. You should meet us there.”
Here’s where my FOMO kicked in hard. It was going to be late, I was going to have to go alone, the streetcar ride would be long, it would be too crowded and we wouldn’t get a table or have space to move around. But…my friends were going to go out without me. The internal debate took a while, but I decided it was something I wanted to go and, more importantly, I had enough time to prepare. I used the hour and a half before I was to meet them to plug in my charger to get just enough energy to make it through the rest of the night. I ate my dinner, I watched a bit of tv, took my time getting ready and took an Uber instead of a long, noisy, crowded streetcar. And you know what? I had a great time!