Staying In Versus Going Out: How To Do You Without Getting FOMO


this blog post is part of a series, #oneblogpostaday.

the first part of this series is focused on relationships + love.

FOMO - it’s a term that seems to have defined our generation.

Long, long ago, we couldn’t see what other people were doing when we weren’t with them. So, it didn’t feel as shitty if we wanted to sit on our couch with a big bowl of popcorn (or an Olivia Pope-sized wine glass) instead of trekking it to the bar.

But now, instead of enjoying our decision to Netflix&chill solo we’re bombarded with “what if…”. We see the fun that our friends (and everyone we’re connected to) are having. We end up scrolling through our newsfeed instead of actually relaxing - feeling more and more uncomfortable with our decision.

Sound familiar?

Even from a young age, I’ve never been one to feel FOMO (what can I say, I’m a grandma at heart) - and especially now that my boyfriend/built-in best friend and I live together, we spend most of our evenings staying in by choice.

But, FOMO doesn’t just happen when you’re not feeling the bar scene. The feelings of comparison and judgement happen in all parts of life - when we’re sitting behind our desks and a picture of a friend in Greece pops up; when we’re laying in bed and see a friend just completed a super sweaty Soul Cycle class. And, as we get older the comparison grows - projecting it onto our relationships, careers and even our families.

In our always-on, humble-brag world, comparison culture is strong.

But - don’t worry.

A few months ago for the O.A. Book Club we read i’m Happy For You (Sort of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison. In it, the author said something that makes me feel a lot better about this concept of comparing:

“Sure, it would be nice to quit comparing completely, but we know that won’t happen. We aren’t victims, though. By taking steps in the right direction - refusing to let comparison rule our thoughts, dictate our mood or send contentment into a tailspin - we can forge a new pattern of thought.”

It doesn’t have to be that hard. And anway, in my mind one of the most important ways to show yourself love is feeling comfortable listening to your inner knowing - no matter what everyone else is doing. It takes true confidence to not getting caught in the culture of comparison.

I’ve received this question in many different forms: How do I say no to my friends who always want to go out? How can I be happy for my friend if she’s doing “better” than me?

I think at the root of it, it’s all about showing yourself compassion and really hearing what your heart (not your head) is telling you. Here are some of the ways that I practice tuning in to that inner knowing - and stop beating myself up for doing what I want; not everyone else.

Start small

If you feel like you get FOMO when you go to the bathroom alone at the bar - let’s start with some practice.

Oftentimes, we feel like we need to jump right into being a Strong, Independent Woman and travel the world alone. But, if doing things on your own is something that brings you stress - take baby steps.

Schedule a date with yourself once per week. It could be anything - exploring a new neighborhood in your city or going shopping. Then, maybe you step it up and even go to a restaurant alone (gasp!).

The key here is to be consistent. It’s really important to turn yourself into your best friend - so that when you do want to do something big that strays from the norm you know that you enjoy spending time with yourself first.

Get off your phone

I know, I know - it feels like this message is everywhere (hey - Mindbodygreen called cell phones the new cigarettes).

But seriously: get off that damn phone.

Social media is amazing in terms of connecting and storytelling, but like anything it also has a shadow side. That shadow side makes us anxious and judgemental.

So, opt out. When you decide to do something that’s against the grain, no matter how big or small, make it really easy not to check your phone. Put it in another room or leave it on airplane mode. Do whatever you need to do to avoid checking.

P.S. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. most of what we share on social media is an exaggeration to make our lives seen a whole lot better than they really are. So, don’t feel too bad when you see what picture of your friend on a yacht in Croatia (it probably took a while to get that picture anyway…).

Before deciding: Tune in

Deep down, we always know what we truly want to do.

But, when we’re surrounded by noise - whether it’s from our phone or our friends - we feel pressure to give in to the norm.

So, before you decide do something that you don’t want to - go inside. Tune in and visualize what you actually want. What does your future look like when you listen to your gut? Where are you? What does it feel like?

Use that power to make your choice. As the queen people pleaser, I’ve found this practice extremely helpful. It allows me to feel better about my decision because I can actually see and feel my choice.

So, all in all FOMO will never go away. But, know that you’re not alone.

This is something we’re all struggling with - but as long as you start small, tune out and tune in - you can show yourself love by Doing You.

Katina Mountanos