Anyone who has kids or who has worked with kids at any point in time knows they love to be involved in what others are doing. For example, some of the kids I used to teach would refuse to nap because they were afraid, they would miss out on something fun. Even though the lights would be dimmed, and soft music would be playing, some kids would fight to stay awake because they didn’t want to miss anything. Don’t we as adults do something similar? As adults, we call this F.O.M.O.
No one wants to miss out on an event, especially when it involves those we really care about. Guess what? It's okay to not always have to be there. It's okay to not take part due to finances. It's okay to stay home because you're drained. It's okay to not always have to be doing everything. If they care about you, they will understand. You shouldn't have to allow anxiety to have such a grip on you that you are drilling yourself into the ground in one way or another. No is a great word and is a necessary boundary we all need to have in life.
F.O.M.O. grips so many people, and they don’t even realize it. Allowing this to take precedence only creates more anxiety in our lives, so why is it there? I can’t answer for everyone. Could be because you think people wouldn’t be your friend if you didn’t always hang out with them. Could be fear you would get fired if you didn’t agree to put in extra hours into a work project. Could even be a simple fact you don’t want your family to be disappointed in you if you didn’t come to every gathering. What’s the root of all of this? Fear.
Fear is the drive behind why we do what we do, and it isn’t healthy. If you can’t afford it, you don’t have to participate. If you have other obligations previously to other plans, it is okay to say no. If you’ve been overstretched lately and just need some “me time”, it is okay to decline the invite. If the people in your life really cared, they would understand. If they don’t, then maybe you need to reevaluate the situation. You do you. Take care of yourself. You don’t need to be running yourself into the ground due to F.O.M.O. of social obligations.
As I recently moved and am figuring out life independently for myself, I’ve had to take a harder look at my priorities to see what best fits for the moment. I can’t just randomly take off work right now. I can’t just recklessly spend money; not that I ever did, but not the point. I can’t just agree to every social situation that comes my way. I need to see what best fits my priorities right now, and that’s okay. I don’t mind these changes at all because I know I’m figuring out what is best for me in my new lifestyle.
Everyone’s situation is different, so what may work for one may not work for another. If you need more “me time” then figure it out for yourself. If you must stay home to get things done around the house, so be it. If you have to say no to putting in extra hours at work because you really don’t have time with other life priorities, then so be it. Do what works best for you. Take care of yourself. Don’t allow F.O.M.O. to drive you to the point of exhaustion. It just isn’t worth it.