Ever gone to a conference, a networking event, or a party, and felt like one of the uncool kids?
You want to meet the influencers, you want to choose the right breakout session, and you want to appear confident. But instead, you're the over-talkative gal who had one too many. Or the eager guy who hit up the A-lister with a mouthful of artichoke as you stumbled through your elevator pitch. You take stock on a weary Monday morning and vow to do better next time.
I know the feeling!
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO, for short) happens when you convince yourself you need to do certain things. It's also about having a lot of choices and believing there's not enough time or resources.
Here are some tips to get over the fear of missing out, and adopt healthier ways of socializing instead:
1. Choose to be one place at one time. Is there any other option, really? Use experience and instinct as guides when different options or social circles look enticing. Make your decision and give it your full attention.
2. Sever the ties with the iPhone. Looking down at the screen gives you permission to act avoidant. Plus it's rude to check Facebook if you're out with others ... even if everyone else is.
3. Blame social media. We live in the Land of Edited Reality where everyone's ideal self exists. Just because one of the cool kids posts happy pictures from the after-party doesn't mean she was the Belle of the Ball or even that it was a blast. Perhaps in the moment it was a ton of fun, but the rest of the night could've been a lonely one.
4. Don't blame social media. Fitting in, standing out, and being excluded have been around forever. (Think Aunt Mary's irritating holiday letters, middle school dances, and high school P.E. class.) Sure, you weren't reminded in Real Time that you never made the Drill Team, but the drooling shot at the Bachelorette Party is archived in the Cloud for an eternity.
5. Ask what popular means to you. What about unpopular? Check yourself on your high school experience. Are you evaluating yourself too much according to what mattered years ago? The past is gone forever, and for many of us this is good news.
6. Cut yourself some slack. We're wired to connect. As New York real estate maven Barbara Corcoran says, "Everyone wants what everyone wants and no one wants what no one wants."
7. Get out of your head. Think of those who are suffering. Somewhere out there a person just lost his mother, while someone else was diagnosed with a terminal illness. These are real problems. Being passed up for an invitation to a local hotspot after the networking event is not a problem.
8. Read social cues. According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, we often discount our first impressions as too rash, quick, and uninformed. Regardless, people communicate via behavior, and that's probably what you're reading.
9. Spend time with people who show interest in you. For example, the hot gal you scoped out during lunch? The one who stopped listening in order to check a text message. Guess what? She's not the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company. She was checking her phone to see if there was someone more interesting than your conversation.You deserve better. And you'll get better at deciding once you decide that you're not missing out on opportunities that didn't exist in the first place.
Because you never miss out when you're truly checked in.