This post originally appeared on Unwritten.
In a contemporary society filled with undeniably edgy people, eager to please and willing to follow the crowd, a certain attitude has developed. First it was YOLO, an excuse and justification for petty mistakes, and now FOMO -- the fear of missing out. It has infiltrated friendship groups and officially cast those that aren't bothered about missing out, un-phased by the fact that your friends may have a good night out when you're not there, as the outsider. The stereotypical FOMO sufferer is that one person that will never turn down an invite. They will be peer pressured into going out, despite swearing blind they were going to take a night off, simply for the fear of missing out.
In college, following the crowd seems to be in the in thing to do. With nothing better to do, people flock to the most alternative bars, wearing the edgiest clothes, for a night out they'd probably have rather passed on, but can't because they suffer from an intolerable form of FOMO. This phenomenon isn't something that only exists among students, though they are among the worst offenders. From your first week onward, college life becomes a battle of the strength of your overdraft in feeding your FOMO addiction. When someone asks the dreaded question, "How many nights out have you conquered?," you don't want your stats to be lacking, for fear of being branded "boring."
In my opinion, the night-in is so underrated. Slipping in to my pajamas instead of my heels is satisfying enough, but when everyone else is pre-gaming to go out and I'm snuggled up with a cup of tea and an endless selection of box sets on Netflix? It's even more satisfying. See, I'm more of a JOMO kind of gal -- I relish in the joy of missing out, the smugness when I feel fresh as a daisy the morning after when everyone else is suffering from a hangover from hell.
Learning to say no is a skill we must all develop in life. There will be people in life that live to take advantage of you, whether it is in the workplace, or at home. If you're the YES man, you'll end up doing jobs, favors and errands for anyone and everyone. What's wrong with preferring to have fewer memorable nights out, as opposed to 10 average nights? There's nothing worse than going out when you're not up for it, spending money you don't have, and instantly regretting your decision. BUT instead of saying no, you soldier on, a smile plastered on your face, all because you suffer from FOMO.
With the influx of social media, maybe we're all suffering from FOMO without even consciously realizing. Being glued to our phones 24/7, scrolling through Twitter morning, noon and night so we feel involved in what is going on in the world. I know I'm not alone when I say the first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone. I spend half an hour trawling through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, then Instagram, Twitter and Facebook again to essentially check up on what I've missed out on overnight.
Peer pressure plays a huge part in today's generation. Young people these days go back on their morals at the drop of a hat in order to feel involved. What happened to "stand up for what you believe in" -- even if it means standing alone? People admire the strength and audacity if you're more of a JOMO person, your ability to say no. The fact that you don't need or crave social acceptance or the fact that you are content enough in yourself and within your friendship group to do your own thing and go it alone. Being independent and learning to stand on your own two feet are two of the most important life skills you'll learn whilst at college.
Let's face it: You can't go through life wondering whether you are missing out, because nine times out of 10 you will be. Even I've had to learn that we can't have it all, we can't do it all, and we can't see it all. Just be sure to relish every experience you are involved in. That way, instead of fearing missing out, you'll be content in all that you are a part of.
Georgia writes for Unwritten and studies in Nottingham, England. You can follow her on Twitter @georgiafarq.
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