The Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, only recently made it into the Oxford Dictionary. For years, the English language didn’t have a word for that feeling of anxiety, regret and fear that comes with hearing about a social event and needing to be there in case you miss something. Or the impulsion of taking unnecessary risks just in case there is a huge payoff that you won’t be a part of. Or bemoaning your first commitment because the second invitation might just be better. Even the sunk cost fallacy is a type of FOMO.

The spectrum of FOMO ranges from mild symptoms of regret of not saying ‘yes’ to an invitation to more extreme symptoms of having to say yes to every party and every social event that pops up, even when it is breaking you down. The Fear of Missing Out is a relatively new phenomenon but it is already being replaced by a trendier and healthier version of itself: The Joy of Missing Out.

The Joy of Missing Out, or JOMO, is FOMO’s cooler cousin. When it sees that party of a friend of a friend, it doesn’t jump at the opportunity. Instead, it politely declines and revels in not being there. JOMO doesn’t decline every social opportunity, but it knows when to say yes and when to say no. JOMO is living an intentional life; committing to the few, important things rather than trying to jump on everything that crops up in the calendar.


How to make the most of the Joy of Missing Out

If you feel the need to say yes to everything, it might be time to reconsider. If you feel guilty about having a quiet one on a Saturday night, you might not need to worry. The Joy of Missing Out is a (mostly) healthy alternative to the dreaded FOMO. Tech and the internet have enabled us to do more and see more of what is going on around us. Like most things on social media, most events and people are groomed to make it look like you are missing the best time ever when that isn’t always the case. Just because life can move faster, doesn’t mean that life should move faster. JOMO is the perfect antidote to the speed of modern life, and here are the best ways to maximise its benefits:

  • Relish the downtime. Whether it be a stressful job, stressful relationships or a stressful life in general, we all feel the pressure to live up to expectations and be at our best all of the time. Like with most things that expend energy, our battery needs recharging to avoid burnout and total collapse. While adding more things to your hectic life might feel like a ‘break’ from the other stressful parts, it will only be ramping up the intensity and stress that you feel. Instead, you usually need to take away. Relish the downtime that you put aside for yourself. And don’t forget to enjoy it, too.
  • Disconnect. Social media is considered to be one of the leading causes of FOMO and so in order to make the most of JOMO, it’s a great idea to forget what is happening out in the world and bring yourself back to your own world. Pick up a book, go for a walk or simply rest with your thoughts for a little while. Disconnecting allows you to reset, rest and recalibrate.
  • Be present. The Joy of Missing Out can be a bit of a deceiving term because it makes it seem like you are withdrawing from something amazing in exchange for doing something less exciting or worse, boring. However, JOMO doesn’t mean swapping good for bad or exciting for boring as some noble sacrifice. It means saying no to the events that don’t light you up and spending your freed up time relaxing, spending time with loved ones or pursuing a hobby. Simply being present in your uninterrupted physical and mental space is enough to start loving JOMO.


The dichotomy of JOMO

As with pretty much everything in life, there is an important dichotomy to acknowledge when it comes to JOMO. The Joy of Missing Out works fantastically well when used correctly, especially as an antidote to the dreaded unhealthy FOMO. However, JOMO doesn’t mean declining all invites to see friends and becoming an antisocial hermit. It means picking out the places, events and people that mean the most to you and doubling down on them, rather than spreading yourself across all things that are a bit ‘meh’, just in case.

In my experience with FOMO and JOMO, if an event or opportunity isn’t a ‘HELL YEAH’, then it’s a ‘hell no’. Nobody regrets all of the drinks and conferences that they missed in their life on their deathbed, only all of the time that they squandered. Use the Joy of Missing Out to help you spend that time more wisely.