Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Friends and FOMO: Let Live Does Not Mean Let Go

  1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.

I've always thought I was a victim of FOMO. A fear of missing out. I think about it whenever I feel my face get red from the shame of feeling like an obsessive ex-boyfriend when I see pictures of my friends hanging out with other people on my feed. It makes me feel like I'm stalking their lives, which is silly, because the whole point to a news feed is that the information is fed to you. I didn't exactly seek it out!

Well, okay, I actually make a point to visit their profiles every now and then to check on them. Which is sometimes a futile act because the reason I feel this need is due to unanswered private messages, which are probably unanswered because they were offline in the first place. And I'm pretty sure I'm the one who is online the most among all of us. I'm the one who's online the most, and goes out the least. So yeah, as you can see, it's a recipe for disaster.

But recently I tried to look into what I truly do feel, and I realised that I don't actually have FOMO, per se.

I don't fear that I'm missing out on a good time; I fear that I'm missing out on their lives. I fear that they don't want me in them anymore.

I'm being clingy. 

We are all individual people with complex lives. The beauty of friendship is that you choose to be friends. You don't own your friends. You don't belong to your friends.  You are not forced to be together by some external force like work or being neighbors (although many good friendships can start that way). But you choose to interact in a deep way anyway. As individual people.

So I told myself, and now I guess I'm telling anyone who needs to hear it: It's not all or nothing. They say we should only keep those who always make an effort, but there are times where our friends are the ones who make an effort and it's us who don't notice. So when we feel like they're being absent a bit, we must take a step back and realize that sometimes, a friendship needs distance for the individuals to roam around and have some stories to return with. Sometimes, people just need to put other things first, or just finds a different person really cool to hang out with right now, and that doesn't mean you don't matter. And at times, the best thing we can do to maintain the great friendships in our lives is to let our friends bloom into the people they're meant to become. To offer support and to be there for them when we are needed, but ultimately, to wish them the best (and sometimes help them get the best!)

Of course, I am not including toxic friendships here, I hope you already know that! Some people are just bad for us. But for the people who are good for us but we keep missing chances to be with, we must stop ourselves from feeling abandoned by them. Let live. No need to let go!

This is not to say of course that we should give up on trying to be in their lives more frequently (I sure as hell am not done trying! We'll make this work guys!) but that when things don't work out, we don't need to feel discouraged about the value of our friendships. In fact, when our friends live rich and colorful lives outside the scope of our friendship, we also expand as people through seeing the world through their stories from when they were apart from us! Hanging out less doesn't have to mean falling apart. Sometimes, pursuing other things can decrease the quantity but increase the quality of our conversations.

So yep, after thinking of all that, I hope that like me, your FOMO has been replaced with excitement instead about the next time you get to sit beside each other and talk about ALL THE THINGS!

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