The acronym FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – is prevalent now thanks to a negative side effect of social media (mostly facebook.) When a photo is posted on facebook, it is often the result of a group selfie, retaken because Cindy didn’t like her smile, retaken again because Kathy had her hand in front of Erika’s face (she’s always doing that,) retaken yet again because Sandra blinked, with the final result being a picture adequate enough to post what appears to be the most epic evening overflowing with lush cocktails, gourmet appetizers, and enough laughs and hugs and camaraderie to put everyone lucky enough to be in attendance in a state of zen for the next three months. Or at least until the next event, which will be equally – if not more – incredible.
I’m torn somewhere between FOMO and FOBI – Fear Of Being Included. As a human being, it’s only natural to feel a sense of… I’m not sure exactly what to call it… a twinge of jealousy mixed with a small amount of anger mixed with a larger dose of decreased self esteem. I know most of the people that were there so how come I wasn’t invited? I don’t get more than a few moments beyond that thought when I snap out of it, already knowing the answer. Had I had been invited, I still wouldn’t be in the picture because I wouldn’t have gone — I don’t want to be there. As a result of my textbook introversion (I’ve previously posted about it here and here) the idea of being invited to fend for myself in a social situation with a large group of acquaintances sets loose a crippling mix of anxiety and panic. I have forced myself to overcome this affliction in the past with mixed results. I have been known to have fun every now and again without the safety blanket of my husband or a close friend I can rely on to guide me through awkward small talk. On the other hand, there have been times where I have suffered through some unbearably stiff gatherings that left me lecturing myself the entire car ride home while I replay every single word I had said in order to berate myself for my social incompetence. (“Ugghh, why would I ever tell her that? I am Such. A. Loser!”) Then I get home and curl myself into the smallest ball possible while digging my head into the crevice between the couch cushion and my husband’s leg in an attempt to burrow underneath him and away from myself. He’ll laugh and tell me I’m a mental case while I agree and tell him I don’t want to talk any more words.
As I get older, I’m dealing with this less frequently, probably due to one of two things — either there’s so much other stuff going on that’s so legitimately more important that I can’t be bothered with worrying about my insignificant insecurities, or my attempts at avoiding such situations have been so successful that I don’t come across them very often any more. I don’t really know if that’s good or bad. But I do suspect that there are many more of you out there that feel the same way. Sadly, we won’t ever meet because it’s too scary. Hit me up, all you fellow FOBI’s so we can form a club of non-inclusion from the quiet comfort of our safe, isolated surroundings.