Would you rather spend a cosy evening at home or go on an all-night bender? These days, we're increasingly embracing the Joy Of Missing Out (JOMO) than succumbing to the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Here, two writers debate the merits and flaws of being happy to simply stay indoors.
“Who needs the added pressure of being a yes-woman, 24/7?”
Sarah Biddlecombe, Stylist.co.uk writer, is a staunch defender of JOMO
Once upon a time, the most overused word in my vocabulary was keen.
New bar opening? Keen. Groupon vouchers for a cocktail masterclass taking place in a dubious bar on the other side of London? Keen. House party thrown by someone I vaguely knew at University, sure to be a minefield of ex-flings and boring small talk? Keen guys, I’m so keen.
Keen was my FOMO, and it sucked. Because really, who needs the added pressure of being a yes-woman 24/7, constantly trying to out-fun everyone else at the party? Which members of our cash-strapped generation rent really need the peer pressure of buying another overpriced round of drinks for people they barely know?
I’ll forever be in debt to whoever made staying in the new going out and finally gave us a reason to reclaim our spare time, cleverly packaged up as a cutesy acronym we can bandy about on days when it’s dark, and raining, and we really can’t be arsed.
That’s not to say I don’t go out, to bars and cinemas and clubs, or see friends and generally socialise with other members of the human race. Last weekend, my best friend and I were even going to go out out, but three bottles of prosecco down we realised we were having more fun lolling on the sofa than queuing to get into a bar, then queuing to get to the actual bar, then queuing to use a grubby toilet.
And therein lies the true joy of JOMO - it finally makes it acceptable for us to do what we want, and only want we want. Embracing JOMO as a way of life doesn't make you a full-time recluse who counts Netflix as your only hobby, or automatically transform you into someone who would rather spend time with a mound of fleecy blankets than an actual human being.
JOMO laughs in the cruel face of FOMO. Turn down that invitation to a party where you know an ex will be lurking. Count yourself out of a day trip to Thorpe Park when you know you hate rollercoasters. Say no to going for dinner in an overpriced restaurant if all you really want to do is eat KFC in bed and watch Parks and Recreation on repeat (just me?)
Embracing JOMO doesn’t make you a smug loser. It soothes your inner, FOMO-ridden teenager, and means that when you do go out, you're bound to have more fun – because you actually want to be there.
And really, otherwise, what is the bloody point?
“At least FOMO felt inclusive. We were sharing a fear.”
Alex Jones, Stylist's senior writer, thinks JOMO is smug nonsense
I’m sorry,* but talking about how overjoyed you are to be ‘missing out’ is an act of unbearable smuggery.
It implies that those of us who do not want to miss out – and I do not – are somehow insecure. It implies we are the sad, desperado types, not quite so content with our own company, always needing to be in the middle of the new THING – whatever that thing may be.
At least FOMO felt inclusive. We were sharing a fear. It was nice, it was reassuring.
And actually, missing out sucks. I’d rather be the last person at the party, the biggest glutton at the table and the first in the queue at the club, than the terminal bore sitting in my dressing-gown watching Black Fish on Netflix for the eighth time (although, that whale, man…shit).
Listen, I say this as a closeted homebody. According to my friends, my spirit animal is a slug. For obvious reasons, but also because I love lying down so much. Give me a block of chilli cheddar and a double bed to recline in and I will name you my messiah and worship you from the depths of my soft sluggy soul. I get cosiness and solitude and all those things that JOMO kind of represents. But shouting about it really is bullshit.
And what’s worse, it is touted as the saviour of media-hungry millennials – the ultimate way to, like, chill out man, when in actuality hash-tagging your social media what-nots with JOMO is the very opposite of chilled out.
“So glad I’m not at that party #JOMO” screams “why didn’t anyone invite me to that party? WHY? Must. Act. Cool.”
As a person who quite likes enthusiasm and jollity and all the emotions that make life worth living, the forced nonchalance of #JOMO makes me want to chun.
As far as I’m concerned, whoever decided that staying in was the new cool thing to do should be given a caustic white wine and stern telling off. And as for the rest of you JOMOs, I’ll give you the same advice that my mum gave me when I was a dumpy 14-year-old, trying desperately to be cool: be the shepherd, not the herd.