Saturday, February 1, 2014

FOMO

FOMO is a phrase that has been kicking around, especially around college campuses.  It stands for "fear of missing out" and is something I rarely understand.  As you may have guessed, I am an introvert.  This seems pretty normal to me, I'm an engineer and a blogger,  you would guess I like to spend a lot of time alone.  This is how it's always been for me.  I remember even as a young child I would sit in my room alone playing with my American Girl doll.  This never bothered me.  I liked the quiet, and it was a nice change from being downstairs with my 2 siblings and a dog.
15 years later not much has changed.  Given a choice I'd rather be in my room than at a party, or out wandering around.  I like the quiet.  I am not anti-social.  That label drives me crazy.  I love company and I love my friends, I just love when we stay in.  For some reason this label has such negative stigma attached to it.  Why?  
For years I have felt like a weirdo and a hermit for declining invitations to go to large frat parties and all night ragers.  I'd get calls at 8 when I was already in my pajamas with a book from people wanting to go out.  How could I be in bed when the night was just starting?  Do I have some sort of anxiety problem?  Am I abnormal?  What was wrong with me that only a couple semesters in I was already bored with college parties.  I felt like the odd one out not caring if I ran around at night.
 I wasn't lonely or bored, I've just always liked the quiet.  Unfortunately, I've always felt like a weirdo because of it.  Back in highschool I used to fake answers to personality tests to get an extrovert score because I thought it made me "better".
But it doesn't.  It took me 20 years to realise that there are a lot of people like me, we're just pretty quiet about it.  It's not a disease to sit inside on a Friday night,  it's actually quite common.  After I started making friends at MIT I met a lot of people that would sit in at night together and hang out.  Awesome for me right?  Yeah I was in heaven.  No FOMO, no parties, just TV, food, and friends.
The more I read the more I found a community of introverts.  We are bloggers, scientists, CEO's, writers, athletes, pretty much anything.  We keep things running in the background and do what we need to do without disturbing our rhythm or other people.  Introverts help support the backbone of humanity, balancing the extroverts.  Neither is more important because both are needed.
I'm feeling more comfortable in my skin now, and hopefully my fellow introverts, you will too.

Inspired by this TED Talk:






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