TAYLOR LIFKA ‘17
The recurring Saturday night slump rolls around and you’re faced with the same old question: “are you going out tonight?” It’s 9:00 p.m., it’s freezing outside and you’re curled up on the couch laughing with your best friends. Does it require much thought? It seems to me that the answer to this would be no, but it appears to some this is not that simple.
Last Saturday night my friends and I came back up the hill after dinner in Granville and soon found ourselves in great conversation in the common room. It wasn’t one of those conversations about the weather or the meaningless banter of words shared between people to fill the awkward silence, but rather one of those moments that made me take a second to think about how truly lucky I was to have found friends like these.
Nearly all of my closest friends last semester studied abroad, scattering all of us, myself included, across the globe. In my hardest days in a foreign country I drew on moments like the one I just described, and I desperately longed to be back on the couch with these women. Now we’re back and it seems as if we’ve never left. The doubled over laughter still occurs, and I wonder if I’ll ever find more valuable moments then these.
Yet I’m suddenly awakened from my inner monologue by the dreaded words of my friends: “I wish I didn’t have to go out tonight.”
I immediately feel my stomach sink as the comments continue to roll: “I’m so jealous of you Taylor, I would do anything to stay in too.”
I can’t decide if I’m angry or offended – annoyed or genuinely just hurt. Let me remind you that these people I call my best friends don’t have to go out. There’s no attendance policy for attending the Sunnies, and I wonder where it is that my friends feel they’ll be slighted if they don’t leave the couch on Saturday night.
Comments about “not wanting to miss anything” filter around the room, and I just don’t understand. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go out too and there’s nothing wrong with going to parties on the weekends. What I have a hard time grappling with is this existing pressure to go out even when it’s physically the last thing you want to do in the moment. What I can’t understand is why a perfectly good moment in the midst of truly amazing friends has to be ruined by this indescribable need to be seen, FOMO if you will – fear of missing out.
I’m not going to pretend I’m above this ridiculous phenomenon, because I’m not. But what I will say is that I am frustrated by the sad reality that making valuable memories with friends looses out over FOMO. That after nearly six months spent in different countries a drunken night in the sunnies always takes precedence over movie night in the common room.
I fear we’re so concerned about “missing out” that we can’t see what we’re missing out on is right in front of our faces. Having a memorable night doesn’t require leaving the room – it’s about the people you’re with and the rest doesn’t matter.