Hello, my name is Jade and I’m getting over a serious case of FOMO.
FOMO, for those who don’t know, stands for Fear Of Missing Out.
Let’s start at the beginning. As a child, I moved around a lot. I went to a different school every year until I was 11. Because of this, I learned to make friends easily – it’s hard to be the new girl every year at a different school. This practice of making friends easily has made me a “social butterfly,” so to speak. In college, I had many different circles of friends.
However, my definition of a “friend” was fairly wide back then. Underneath the outgoing, extroverted personality was my fear of missing out. I always felt like I had to remind friends that I existed. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Or at least it was for me. I can recall a number of times when friends would hang out and not invite me. I remember how upset I’d be at these people I called my friends. I hated being an afterthought.
In recent years, I’d see pictures of these friends from college or high school – a lot of them are all still close today. The same group of people – without me. I’d look at these pictures and be jealous, wishing that I could be there…wishing I could be that close to those friends once again.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about friendship as an adult, it’s this: True friends are the friends that want to be a part of your life and want you to be a part of theirs. They invite you out. They do not hesitate to help in emergencies. They do not hold back when telling you something about yourself that isn’t positive. They lift you up. They encourage you. They challenge you. They’ll stand next to you when you marry the person you love and they’ll sit with you at a coffee shop for hours on end.
As I look at a lot of the friendships that I have or have had over the years, I can now appreciate people for who they were in my life at the time. Some people aren’t meant to stay in your life forever, no matter how good the friendship was/is. No matter how badly we want to hold onto them. I’ve discovered the freedom in letting go of seasonal friends. By seasonal, I mean that they were only around for a season in my life, whether that be a few months or a few years. I can honestly look back and be thankful for these friends, because they were integral in forming the person I am today. I can only hope that old friends can look back on their friendships with me and say the same.
It was hard for me to grasp this concept at first because I draw such energy from people. I get so excited about life after spending quality time with a friend. But I’ve become more deliberate and careful when using the term “friend.” I’ve become more comfortable using the words “acquaintance” and “colleague” to accurately place people in my friendship spectrum.
This isn’t to say that I’ve written people out of my life. Or that I’ll never see them again. I might see them again. We might catch up on life over coffee. We might reminisce about the good old times. We might speculate what life would’ve been had we made different decisions.
I read somewhere once that it’s in our adult life that we get to really choose our friends. When we’re growing up, we have school, religious services, and extracurricular activities that kind of narrow down the friendship scope for us. As adults, we’re not confined by a classroom or school or activity in terms of finding and making friends.
Seasonal friends are a dime a dozen. True friends – lifelong friends – are few and far between. And I’m okay with that.