How to Get Over FOMO and Live Happily Alone

Living alone can be tough, but it can also be very freeing.

I was inspired to write this post by a conversation I recalled recently that I’d had with a friend of mine during the pandemic. Her daughter was in the healthcare industry and worked at a hospital so I was asking how she was doing. She told me that her daughter was incredibly busy and exhausted, but otherwise fine. She then asked how I was doing. I held back the truth a bit because the truth was that I was doing great (more on that later). But I told her that I was doing fine and asked her how she was doing. She said that she was busy working from home, but was really looking forward to the weekend because she could just stay at home and relax without experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out). There was nothing going on “out there” due to the lockdown, so there was nothing to miss out on. Ha! I hadn’t looked at it that way. She was actually looking forward to spending time at home and not going anywhere, when so many singles dread this scenario.


This positive, no-FOMO attitude of my friend’s got me thinking about FOMO in general. Do single people experience more FOMO than others? I think we do. Even when there’s no pandemic going on and we’re free to come and go as we please, I think single people feel the pressure to be out there doing things all the time. If we’re not then we’re missing out. There’s no one at home to just hang out with, which feels like you’re doing something because you’re with another person. In my dating years I used to express it this way, “If you stay home on a Saturday night and watch movies with your significant other then you’re having a Movie Night. If you stay home on a Saturday night by yourself and watch movies it’s because you couldn’t find anything better to do.” The first scenario sounds like a fun, relaxing evening in, and the second one sounds like boring drudgery. My guess is also that single people stay at home more in general because there’s not that other person saying spontaneously, “Hey, wanna go do this?” And there’s no one for you to say that, too, either. When was the last time you said to yourself, “I feel like checking out that new art exhibit,” and then immediately put on your shoes, grabbed your purse and headed out the door? If you’re in the practice of doing those kinds of things, kudos to you, but I’ll bet that most of us don’t. And what does that lead to? FOMO. You assume that all the couples and/or families are out there doing things and you’re missing out at home by yourself. What the pandemic did for single people was allow us to not feel bad for not being “out there,” because we weren’t allowed to be out there and no one else was, either.

If I could just stop the world

Have you ever been so busy or so stressed out or so behind on things that you wished you could just stop the world for a period of time and get things under control? I used to have this fantasy all the time, especially in school. I’d have two exams that I hadn’t studied for and three papers due for which I hadn’t written a single word, and there was no way I was ever going to get it all done on time. I used to wish that I could snap my fingers and freeze the entire world in place for a week or two, except for myself, of course. Literally everyone would just freeze in whatever position they were in at the time. You better hope you weren’t on the toilet or something (heh heh heh). Then I could get all caught up and snap my fingers when I was ready to resume. This seemed like such a wonderful solution to my problem and it was nice to spend a little time within this fantasy before coming back down to earth. Which leads me to why I did so well being stuck at home alone during the pandemic. Obviously, no FOMO, but the main reason I did so well with all of the pandemic chaos was that I got caught up on so many things and it did wonders for my psyche. While spending some time reveling in this, it hit me that my old “freeze the world” fantasy had come true! During the period of sheltering in place and stay-at-home orders, with businesses being closed, flights being cancelled, and very few people out and about, the world had essentially stopped for a period of time. Well, maybe it didn’t stop completely, but it certainly slowed way down. I took advantage of the “frozen world” and got caught up on work and home projects. I don’t think I was ever more productive and it was because there wasn’t anything distracting me. So, do you have to wait for the next pandemic (God forbid!) to poo-poo FOMO and stop the world and get caught up on things? Heck no! You’re single. You can stop the outside world anytime you want, retreat to your sanctuary and press the reset button.

First do this, then this

First, you have to get over the FOMO. Is anything that’s going on out there really so great that you have to feel bad about missing out on it? No way! Just remember my friend who was anxiously awaiting a weekend where she could stay at home and not feel like she had to be out doing things. You can do this anytime you want because you don’t have anyone pestering you to do otherwise. This is a blessing, not a curse, and the sooner you recognize that the faster you’ll get over your FOMO. Secondly, you have to recognize all of the good things about being at home by yourself. No one’s bugging you to go do something, you can choose to do whatever you want, no one’s making any noise to bother you, the list goes on and on. You can spend the whole day in bed watching Netflix if you want and no one’s looking down their nose at you. That’s an incredible amount of freedom right there! Just think about all your married/cohabitating friends and how they feel when their spouse/significant other goes away for a few days. They love it! Because they get to do exactly what you get to do all the time and take for granted. Don’t take your single-living freedom for granted, use it to your advantage. Get things done around the house, start some new projects, get caught up on things you’ve been procrastinating, or just lay around all weekend eating snacks and bingeing TV. Whatever it is you need to do for yourself, you have the freedom to do it.

Lessons learned

Being stuck in the house all by yourself can get really boring and lonely. If you let it. But you can choose to make it really productive instead. You don’t even have to be super busy, you just have to keep the right frame of mind. You can look at any situation in many different ways, both positive and negative. If you’re looking at living alone as a horrible, lonely thing, then that’s what it’s going to be. If you look at it as an opportunity to get projects done, read books, do a lot of cooking, catch up on TV shows, do some introspection and healing, plan a happy new life, and practice spending quality time with yourself, then that’s what it’s going to be. You can spend your time wondering what you’re missing out on “out there” and wallowing in your loneliness, or you can kick FOMO to the curb and revel in your single-life freedom instead. The choice is yours!

Leslie Kaz, coach for single women

I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.

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