Being single isn’t actually that bad — but FOMO makes us feel like it is. It makes us feel like we are missing out on milestones, like we are falling behind, like we are doing something wrong.
When we’re single, we feel like we’re the only ones. We have married friends. Engaged friends. Friends with newborn babies and owned homes and diamond rings on their finger. We cannot scroll through our social media without seeing them posing with drinks on date nights or sharing mushy posts about how much their person means to them. We watch their love stories unfold across stories and snaps.
FOMO fools us into believing we are the only ones left who haven’t gotten into a serious relationship in our twenties, who are still swiping on Tinder, who are still living alone (or with our parents). It makes us feel like we are the only ones our age who cannot imagine settling down anytime soon, who keep falling for the wrong boys, who keep getting disappointed by people who cannot reach our standards.
The comparisons are what’s killing us. Most of the time, we are perfectly happy about spending the weekends alone. We are perfectly happy about snuggling under the covers with our laptops and binge-watching shows. We are perfectly happy having a bed and bathroom to ourselves. We are perfectly happy calling ourselves single.
The only time when we start to feel like we are missing out is when our friends talk to us about the honeymoon they took or when we see pictures of couples going apple picking at sunrise. We wonder why they have found their love first. We wonder whether we should have found our love too.
We see happy couples — and instead of wondering whether they have been going to therapy or exercising or practicing better self-care — we assume the reason they look so happy is because they have found each other.
Of course, we only see their most exciting moments. We don’t see their average days when they are grocery shopping or lounging around on the couch. We don’t realize they are spending their weekends binge-watching shows and eating chips in the bedroom just like us — they are only doing it with an extra person alongside them.
FOMO tricks us into believing couples have it better, when really, their only difference is a relationship status. Most of the things we see them doing on their Instagram stories can be done with our closest friends. Taking vacations. Going bowling. Touring a winery. Signing up for paint nights. Barhopping. We aren’t actually missing out on as much as we think.
Even though FOMO might make us feel like we are the only single person left in our town, that is far from the case. There are plenty of other singles around — and they aren’t all miserable. Some of them realize romance isn’t everything. Some of them realize they are better off alone than in a bad relationship. Some of them are happy to call themselves single.