And yes, it’s as bad as what it sounds like I’m really saying…you know you thought it! 🙂
My recent return to the Vegas single’s game has led me to believe that FOMO, aka Fear Of Missing Out, ain’t got nothin’ on an even bigger problem: FOCU, Fear Of Committing to the Unknown.
It should be simple. You’re single, you want to go out, have fun, maybe meet someone. You find out there’s a party or activity with other single people. Awesome! New friendships, new potential dates, maybe you’ll even learn something new or valuable. Then you’re asked a very simple question. Are you going? There USE to be only two answers: Yes or No.
This is when FOCU struts onto center stage. It tells you that you have your agency, that you don’t HAVE to commit to anything because that’s why you’re here on this earth and in America after all, the glorious land of the free and home of the brave (or not so brave?).
Forget yes or no, now you can come up with a different answer, or none at all! It’s not like you’re going to get fired, hurt or killed, lose your home, etc. When deciding how to answer, a person may start a game of 20 questions, spend minutes or even hours of weighing possibilities, playing scenarios out in their mind – by the time they’ve made a decision, it’s go-or-no-show time.
So what causes FOCU? Is it fear or disappointing people? Getting a rep as a flake? Missing out on something better? Worrying you won’t feel like it when it’s time to go? As a fellow FOCU representative I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 questions I get from fellow singles:
1. “What’s going on tonight?”
It starts like this, usually with a text. People want to know what’s going on. They want to mingle, be a part of the scene, and they know where to go to get that information. Isn’t that what Facebook with all it’s groups and events are for? Seems like committing to do something or go somewhere, since the question alludes to them wanting to go out, would be a natural next step. Nope. FOCU kicks in.
2. “Who’s gonna be there?”
This questions strikes at the core of the issue. People want to know what’s going on, but they’re not willing to commit to go to said event or be part of it because of FOCU. From my experience, this is for the following reasons:
a.) If they don’t know someone, they fear going by themselves. And one wingman/wingwoman isn’t enough; they already know that person, they need someone else to meet someone with.
b.) They already have some people in mind they’d like to see, maybe a crush, eye candy, or maybe even someone they want to make jealous, an ex-lover or ex-friend.
c.) They want to be sure someone they don’t like isn’t there, because that could be awkward, and awkwardness and FOCU are besties.
d.) It may depend on who’s inviting you. If you don’t know the person who’s inviting you very well, you may not trust them with planning your night or your time; they haven’t earned the trust or stamp or credibility needed for you to commit to something. Or you simply may not like the person or think they’re popular enough for you. Oh yes, FOCU and high school mentality often go hand in hand.
3. Are there gonna be a lot of guys/girls?
People’s time is one of their prized possessions, so wasting it, especially as a single, is out of the question. I belong to a culture where girls outnumber guys at activities anyway from 5-3 to 1. Often times if a girl hears about an activity, say a movie night for example, and they find out there’s going to be fifteen girls and only a few guys, FORGET ABATTA IT. If a guy finds out there’s gonna be a lot of girls, but they’re mostly in what they’ve deemed the “sweet spirit” category, ain’t gon’ happen.
Once these questions have been answered, FOCU will slowly begin to poison you and lead to the common end result: zero commitment. There’s no gun to your head, especially with the latest infringement upon your constitutional rights, so you can feel good about your lack of commitment, right? Right…One of the joys of being single is that you have so much freedom to choose! You can do whatever you want with your money, you can up and leave for the weekend on a road trip – but sometimes I wonder if having that much freedom can be a bad thing.
I’ve seen FOCU most often with Facebook events. Facebook is one of the biggest culprits of FOCU. They created the “Maybe” option, didn’t they? Once an event is created, people will do a number of things when this happens. They’ll look at the list of who’s attending, who’s a maybe, and who’s not going, and often base their decision on that. They’ll look at the amount of people going and decide if that’s enough people to make it cool or worth going to. But really, you should take that number with a grain of salt. More often that not, there’s going to be 3 times the amount of people because of FOCU. It may say only 15 are going, but oftentimes a HUNDRED people will end up going. So why didn’t they click the “yes” or “join”?
Of course, just because you don’t commit via text or by clicking a response online doesn’t mean you have FOCU – you can still commit by going out. I remember a college friend of mine telling me about how she met her then fiancé after one of my many dateless nights at BYU. She said she had a real testimony of getting over your fears and going out, as she did the night she met her husband at a party, which she would never usually go to. If there’s anything I’ve learned from her and some of my other married friends, it’s that no matter how much faith you have, God isn’t going to drop your true love off in your doorstep in a neatly wrapped package. Sometimes we have to SHOW him our faith by putting ourselves in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations and take FOCU head on, then he blesses us. I’m not saying that will guarantee you a wife or husband, but I do promise you you’ll be blessed for it. If you or someone you know has FOCU, please add your questions, comments, or concerns below so that we can all raise FOCU awareness. Unless you have FOCU, of course…;)