How Netflix’s The Circle helped curbed my FOMO

For a long time, the more I worked from home, the more my FOMO would flare up. With no coworkers to interact with or all-hands meetings to attend, my days mostly involve me, my laptop, and sometimes, my pants. I would often try to scroll through Instagram to try to connect with others, but it just made things worse. When I looked at each picture-perfect post of my friends going on vacation or to happy hour through my glazed-over eyes, I would feel alone, disconnected, and sad.

That was until I started watching Netflix’s The Circle.  

The Circle is a reality TV show where strangers live in a hotel-like apartment building, where they can only communicate via a group chat or private messages for a change to win a $100,000. As I began to watch this voyeuristic show, my JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) took over. If the contestants couldn’t leave their chic apartments for the entire show, neither was I.

I found that the contestants’ entire routines resembled my own. As a freelancer who mostly works from home, I’ve gone days without leaving my apartment or just connecting with my friends via text messages or DMs.

The Circle not only made me feel like this was okay, but it also made me feel like the longer I stayed in the confines of my studio apartment, the more I was winning. I’d live my days like The Circle’s contestants by messaging my friends (or clients), updating my status with carefully curated Instagram posts and tweets, and attempting challenges like meeting deadlines, crushing my to-do list, and finally getting around to doing laundry and Marie Kondo-ing my closet. 

With each episode, I connected with the contestants more and more. I felt closer with each person as they transitioned from being acquaintances to friends, and finally, to a family, much like co-workers do the longer they work together.

Working from home often makes me feel isolated. I miss the murmur of office chatter and the ability to gossip with coworkers during my lunch break. But tuning into The Circle while eating lunch has appeased this loss. Now I was overhearing all the tea I longed for, like listening to Joey and Shubham pow-wow about who’s loyal and who might be a catfish.

For a month, this plan worked perfectly. Whenever I had no plans and my work was done or I broke for lunch, I’d check in on my friends on The Circle. But while watching The Circle temporarily curbed my FOMO, it didn’t cure it. It merely was a quick-fix distraction to my work-from-home-loneliness—and that’s okay because the show was there for me in my time of need. So I went back on Instagram and lived vicariously through all the fabulous things my “friends” were doing as my FOMO started brewing again.

While The Circle didn’t cure my FOMO for everything, I realized something one night at a friend’s birthday party: My friends who I hadn’t seen face-to-face for weeks thought I was the one living this fabulous life, due to the hyper-posting I did on my Instagram. Little did I know that during the lulls of my hyper-posting that my posts were causing my friends major FOMO. Social media really is the highlight reel. Most of the time we’re just sitting in our apartments streaming whatever show we have to watch. We don’t post the boring stuff, or the times we feel alone. Once I accepted that, my FOMO was actually cured. 

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