Here’s yet another COVID-related post for you.

My husband and I were having socially-distanced drinks in our friends’ backyard over the weekend, and we were talking about our larger group of friends and all of the things they did together over the summer. Because my husband and I and these friends of ours have been among the most careful among our group of friends throughout this pandemic, we haven’t been informed about all of the goings-ons in the larger group.

We were talking about FOMO (fear of missing out), which is something I thankfully don’t get too often. But throughout the summer, I definitely felt it whenever I would hear about an upcoming outing (usually on a lake, which is where I prefer to spend beautiful summer days).

Usually, I experience JOMO (joy of missing out) because typically, my social life is very satisfying even when I say no to things, and having time to myself is wonderful. If I’m having a great time doing something fun or interesting, I don’t usually think about the things I said no to. But the fact that social time is so few and far between during the pandemic is causing FOMO to replace my usual JOMO. My dance card is not full.

Okay, so back to the backyard drinks. My brilliant friend, Thomas, introduced another option he coined: ROSY, or regret of saying yes.

It was exactly the catchy acronym I needed to describe another thing I’ve experienced over the course of the pandemic:

When I agreed to go out to dinner with some friends on Friday, March 13th and felt SO guilty and worried about it: ROSY.

When I went to an indoor client meeting and felt pressured not to wear a mask: ROSY

And, at some point, I was looped into the conversations about those lake outings that gave me so much FOMO. My husband and I eventually grabbed our kayak and stand up paddle board and hit the lake to meet up with the group at sunset. As we approached the meeting place, the mass of floating maskless people, tethered together and anchored, sharing chips and guac, came into view. We kept our distance, enjoyed the sunset, and paddled back to shore, wishing we had gone to another part of the lake: ROSY.

Before COVID, I would sometimes (but rarely) have failed attempts at JOMO—when I’ve said no to something but then ended up regretting it because something amazing happened or my alternative plans were not as good as I expected. Now, it seems ROSY is a very real and much more likely scenario.

Perhaps it will cure me of FOMO once and for all. (Or, at least for the remainder of the pandemic.)

Now I’m considering ways ROSY might present itself in situations beyond social ones, like at work or with family—pandemic or not.

Have you experienced ROSY? How did you deal with it?

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