Have you ever spotted a photo on Facebook of all your friends hanging out together and felt superjealous and left out that you weren't invited? Or maybe you've been texting your best friends but no one's responding and you jump to the conclusion that they must be doing something amazing without you. Then you might have a bad case of FOMO, aka the "fear of missing out." In today's modern age of check-ins, Instagram, and instantaneous forms of communication, it's especially easy to see all the fun parties and happy hours you might be missing out on. But while it's natural to feel a tinge of jealousy when you miss the memo on a gathering, it's good to relax and let some things go. Otherwise you'll seem a bit overly dramatic — like Pitch Perfect's Anna Camp in this hilarious FOMO horror movie trailer from CollegeHumor. Watch it now!
If a friend or co-worker is into you and you don't feel the same, it can be more than a little awkward to let him down. Whether he's a lifelong pal, an acquaintance you'll be seeing around, or a guy who works just a few cubicles away, that common ground can make turning him down feel impossible. Still, that's no reason to pretend you're into him just because it's easier. Instead, follow these tips to say no under even the trickiest of circumstances:
- Evaluate the relationship. Before you reject any date offers, take the time to step back and consider your approach. If you're feeling 50/50 on whether or not you're interested, think about what you'd gain or lose by giving him a shot. Is it worth going on a date to see if sparks fly? Would he feel better if you at least gave it a chance? Or is he the type who'd rather not go through the motions if you know you're not into it?
- Don't dillydally. It's never polite to wait days before responding, but it's especially rude when you've been asked out by someone you already know. No matter what kind of news you'll be passing along, be respectful and make a point to reply the same day.
- Pick the right medium to communicate. If it's a friend who's casually texted to ask you out, it's perfectly fine to text him your response. Dealing with a co-worker? Don't IM him from 20 feet away. Instead, muster the courage to say something face-to-face — he'll appreciate that you were up front with him, and you'll avoid the awkwardness of seeing him just after you've messaged him with a refusal.
- Set the postrejection tone. Chances are, he's going to feel a bit blue after you've turned him down, so it's on you to establish a normal, easygoing vibe. Smile and make small talk, but don't go overboard and shower him with attention, because that'll only rub salt in the wound. People tend to mimic the way they're treated, so do your best to treat him like a friendly acquaintance and hopefully, eventually, he'll be able to rise to the occasion himself.
You invite her to every event, you call regularly, and somehow, your friend always has an excuse — sound familiar? When a friend repeatedly flakes out on plans, forgets to check in, or fades into her own world, it's hard not to get upset and take it personally. If the relationship is important to you, though, don't dismiss the friendship altogether. Instead, follow these four steps to put your shaky friendship back on track:
- Consider her perspective. Everybody has to bail on plans sometimes, but take a step back to acknowledge where your friend is coming from. Is she extra busy at work? In a new relationship? Has she been turning away from other people, too, or does it seem like it's just you? Put yourself in her shoes to see what may be going on — whether it's about you, your friendship, or a separate issue she's dealing with on her own.
- Be persistent. Just because she can't make it to one or two events, that doesn't mean you should write off your friend altogether. Give your friendship a shot and regularly invite her to hang out, even if it feels like she's never available. She'll appreciate the effort, and you may find out that her flaky behavior is just a phase.
- Check in with her. She won't be able to step up her friendship game if she doesn't know there's a problem in the first place. Next time she ducks out of plans at the last minute, ask her if everything's OK. Even if she gets defensive, it's worth reaching out to be sure there's not a deeper issue.
- Know what works for you. Every friendship is different, and it's up to you to decide what kind of relationship you'd like to have with her. If you're running out of patience and can't keep putting in effort when it's not reciprocated, take a temporary step back. There's no need to create black-and-white boundaries — let your friendship live in the gray area for a while, and sooner or later, she may just come around.
There's something to be said for a full, well-rounded group of friends — a support network that can be there for you no matter what you need. Although some friends check off plenty of boxes, it's hard to depend on just one person, so we're highlighting important relationships everyone should have. For a sentimental look at the sorts of people you should surround yourself with, take a look at seven must-have friendships — and the onscreen pals that pair with each one!
When you're not so into your friend's other half, it can wreak havoc on your relationship — and theirs. If you don't handle it the right way, then it can be an awkward, sticky situation, so it's important to take a step back and deal with the issue. Not a fan of your friend's guy? Learn how to deal with these five helpful tips:
- Decide whether it's just you. Think about why you have a problem with him. Is it something small, like an annoying habit? Are you just jealous of the time they spend together? Or is it an issue with how he treats your friend? If it's just you, then you need to work it out on your own, but if it's a bigger problem, then talk to another friend to figure out the next step.
- Consider their connection. Your friend is dating him for a reason, so take a step back to evaluate their relationship. What does she see in him? Which qualities does she gush about most? Think about why he's good for her, and let that be the foundation of the friendship you build with him.
- Find common ground. You have your friend in common, so chances are there's something you two can relate on. Ask your pal what he's into, learn more about his past, and when you're at the same event, strike up some small talk to see if you have any shared interests.
- Make a real effort. If he feels like you aren't a fan of his, then he definitely won't be himself when he's around you. Make a point to reach out and initiate one-on-one conversations so that he can feel more comfortable — that way, his best, most genuine self can shine through.
- Know your boundaries. Love him when it's a small group but can't stand him at major events? Recognize when and where you feel most at ease with him, and steer your friendship in that direction. If your friend is really into him, then he'll probably be around for a while, so it's important to define boundaries that work for you.
The ins and outs of being a good friend are fairly straightforward, but the "BFF" title comes with a range of responsibilities. You're kind, you're supportive, and you're empathetic, but is that enough? There are key elements of every relationship that deserve extra attention, so to help you avoid any awkward friendship slipups, we're highlighting the major blunders to avoid. To be the best BFF you can be, steer clear of these eight friendship faux pas:
- Forget major events. Everyone forgets a birthday at some point, but do whatever you can to remember those special occasions in her life. When she tells you about a big work project or a fun date that's coming up, mark it down on your calender so you can make a point to reach out. A simple text, a card — whatever it is, she's sure to appreciate that small effort.
- Comment on her insecurities. Whether it's "I look fat" or "my nail beds suck," don't indulge her moments of insecurity. When she says something negative about herself, skip the response and steer the conversation elsewhere. Chiming in will only feed into her issues, and whether you agree with her or not, no answer is the right one.
- Bash other friends. A good rule of thumb: if it feels like you're gossiping, you probably are. And if you're talking about another friend behind her back, who's to say you won't do the same to her? Even if you're just opening up to her because you know she'll understand where you're coming from, it's still not a good idea — gossip doesn't look good on anyone.
- Make fun of her family. It doesn't matter how close you are to her family — you should never, ever say something bad about one of her relatives. She may like to joke about her annoying younger brother or that crazy, reckless aunt you met over the holidays, but that doesn't mean you should feel free to join in. Cracking one-liners about her family will only upset her, so nod and laugh rather than adding to the conversation.
Read on for more friendship mistakes to avoid.
Ouija boards, Truth or Dare, friendship bracelets, hair braiding: is there anything not to like about the slumber parties of our girlhood days? So instead of your next girls' night out, how about making it a girls' night in with our ideas for throwing a sleepover for grown-up girlfriends. We've found the entertainment, home goods, and treats you need to throw a fun overnight party with your favorite ladies. Here are the essentials!
Planning a wedding can turn even the calmest of friends into an anxious, worked up wreck, but offering a bit of support to your bride-to-be pal can keep her from venturing into bridezilla territory. Whether she's outright unpleasant or just internalizing the stress, there are a few easy ways to help her stay sane. Have a pal who's struggling through the planning process? Follow these tips to keep your friend — and everyone around her — more at ease:
- Lend an understanding ear. Your friend may just need to vent a bit, and although the color of the napkin rings may seem unimportant to you, it's the buildup of all those little details that's likely to put her over the edge. Plus, even if she's talking about the napkin rings, chances are it's not actually about the napkin rings, so be a patient listener and help her through whatever's really bothering her.
- Keep her company. If she feels like she's planning her wedding alone, your friend might get sad or frustrated. Offer to take on a small project, like finding the perfect candle votives. Is she not the delegating type? In that case, volunteer to accompany her on some of the errands. Your presence may be enough to calm her down.
Read on for more tips to keep her calm.
Life happens, things change, and sometimes even the best of friendships can start to fade. If there seems to be a shift between you and a friend, then don't just sit back and let the gap grow larger. Instead, take the initiative and do what you can to rescue the relationship. Not sure where to start? Follow these five simple steps to save a fading friendship:
- Recognize what's changed. If you're feeling awkward about your friendship, then take a step back to gauge how things are different. Do you hear from her less often? Have you stopped hanging out? Is it uncomfortable between you when you're together? Are you dating someone and spending more time with him? Before you can tackle the problem, you need to identify what's changed between you and your friend.
- Shift your perspective. Consider your friendship through her eyes, and try to evaluate yourself as a friend. Think about how often you reach out, what you tend to talk about, and whether you make plans and stick to them. Remember that relationships are two-sided, and be honest with yourself about what kind of friend you've been to her.
- Start with the little things. Once you've realized what's shifted and what's missing between you and your friend, do whatever you can on your end. Even if a lot of the issues seem to be coming from her side of the friendship, it's important that you step up your game and make the extra effort to be there for her. Send a funny text, remind her of an inside joke, and try to set some plans in stone, even if it's just a short coffee date to catch up.
Read on for more friendship-saving tips.
Long-distance friendships may be easier to maintain than romantic relationships, but that doesn't mean they don't require effort. In fact, when you make your friendship a priority, living apart can bring you even closer because you have to be more purposeful about staying in touch. To be there without being there, follow these five thoughtful tips:
- Honor the major moments. It's easy to get wrapped up in your routine and forget about your friend's big promotion or that exciting trip she's planned, but you should make a point to remember those important moments. Keep it simple by marking it on your calendar the first time she mentions it, and when the date arrives, let her know you're thinking of her by sending flowers to her office, leaving a sweet voicemail, or even writing a simple text message — it really is the thought that counts.
- Connect with your favorite pastimes. Similar interests are what brought you together in the first place, so why not boost that bond? Create a joint Pinterest board to swap recipes, read the same book at the same time, and recap your favorite TV shows over the phone.
- Take advantage of technology. Staying connected has become more effortless than ever. On an everyday basis, share photos or make lunch-hour phone dates a priority. Even better? Carve out regular "face-to-face" time by video chatting each week. Try a Sunday morning coffee date over Skype or use FaceTime to "get ready together" next time you're going out, and you'll truly feel like you've seen her.
Read on for more long-distance friendship advice.