In the early days of social media, (pre-Instagram, really), there was a level of mystique that perpetrated the plaguing feeling of FOMO- Fear Of Missing Out. All we had were texts, Facebook Albums that were uploaded en masse after parties, and Twitter, where people were sharing quick, in-the-moment updates occasionally accompanied by a blurry photo. Between those three platforms, all you got were small glimpses into people’s lives, just enough for your imagination to do a lot of legwork and concoct wild scenarios of what you were potentially missing out on, but never enough for you to get the whole picture. If someone ‘mentioned’ your crush in a tweet while at a party that you stayed home from to eat Cheerios and watch Law & Order SVU, you were left to wonder what would have happened had you been there: would you and him have both been in line for the keg together, ended up bonding over your shared love of some niche band or movie, exchanging phone numbers and falling madly in love? That one tweet, maybe a handful of others, would have been your only window to what happened that night until whenever you talked to your friends the next day. And even then, hindsight, especially drunk hindsight, is 20/20, so there was always a nagging feeling that you had missed out.
Oh, how the tables have turned. Instagram now manages to do everything texting, Facebook, and Twitter could never do, and then some: it makes us feel present without having to be present. Case and point: after scrolling through approx. 943 photos from the MET Ball, I probably know as much about what happened that night as the people who were there, if not more, since I got to watch it all unfold from the comfort of my bed instead of in the hustle and bustle of the scene. I mean, Eva Chen was Live Streaming from inside the museum. For all intents and purposes, I was sitting next to Kendall Jenner at that dinner, too. Everything, even most exclusive events, have become fair game for sharing, which in turn, manages to make nothing really feel exclusive at all. Photo-sharing is at an all-time high (over 95,000,000 Instagram posts per day on average), and even though social media has gotten arguably too good at its function- highlighting what everyone is doing- the pressure to share what you’re doing has continuously increased in tandem.
This isn’t to knock events or being social in general because if you think about it, meeting new people and having new experiences, those are sure-fire opportunities to expand your horizons in a positive way, and there is a certain level of happiness that only comes from saying ‘yes’. But part of growing up is finding value in the absence of excess- excess of people, excess of material things like clothes, but also, excess of commitments.
It takes a certain kind of confidence to say no: a self-awareness that means you can identify when trends, conventions or situations don’t feel like ‘you’. The hope for this issue is to offer you compelling reasons for a Night In, a reason to feel good about saying no to a dinner or party, be it the cutting-edge face masks du jour we’ve reviewed and paired with binge-worthy T.V. shows, or the innovative, fool-proof product that gets you the perfect tan while you sleep. At its most basic level, refusal is choosing to say no instead of yes, a style of living that reaches for something more refined, more personal, and truer to who you are. Isn’t that something worth aspiring to?