Neta Bar is a business administration sophomore and opinion columnist for Mustang News. Her views reflected in this piece don’t necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.

As fulfilling as sloppily jumping around and attempting to make depthless small talk with people whose names you won’t remember over blaring music undoubtedly is, there are nights where such an activity may sound less than appealing. 

On such nights, many fall prey to the unrelenting affliction that is Friday night FOMO, which can come in one of two forms: surrendering to the pressure and half-heartedly going out –– a decision which will make you wish you were never born OR staying in and obsessively refreshing social media, becoming increasingly certain that you’re missing out on an absolute movie of an evening that everyone will be talking about for weeks to come. 

I’ve compiled a list of several tried and true ideas to try and break this vicious cycle and genuinely enjoy a recuperative night devoid of drunken chaos.

1. Watch a good movie –– like, a really good movie –– and then discuss it 

As unglamorous as staying in for a movie night initially sounds, never underestimate the power of excellent (read: mildly pretentious) cinema. Being absolutely sucked into a film for the entirety of its runtime, be it 70 minutes or 200, beats most feelings this world has to offer, second only to the pure joy that is overanalyzing everything about the movie: every screen cut, symbol and plotline. 

2. Take a late night trip to Barnes and Noble (or any bookstore that suits your fancy)

Even if you’re not the most avid of readers, a Barnes and Noble trip can still fill a void you didn’t know you had. Walking through those infinite aisles packed with every book imaginable will make you want to become a literature connoisseur, even if you haven’t picked up a novel since high school English. There’s something about a bookstore at night that makes it feel like time is not real and everything is alright in the world. Dare I say it –– you may even leave with a book or two.

3. Have tea time with a loved one

Yes, I mean literal tea time, like, grab some mugs and boil water. To juxtapose the painfully surface level conversations you would be dragged into had you decided to go out on this fateful night, find your one other (most likely introvert) friend who chose to stay in and have some wholesome, substantial discourse. 

Talk about how your week was in excessive detail, tell embarrassing childhood stories, unpack feelings that haven’t had a chance to surface –– all while enjoying the comfort of a nice, tongue-burningly hot cup of tea.

4. Get unreasonably dressed up and go to Olive Garden.

When I say dressed up, I’m talking prom attire –– suit and tie, high heels and cocktail dresses. Feel as dapper as humanly possible while indulging in those unlimited breadsticks. The Olive Garden staff should give you a baffled yet borderline impressed look as you walk through those glorious glass doors. In fact, everyone in the restaurant must do a double take when you walk by in order for this activity to really count. Everyone must live through the out-of-body experience that is an overdressed Olive Garden run.

5. Meticulously plan something to look forward to.

It can be a trip to Europe, a visit to a friend, a concert or a birthday party –– anything that makes you feel giddy and brings novelty into your life while you’re sitting at home in sweatpants. This event must be planned down to the smallest detail: guest lists written or flight tickets acquired. 

6. Learn something.

Morse code. The China–U.S. trade war. The emotional turmoil of a board game that is Settlers of Catan. Anything to stimulate the mind past clicking through drunken Snapchat stories. Teach yourself how to crochet, do a deep dive into contemporary metaphysics, conduct research about your favorite historical event. You will find that there are pros and cons to this route. You’ll have a thing or two to say at parties, but there may be a newfound shortage of party invites in your foreseeable future –– completely unrelated, of course.

7. Listen to a groundbreakingly phenomenal album the whole way through.

In the same vein as the aforementioned exhilaration of quality film-watching, you can elicit a parallel (and yet very distinct) satisfaction from a good old fashioned album listen –– in order, from start to finish, no distractions –– bonus points if a record player is involved. 

One mustn’t do anything else while embarking on this journey; you should be staring at your ceiling, practically meditative, preparing to come out of this experience a different person than who you were when you entered it.

8. Have an epiphany at Avila Beach.

A nighttime excursion to Avila Beach is one that will never disappoint. An underrated destination once the sun has set, Avila yields quite the serene thinking spot, perfect for quarter-life crises and existential contemplation. Enjoy some overdue introspection time while your friends get hammered in the distance (maybe allow yourself to have an ever so slight intellectual superiority complex about it, too). 

Ponder if there really is a God, why that last relationship didn’t work out, what the hell you’re doing with your major –– questions with a magnitude that far outweighs that pesky Friday night FOMO, which will now feel like more of a fading prospect than an unbearable premonition.