For those unfamiliar with the term (yes, I googled it when one of my friends said it) it stands for Fear of Missing Out.
I recently heard the term for the first time when I was group chatting with friends from home and we were planning a get together with three of us. Unfortunately, one of our bests lives in NYC and she said she was having serious FOMO. I, being obviously so out of the new lingo, was confused and headed to Google to see what that meant.
Then the other day while flipping through the newspaper, I found this article. I thought it was hilarious that there was a legitimate article in the paper about this so-called “issue” in young people today. Then I read the article. Then today I read PickyRunner’s post about similar things. And it got me thinking: this is a real issue and I can see where in my life it has effected me.
Living at home still with most of my friends not in the area, I guess you could say I suffer from “FOMO” more often than not. I’ll get on Facebook or Instagram and see pictures of my friends doing really fun things – maybe even together – and I just feel both like I am missing out, and left out.
The biggest thing I’ve realized is because I live so far away from all my classmates and don’t get the chance to go out with them, I feel like I’m missing out on the opportunity to make these people my best friends. Yes, I’m friends with them. But I’m not getting that experience of living with them and hanging out with them outside of school things so I feel left out.
But let’s be serious here: who posts about doing laundry, watching entire seasons of TV shows, or staying home reading a book on social media? No one. So people never see that side of their peers. People post pictures of the beer they are drinking, the beach, the bars, the friends, etc. They make themselves look more social by only posting these things. I’m not pointing fingers at any one because I completely do this too. Who wants to feel like a loser because you’re in bed by 8pm on a Saturday night reading a book? Not going to lie; most of my summer has consisted of that and I don’t mind one bit.
FOMO is created by social media. And as the Post’s article suggests, it’s what keeps them going. Without this inner competition with our peers to be doing fun things all the time and letting the world know about it, social media would probably fizzle. It’s what society is now.
Which brings me to my next topic: Unplug! I can’t tell you how good it feels to not have to worry about my phone sometimes. I love days when I’m too busy to sit here and pull up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, you name it. When I have nothing to do, I will probably check FB & IG at least 4-5 times per hour – unless I’m wrapped up in a book which has been the norm the past few weeks. I just like being connected to my friends. Especially friends from college who it’s hard to keep in touch with; I use social media to stay connected with them.
So the next time you are feeling down on yourself because all your friends are doing something fun and you’re at home by yourself: let go of the fear. Who cares? Life is longer than you think. Missing out on one or two crazy nights out isn’t going to turn you into a loner, I promise. Unplug for a day or two. Set limits on how much you go on social media. When you’re on vacation, be on vacation! When you’re with friends, be with them and put the phone down.
And lastly, from the wise words of one of my bests Chelsea: Do what makes you happy in life. Stop worrying about pleasing others. Just live your life how you want to and don’t let others change the way you want live.