FOMO or Fear of Missing Out: What Is it About?

May 6, 2019
Discover FOMO in this article!

If you think your life is going way too fast or that you always have to be aware of what your friends post on social media, and if your smartphone, tablet, or preferred electronic device is a fundamental tool in your life, this article about FOMO may interest you.

Social media has fooled us all at least once. When you go on social media and check your contacts’ profiles, you think their lives are incredibly interesting and fun. At least that’s what it seems. You may also feel the need (a borderline obsessive one, actually) to be checking your phone constantly to be aware of everything. And when you don’t, you feel left behind. In addition to this, you may begin to experience discomfort, anxiety and/or fear of social exclusion or loneliness. If so, then welcome to the world of fear of missing out, also known as FOMO.

Slowly but surely, our brain gets tired due to our obsession to be connected to social media all the time. In fact, it’s quite detrimental to our health to only pay attention to what goes on online. By doing this, emotions such as envy, fear of being left out, and jealousy may come to the surface, especially if we compare ourselves to others.

Be honest with yourself and analyze if any of the things we’ve mentioned pertain to you. Also, keep in mind that FOMO isn’t the only social media/technology related phobia going around. Nomophobia, on the other hand, is the irrational fear of being without your phone. Another common phenomenon is phubbing, which refers to ignoring your surroundings by only paying attention to your phone. However, these last two are deeply connected to FOMO.

FOMO or Fear of Missing Out

The need to constantly check your phone and be aware of your friends’ latest posts can lead to unnecessary suffering. While most of us are curious about what’s going on in the online world, this fascination can become so extreme it can turn into a clinical picture.

The fear of not being updated with what’s happening online, plus the tendency to be comparing our lives to other people’s, often fills us up with feelings of pessimism and deep sadness. It increases our insecurity levels and makes us believe that our life is inferior to our friends’. Little by little, it isolates us from the world and reduces our ability to concentrate on important things.

FOMO also has the power to condition the value we give to our own achievements. We become more aware of what’s happening on social media networks than in real life. Without a doubt, events such as parties, exotic excursions, dinners at expensive restaurants, or work achievements set a trend in the social media world. However, keep in mind that this exhibition is partial and that it rarely constitutes an accurate vision of the reality of the person who published the post.

If being offline makes you angsty and anxious and stresses you out, you’re probably a victim of FOMO. Therefore, it’s very important to make an effort to try to regulate your emotions. Remember that having more real than virtual contacts makes planning fun activities possible.

A girl trying to avoid FOMO by checking her social media accounts on her phone.

Wanting to Know Everything that’s Happening Online

Smartphones are very powerful tools. However, they’re also a permanent distractor that can condition our lives. The constant need to check everything that’s happening on the Internet may stem from an inner desire to receive approval and admiration from others. Undoubtedly, we’re all curious about what happens. However, the best thing we can do is keep said curiosity from taking the helm of our lives.

Likewise, you should know that FOMO affects mostly young people with some kind of family or social dependence. They often use social media networks to build and reaffirm their identity. This explains why they don’t want to miss anything that’s happening in the virtual world.

Finally, it’s important to note that not living such a busy, luxurious life is okay. Those who portray that kind of lifestyle on social media may not even be 100% happy with their lives. However, if someone you follow brags about the things they do, it’s okay to see it; what’s not okay is comparing yourself or your life to theirs. It’s just not worth it.

Instead of focusing on the online world so much, work hard to build a great life for yourself in the real world. We assure you that this is way more satisfying than creating an online persona just to get views and likes.