FOMO

The Fear of Missing Out.

People in the media have been buzzing with this word for a few years now, especially in critiques of millennials and their dependence on social media that supposedly leads to FOMO.

And the media isn’t wrong: constantly seeing online what your friends and acquaintances are doing in real life can lead to jealously, anxiety, and harsh self-critique.

hand18 copyCollege is a highly social environment, which means that you’re constantly and inescapably aware of what your peers are doing. Add in social media, and it’s a recipe for a nagging feeling of “why am I not part of what those people are doing?” is hard to avoid.

It’s impossible to live in a vacuum of ignorance, so the Fear of Missing Out can bite. Sometimes you can’t help but compare your experiences to others’. If you choose to stay in on a weekend or to spend time with different friends, you can feel like you made the wrong decision and missed out on something in the process.

But FOMO isn’t all bad. It can also be harnessed as motivation to take risks and a counter for social anxiety. 

Even though I’m outgoing, I can sometimes feel a bit anxious before entering unfamiliar social situations, like networking events or group gatherings with new people. I’m usually fine once I’m there but getting there is the hard part for me. 

fomo like a mofoSo I use FOMO to my advantage. I tell myself that I’d be missing out on great opportunities to meet new and interesting people at the event. You’ll never know if you don’t go, I remind myself, and soon I find my hesitation slipping away because I simply don’t want to miss out on something that could be amazing.

And even when those events aren’t amazing, I take away what I can. It’s a waste of time if you don’t learn something from it, so I glean as much value as possible from experiences that didn’t turn out as well as I convinced myself they would.

FOMO can be pernicious if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. But I challenge you to turn FOMO on its head and use it to your advantage as motivation. Compare your current self to nobody but your potential future self, and risk putting yourself out there. That’s how to conquer FOMO.


This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here

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56 thoughts on “FOMO

  1. I’ve heard of this. It’s crazy how young people are so up to date on everything that is happening with their friends. Even at my age I dread going to events that I’ve signed on to but like you, once I get there I have a great time.

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  2. I know “the media” is touting this as something new, but I don’t think it is. As an extremely outgoing person, FOMO has been something that has always caused me anxiety. I didn’t know there was a name to it until recently.

    I’d go to every party because something cool may happen. I stayed out too late because something cool may happen if I left. I’d spend too much money roadtripping with friends because something cool may happen on the trip. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun. I still have to force myself not to go to every happy hour with coworkers, party, or social gathering. I don’t enjoy going “out” out anymore so I no longer care about bars and clubs. Yay!

    I hate the stories “We had so much fun at ____. Why didn’t you come?” Oooooooh, that tasks me. Social media only makes it worse.

    I’m sane most of the time. Honest. :)

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    • I don’t think it’s new either, but I think our current constantly connected culture exacerbates it. And it’s easy to get caught up in and let it rule your life and your choices, but resisting it is difficult (but important).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can so relate to this. I almost never want to go out or to a social occasion but always tell myself that once I get there, I will enjoy it and be glad that I went. There’s definitely some FOMO involved in that decision as well…

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  4. I saw an article a while back where the author discussed “JOMO,” the joy of missing out. That can be useful as well. Social media have made it possible to be in a hundred places at once, it seems, and you can get tied up in being everywhere but where you are. There’s nothing wrong with turning it all off and just enjoying where you are and what you’re doing, knowing that you’re missing everything else that’s going on.

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  5. I can relate to some level of FOMO – I think this is common in bloggers, too -, but it’s only negative for me. After all, the things I miss out on are usually things I can’t participate in, like in the case of social media, Instagram and Pinterest because they’re visual.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the topic of your blog challenge this year. I am a freshman in college, so I can relate to all of your posts. I will definitely come back for more!

    Morgan@ morgankatz505.blogspot.com

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  7. I’m older, so I didn’t start using Facebook until my late 30’s. It is a new thing to know what everyone is doing and sometimes doing without you. I had my first strong bout of FOMO, since high school and really had to talk myself down. The positive spin in your post is great!

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  8. Well, I suppose as all thing, it can be good or bad depending on how you use it.
    Problem is, as with most things, especially social media related, people tend to be lazy about it. I mean, they take the thing rather then use it, and that’s rarely positive.

    I think your take at it is quite positive, instead ;-)

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  9. I like your positive spin, but I don’t agree that this is a new phenomenon. Before social media, one experienced FOMO in person. Classmates or coworkers would talk about the thing that happened after you left the party or share an in joke with a “I guess you had to be there” coda.

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    • I don’t think it’s new either, I just think it’s been exacerbated by social media because we’re ALWAYS connected. We felt it before, but we feel it more often now.

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  10. I agree with what you said, that social media exacerbates FOMO, but it isn’t new either. In addition to using FOMO as fuel for motivation, i also think that some people would benefit from taking short breaks from social media sometimes.

    I guess FOMO is more likely to happen when people use social media 24/7, and that isn’t healthy either. I guess for some people ignorance is bliss? Haha

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    • My friend recently did a “social media sabbatical” to take a break and separate herself from destructive social media behaviors. I think it’s a good idea to take a break too.

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  11. I suffer from FOMO too especially when it comes to social media. I need to go on a digital detox for a bit (only a short little bit). Blogging yes, but no FB for a while. Hardest will be Twitter.

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  12. Interesting to see the younger folk have a problem with FOMO. I thought that related to us older people. I’m always being told, “But I don’t know how . . . ” and I reply, “You need to want to, then you will.” Now MOFO? I’ll have to take your advice and look this up!

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  13. I hadn’t heard this term before, but I can understand the feeling because I feel it a lot. I wish I didn’t. Working on it. It’s not a nice feeling to experience. Even when I am off somewhere I’m always wondering what else might be going on.

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  14. What a wonderful perspective for a reason to take chances and live your life. I think we can all relate to some degree, even those who have never heard of the term FOMO. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for the motivation. :) Emily at Sunny Side Up angelcatblog.wordpress.com

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  15. Pingback: On The #AtoZChallenge | Victim to Charm

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