In an era dominated by continuous technological refinery and advancement, we have the ability to travel to the ends of the world, plus everywhere in between, and become instantly connected with some of most influential people alive, as well as loved ones who may be a ocean’s distance away, all with a single swipe, scroll, hashtag or instant message.
However, when we find ourselves completely immersed in the Instagram feeds, Snapchat stories and Facebook posts of others showing off their latest adventures, travels and achievements, our love for social media can easily become an annoying reminder of how much we think we are not doing.
You know that overwhelming feeling of unease, and maybe even pangs of hurt and jealousy, when you realize your friends or others are off doing cool things and you are left wondering “Why wasn’t I there?!?” or “Why am I not doing that too?” There’s a name for it and it’s coined the “fear of missing out.”
A recent 2013 study is what has made this phenomenon gain much popularity, defining the “fear of missing out” (FoMO) as a “pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent” and “characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”
The study found that FoMO:
- was associated with lower need satisfaction, mood and life satisfaction.
- linked to higher levels of social media engagement.
The most important thing to note about this study is the fact the definition of FoMO includes the word “fear.”
The term implies we have a perceived belief we are missing out on life’s opportunities when in fact, we aren’t.
If you happen to be someone who constantly feels as if you are missing out, or you happen to say “yes” to every opportunity so you won’t, take a breather and read on as I explain how to get over this irrational fear.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
It’s way too easy to under cut your own happiness and well-being when you are constantly comparing your life to the seemingly perfect Instagram feed and happy Facebook posts of your favorite idol, influencer or cool best friend. For something so obvious, we often forget that when it comes to social media, we tend to mainly share the best things happening in our lives which can lead to dissatisfaction with your own life based on the illusion of constant happiness in the lives of others.
At the end of the day, the picture perfect posts you see on your friend’s feed or your favorite role model is only a glimpse of their life. No one’s life is perfect and it would be silly to think so whenever you check your Facebook. Don’t believe me? This promo video by EXPRESS should put you at ease as it hilariously illustrates how we use social media to amplify our lives.
2. Take a social media detox.
Instead of being immersed in someone elses’ stories, adventures and successes get your ass out into the real world and create some of your own! Taking a hiatus from social media will allow you to foster meaningful memories and relationships by making an effort to actually meet up with family and friends in person. When you’re not busy obsessing over someone’s seemingly perfect life on social media because you’re out doing your own thing, you’ll feel a lot happier. Plus, you don’t want to become this person:
3. Determine your priorities.
Three different friends just invited to attend a super cool party, an Adele concert and a hike, all of which are happening during the same weekend, but you have a very important presentation to give at work on Monday morning that will make or break your promotion. Which do you choose? A). You choose to attend only one event. B). You choose to go to all three, sacrificing time at each event to make time for the other. C). You choose not to attend any.
If you are someone who is always tempted to choose option B for fear of missing out, and find that your partying habits are beginning to impact your sleep, work or grades, three questions to ask yourself before you say “yes” are:
- Is this something I really want to do?
- Is this something I really need to do?
- Can I do this another time?
While there is nothing wrong with being a party animal or going out all the time, it is important to determine if there is anything else that might take priority before you decide to drop everything for your next adventure. Maybe going attending a concert the night before you have to give a presentation might not be the smartest thing to do if you have yet to prepare or know you will be exhausted. Additionally, it is important to note you cannot always do everything and that’s okay. Just because you can’t go out this weekend does not mean you won’t be able to go out and do the same activity another time. And if it’s something you don’t want to do at all, you should not feel compelled to go just because your friends are.
4. Embrace #Netflixandchill
For me, going-out all the time can be exhausting and I personally love enjoying a day at home alone sipping wine, eating popcorn and watching marathons of Scandal. Should you find yourself going out all the time, taking some time to unwind at home by yourself or with your partner can be just as satisfying.
An interesting poll by Eat24 indicated “FoMO” is being replaced by “POMO” which they call “the pleasure of missing out.” While this is NOT a real study, this survey highlights some important points: some people just don’t enjoy going out because they don’t want to be around people, are too tired and don’t want to spend money (and I have used those excuses plenty of times before).
There’s nothing wrong with a #Netflixandchill night. Go ahead and stay in your pajamas, order in and be lazy. It might be just what you need for the next time you actually do want to go out. And if you are curious, here’s all you need to know to begin embracing the pleasure of missing out:
Have you ever felt as if you were missing out when you saw something really cool on social media? Or are you a home body who enjoys that #Netflixandchill life? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts below!