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  • Writer's pictureShana Gietl

FOMO: Fear of... What?

Updated: Jun 11, 2018

FOMO (not to be confused with Fro Yo) is the ‘fear of missing out’ and if you have dined out anytime in the last couple years, you’ll see it’s more than coming to a theatre near you, it’s playing live right now in front of you.  Picture this: a group of 4 friends getting together for dinner, each person at the table has their smart phone out in front of them, instead of making eye contact and being fully engaged in conversation, people are speaking half-heartedly while their thumbs are swiping their phone screens and their eyes are scanning the latest updates on sites such facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, and foursquare.  They’re not socializing, but they’re socializing.  Say what?

They’re giving in to their compulsive need to check (and re-check) the status of others to ensure they’re not missing out on something better, they’re also comparing their statuses to that of others.  They want to portray that they’re interesting, fun, and connected.  To put it frankly, they’re making sure they did not make a grave mistake in hanging out with you by constantly evaluating what’s going on around them.  Try not to take it personally, the same happens when they’re home alone, using the bathroom, or driving in the car.

There’s a 24/7 need to examine our social networks and text messages to make sure we’re not left out and to relieve any feels of inadequacy we might have.  It’s become in many ways an addiction.  There’s a compulsive need, a restlessness, and a fear of regret that we may have made the wrong choice in how we decided to spend our time.  Maybe I’m curled up on my couch with my down comforter, I’m at the feel good moment of a cheesy Lifetime movie when I see my phone flash a status update from the corner of my eye.  I open it and see pictures posted of my friends at an open mic night and I’m instantly filled with sadness that I decided to stay home and relax despite my busy week.  My comfortable evening is disturbed by the idea that I may have made a mistake, that I shouldn’t be home relaxing, but out with my friends.  Or worse, that I am inadequate in some way, making me compelled to write a post that makes me sound equally as interesting, thereby passing on my state of anxiety (aka FOMO) onto another.

Imagine this in a teenager?  The effects are ten fold.  Many sleep with their phones under their pillows, wanting to be available at all times, wanting to experience the world at every second.  This leads not only to anxiety, but sleep deprivation and a list of other problems as a result of that.

My recommendation?  Go on a social media diet.  Disconnect.  Enjoy your cheesy Lifetime movie in PEACE.  Yes, that’s exactly what that is, PEACE.  We are not meant to live in every corner of the world, experiencing it as it happens, our brains are not able to process that, so we should just stop attempting.  Stay in the moment in your world, pay attention to your needs.  Rest if you want to rest.  Play if you want to play.  Attend to your own needs, your own wants, your own desires.  You’ll feel much better, I promise.


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