It wasn’t until I read an article, a few weeks ago, in a popular women’s fashion magazine that I knew I was currently suffering from FOMO, and had many times prior. This is how FOMO usually manifests itself for me: I decide not to attend a swanky invite-only party, thinking I’m OK with my decision, and just a few hours later I realize I am constantly wondering how much fun was being had without me. I suddenly begin to wish I had relinquished my vice grip on both the remote and tub of ice cream and gotten out of bed in exchange for a thrilling night out on the town. I even had the perfect outfit to wear. Oh well, right?
At least so I thought, until I spent the whole night and next day scrolling through multiple networks of social media, catching glimpses of all the festivities that happened without me. With each filtered photo, displaying champagne bottles strategically placed in front of revelers as they flash their huge “I’m having the time of my life” smiles, I begin to fear the worst—I had totally made the wrong decision to stay home, I missed out.
There’s actually a name for this internal battle over my decision, coupled with feelings of regret, that I often experience–an anxiety of sorts–is commonly referred to as FOMO, an acronym for having a Fear of Missing Out. Sounds crazy right? Sure it does, but it’s a real-life psychological problem that many of us who are so engulfed in the social media world. We constantly check Twitter for updates, Facebook for new statues, and Instagram for new cool images of the most recent who, what, when, where, why, and how—refreshing every five minutes in order to catch every detail.