FoMO: A Contemporary Anxiety

FoMO, also known as Fear of Missing out, is anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.



It’s the fear that other people are having more exciting and more rewarding experiences than you whilst you’re home alone watching rom coms. We’ve all experienced it at some point – suddenly you look on Facebook and all your high school mates are ‘reunited’ without you. Maybe they forgot about you, maybe they thought you had a brilliant social life and so would assume you’re busy. Yeah, you wish.

It’s a modern-day obsessed with communication syndrome. It has only become apparent in the last couple of years as before websites such as Twitter or Facebook, you didn’t feel the need to tell everyone what you were doing. Now you haven’t had fun if the pictures aren’t plastered over Facebook. Nowadays people feel obliged to let everyone know they have a social life.

I work in a phone shop and the other day a woman came in asking how she checks into places on Facebook. Like when people put up status’ saying “Out having lunch with my girl in Nandos”. The said woman thought it worked automatically and was wondering why Facebook wasn’t immediately telling everyone where she was. She said, “That’s a pain, I like people knowing that I have a social life”. I felt like telling this woman that no one cared about her social life, unfortunately, that kind of goes against the rule of retail.

Why do we care so much about other people acknowledging what we are doing? This wouldn’t have happened in times before texts, calls and social media. You wouldn’t send a letter telling someone you were getting “absolutely hammered” at some party, would you?

The thing is after a few days have passed it doesn’t matter. A week has gone by and no one cares that you kissed some girl at that party, it was great at the time but the people who weren’t there don’t really care about the event. It’s liked being told a funny story. Sometimes you really do just have to be there.

The problem with FoMO is that it doesn’t matter how busy, ill or tired you are. If you’re invited to a party or gathering you feel obliged to go. The real advice here would be, stop living your lives for the sake of other people’s perceptions. We won’t recollect our lives from the pictures tagged on Facebook, more important will be the memories and emotions that we gain along the way and truly cherish.

Gracie x


Twitter: @gracievhemphill

Instagram: @graciehemphill



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