FOMO – fear of missing out

Yesterday’s post sparked quite a few responses. Most people admitting they couldn’t leave home without their phone and were one of those people who checked their phone as soon as they could.

A friend described the feeling of having to check their phone as an itch that needed scratching. Some people call this feeling FOMO, fear of missing out. We feel the need to check what our friends and family are up to and make sure we haven’t missed some news or aren’t missing an event.

A quick Internet search of FOMO associates this feeling with young people who are scared of missing out on parties and not being where all the cool kids are hanging out. (I’m probably so old the cool kids aren’t called the cool kids anymore).

I don’t think this is something that just young people feel. I’m 41 and I have FOMO. It is usually at the end of a long week when I have made the decision to stay in on Saturday and relax at home. I get on to Facebook and discover all the interesting and fabulous places my friends are and I’m not. I have to remind myself that if I was at the interesting or fabulous place I would probably be asleep in the corner. I also have to remind myself that there are times when my friends and family are at home and I’m out being interesting and fabulous.

Now that we are becoming hyper connected with the Internet in most people’s pocket, it is easy for us to know what others are up to. Apps like Foursquare, Places on Facebook allow users to ‘check in’ at locations they visit, it may be a cafe, a theatre or an event. It is this that makes other fear they are missing out on something. And if dear reader I’m to be completely honest it can make us feel a superior for being somewhere awesome. People only seem to check in interesting or awesome places, I have yet to see any of my friends or people I follow on twitter check in at the podiatrist or gynecologist. There are just some things that other people are happy to miss out on.

I think there are two ways of looking at FOMO, you can ignore it, rise about it, which can be very hard. No one wants to be left out. Or you can use it to motivate you to do all the things! The choice is yours, or perhaps like me you might try and do a little of both.

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