Getting Over FOMO

brand new lyrics

I’m aware that it’s hard to keep up with acronyms these days- this is coming from the girl who a few years ago had to Google “YOLO” once I saw my ย college-aged friends using it all over Facebook- but FOMO is one acronym that I can relate to.

For those of you who aren’t aware, FOMO is also known as the Fear Of Missing Out. It’s that anxious, worrying feeling that we get in the pit of our stomachs when we think about social interaction. It can manifest itself in many different forms and is usually hard to control. Over time, I’ve learned how to deal with it and get over this urban “fear”.

I can trace back feelings of FOMO to my teen years, although it only became very apparent when I was in college. Everyone wanted to make the most of their college experience, which meant going to every bar or party, being a member of every on-campus club and shaming anyone who wanted to stay in and watch TV on a Friday night. I admit I was guilty of this myself- I didn’t want to miss out on anything. Who knows- maybe I would find my future husband at that bar or get a full-time job from that unpaid internship. Sidenote: I did meet my boyfriend in college, but I never got a job from an internship.

After college, FOMO hit me hard. While working two jobs and balancing a long-distance relationship, I worried I was always missing out on something. I felt that if I didn’t make that weekend trip to the city, I’d miss a great time with college friends. I’d see photos online of a party I missed because I was too tired from work and I’d immediately feel guilty and lame.

FOMO made me so aware of what everyone else was doing in comparison to myself. But the truth is, you can’t compare lives of people because of two reasons. The first is that we all lead different lives. Maybe you’re missing out on things because you’re too busy with a full-time job or a relationship. Maybe you’re saving money and gas by not making that road trip that everyone else is. Everyone has different priorities and interests, and we shouldn’t be comparing our social lives and happiness levels by the events we attend or the amount of friends we have. Some of us are better off financially, located closer to cities, etc. and we can’t control that, so why bother comparing?

Secondly, social media greatly exaggerates feelings of FOMO. There are so many weekends where I have a blast, but because I don’t tweet/Facebook/Instagram 100 photos of it, people probably think I’m at home sitting on my ass. Which is fine with me. I don’t need to put on a front for the world to think I’m fun, happy or whatever adjective you want to use. Most people who excessively post things on social media are doing it for attention, and often they aren’t even having as much fun as they lead on. Harsh, but true.

Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten older, but I’ve realized that these silly things don’t matter as much as they used to. When I don’t get invited to that party of a friend-of-a-friend’s, I just laugh it off instead of getting upset (honestly, it wouldn’t have been that much fun anyway). Sure, life is short and you should take every opportunity you can, but don’t punish yourself or feel lame if you spend a weekend on the couch instead of at the Tough Mudder or wine tasting.

Have you ever experienced FOMO?

44 Comments

  1. I actually suffer from the opposite of FOMO, specially when facebook came around it made me realize how people embellish their parties, relationships and such. I remember going to one of the worst parties ever in my college days, later looking at the pics on FB you would have thought it was the best party on earth. And most of all, not getting a job right after college was not an option for me, so I was always more focused on my studies and hobbies. Basically, I wasn’t the life of the party.

    1. that’s so interesting! You are SO right though. So many people take photos and brag about how “awesome” their birthday party or weekend was and in reality it was a bunch of losers hanging out ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I went through this long stage where I would say yes to every invite, just so I would not feel left out. Truthfully, I did not always enjoy myself because I did not give myself time to rest. I was missing out on my quiet evenings that I need from time to time, which was a shame. I shouldn’t have to give up my favorite activities to get people to like me.

  3. I feel like this most weekends. I have an almost 4 year old and I see my friends post all these fun things they did with their kids and I feel like a horrible mommy for staying inside and playing cars or something. We just don’t live in the type of neighborhood that allows kids to ride their bikes down the street since people fly down it in their cars. I need to get better about doing more with him on weekends but after dealing with a stressful job all week, sometimes I just want to be lazy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I totally agree that social media exaggerates FOMO a great deal. It’s too easy to compare ourselves with others and most of the time, we don’t see the bad or mundane things. It’s important to remember that and not to compare.

  5. I sometimes wonder how much fun people are having if they’re out instagramming/tweeting every minute of it. When I’m out having fun, my phone is away (for the most part) and I’m enjoying the moment, instead of worrying about taking pictures for instagram.

  6. So true that you get over FOMO as you get older. I love nothing more than staying in, wearing sweats, and catching up on reality tv!

  7. I never remember to instagram or tweet about things when I’m out. Maybe it IS because I’m old. And I don’t have FOMO, but I’m sure I did back when I was in college. Nowadays, I’m just happy to be home lounging on the couch. It’s honestly my favorite pastime, haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Social media is the worst for FOMO! You just look all the fun stuff everyone else is doing and it can bum you out if you’re bored.

    I try to just live and enjoy life instead of taking a million Instagram photos but sometimes I do it on purpose for more blog photos ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Love that you used a Brand New quote…my favorite band and Jesus Christ is such an amazing song! But I love this post as well because I can totally relate. When I moved away after high school all my friends were still hanging out with each other and I was out in AZ where I knew no one. Seeing there posts on FB sucked and I thought my decision to move was stupid, but like you said you can’t compare your life to anyone else and in the end I’m glad I moved away and wasn’t stuck in the same town with the same people!

  10. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! It’s so true!! And I think I might have experienced it this weekend looking at all the fab NYFW IG photos! Great reminder for all of us!!

  11. I definitely agree that social media increases this FOMO that we all have felt. I was just telling someone the other day that I’m so glad we didn’t have instagram when we were in middle school and high school.

  12. First off, you are killing it with these posts lately. You really couldn’t be more spot on or truthful.

    I never really experienced FOMO during college, mostly because what I wanted to do was SO different from what everyone else was doing. As social media and even blogging exploded I definitely think I started to experience it a bit more. I know what helped me get over it was remembering that things aren’t always as they seem. Sure sometimes people post things that are truly awesome, but most of the time, things are SO contrived (some of my IG with all the NYFW posts comes to mind…). Instead of feeling like I missed out, remembering how awesome my own life definitely makes me think otherwise.

    1. Um- you are amazing! Thank you for that compliment!

      And you;re so right- most things posted on social media are contrived with the purpose of making themselves look good

  13. i used to feel this a lot more when i was younger. sure, i have my moments now, but i just have to think, “am i happy” or “did i have fun not doing that?” and it’s always yes, so i don’t worry about it. great post!

    1. thank you! I worry if I decline an event that I’ll miss out but I always say, “Would I even really have fun around those people if I went?” and the answer is no sometimes

  14. such an important topic!! i definitely feel that my fomo has lessened as i get older, but sometimes it still creeps up on me. social media is totally at the heart of a lot of fomo, because it’s easy to forget that people are mostly posting when they’re doing something fun! they have boring/laid back weekends too, which i think we all need.

    xo,
    gabby

  15. I find myself experiencing this all too often — between being in a long-distance relationship and still being relatively new out of college and juggling friend groups, it can definitely get overwhelming. The bottom line though is that sometimes those nights out or dinners or whatnot where I completely forget to tweet/instagram altogether are the most fun — gotta live in the moment!

  16. Rachel, I like you. You always post things that line up with my life at that very moment. This weekend everyone was out of town or too busy to hang out. I ended up dog-sitting for my in-laws, watching movies and reading a book all weekend. At the time I was lonely, feeling neglected and all around mad at the fact I’m living in a town where I don’t feel at home. I’m about to have some crazy busy weekends ahead with work & my sister’s wedding so this was probably the best thing that could have happened. I probably needed to sit alone, zone out and rest before things get hectic.

    I still struggle with comparing my life with others’ social lives. I was always social in Austin. I still don’t feel accepted in this town. I don’t know if I ever will.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad that my posts are helpful and relatable to you. Moving to a new/different town can be hard, but just try not to live in the past or compare yourself to another town and life

  17. Another acronym! : ) I experienced FOMO in high school for sure and in college. It was like the end of the world if I couldn’t go to a slumber party or out to eat after the football game. It stemmed mostly from my fear of being forgotten or edged out of the group if I wasn’t around. As an adult friends became fewer and far between. There is no circle of friends so I really haven’t experienced that feeling since then.

  18. Social media does totally amplify putting our lives out there. I agree comparing ourselves to others doesn’t lead to anything good.

  19. I totally have casses of FOMO all the time, especially in college. I didn’t realize until later in life that I was actually an introvert – so in college I felt like I always should be doing something even through I really just wanted to hang out at home or be with close friends. It’s definitely gotten better over the years though, but it creeps back now and again.

  20. I have FOMO right now because of college. I just feel like I need to be doing EVERYTHING because I will just miss out on some inside joke, Facebook photos or something else. Really though I am realizing slowly that this is basically going to end with me being exhausted and burned out. ๐Ÿ™

  21. I’m pretty bad about FOMO. It’s true. Whatever thing you didn’t go to that pops up all over your social media feeds really isn’t as fun as it looks online. But for some reason, it gets me every time. It’s funny. I went out with some friends even though my fiance just wanted to sit at home and after the night was over, I realized sitting at home would have been a lot more fun. But the next time I didn’t go, I still had FOMO just from looking at pictures. You’re right that it shouldn’t really bother us. I mean, I’m making memories my own way and as long as I’m happy, it shouldn’t matter that I missed this event or that get together.

  22. I definitely experience FOMO! Sometimes i try to squeeze so much into my weekends, I don’t even enjoy them anymore. But I’m trying to become less preoccupied with making plans and instead let things happen organically. It’s more fun that way anyways!

  23. FOMO. So interesting….didn’t know there was an acronym for it. Well…I can say that I’m plagued by FOMO daily lol. And the older I get….the worse it gets. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much. And I’m so behind on life. You are so right about social media making things worse! You always have the most thought provoking posts:)!

  24. I probably have the opposite of FOMO most of the time haha… I really don’t like going out a lot and usually wish I had just stayed home when I do!

  25. Ugh, I feel this ALL the time! I travel for work so I always see friends on FB going to dinner or to some fun event while I’m 4-8 hours away in a hotel room alone. It sucks! Social media has made it worse, but I’m really trying not to dwell on it as much. I think its age/maturity catching up with me. And sometimes I need ME time and relaxation. ๐Ÿ™‚

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