FOMO. We’ve all been there, whether we think so or not. It’s always been there, but social media has definitely made the concept a bit more evident. FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out. It is a compulsive concern that one might miss out on a particular event, experience, etc. This desire for experiences is usually fueled by a 140-character Tweet about how “insane” last weekend was. It can be triggered by a “candid” photo on Instagram of people laughing at a party. FOMO can be anything related to Friday night parties or getting that next hot date. What triggers FOMO? Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman demonstrated something called loss aversion.
Loss aversion is the fixation that people have with refusing losses and acquiring gains instead. There is also another theory called “The Paradox of Choice.” Basically, this says that when we have several options, we are often less satisfied with the one we actually choose. Psychology says, in layman’s terms, we just hate to miss out on anything. Here’s the thing, though: FOMO is total crap and we need to move away from this lifestyle.
I'm a 21-year-old college student. I have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and basically every other form of social media (insert shameless self-promotion here). So yes, I have seen my share of engagement posts and party photos. I’ve had a few serious boyfriends in my lifetime and a few guys that I’ve “talked” to. Both of these experiences have led to FOMO. For the longest time now, I have been single (in case you couldn’t tell from several of my other articles). It drives me crazy when I see people in great relationships that they are happy in start self-sabotaging because they are experiencing the infamous FOMO. I've been there, but I'd like to think I've outgrown it. These people are afraid they’re missing out on this lifestyle experience of being single and going out (or going home) with whoever they want.
Here’s the thing, for those of you in this situation: being single is not what it is always cracked up to be. Yeah, you can do whatever you want with anyone you want (with consent), but at the end of the day, you aren’t going home to someone who cherishes you. If you are in a loving relationship you should not be worried about missing out on something. In any healthy relationship, your significant other should allow you to have these experiences of going out with your friends and having fun. You shouldn’t be confined to some cage. However, your loyalty should stay with them on these nights (unless you come up with some other agreement, but that’s all y’all).
FOMO is promoting comparison in our lives. The way we compare ourselves to others as often as we do, can’t be healthy. The concept is completely irrational because we’re bound to miss out on events and people. We need to stop focusing so much on what we don’t have and keep in mind what we do. Practicing gratitude for the good in our lives can be a good way to start this process of moving away from FOMO. Learning to accept “good enough” needs to be an option for us. We, as a society, need to stop trying to maximize the best of every situation because we won’t stop there. We will continue to try and find the next best thing and is that any way to live-Jumping from situation to situation or relationship to relationship? If we continue to live this way, where and when will we stop?