FOMO: fear of missing out. We’ve all struggled with it. Why did I go to that party that I knew was going to be lame from the start? Fear of missing out. Why was I super excited to binge a whole season of Mr. Robot in one night, but then I went on Snapchat and now I’m really sad? Fear of missing out. With the help of social media, FOMO is real enough of a feeling to be given it’s own name. And it is realer than ever.
It’s been around since I was little. I’ve read plenty of American Girl magazine advice columns back in my day. Girls would write in, “help! My friends are hanging out without me and I don’t know how to tell them I feel left out, what do I do?” There were only a few ways to go about a solution: either tell the gals how you’re feeling, or get over it. Or, if it’s really bothering you, have your mom call their mom and set up a play date that your “friends” won’t be able to get out of.
College is different, though. Sometimes you want to be left alone. School is stressful and occasionally you’re lucky to get a Saturday night to yourself. You pop some popcorn, put on some warm pajamas, and it’s down to Netflix town. But, you take a quick peek on Instagram and you find that everyone else is having a super awesome fun night (the title of Rebel Wilson’s failed sitcom I think) without you. And then you’re all, “hello, darkness, my old friend.”
Was FOMO this strong before the dawn of the Internet? I bet people used to go out to brunch and pull out a packet of photos that were fresh from being developed at CVS, laughing over memories while the other just sits there wondering, “where was I? Why didn’t I go out instead of watching Titanic for the fifth time?” As rough as that may have been, I don’t think that’s any match for what social media puts us through today. FOMO is realer than ever.
I find that social media really can get me down sometimes. Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally cool with a quiet night at home. It’s when I check social media that I find myself feeling down because it seems like the entire universe is having more fun than I am. Every weekend, I am forced to compare the night that I am having to the night of some girl I went to high school with. Yeah, I’m having fun, but not three Instagrams in one night kind of fun.
This technological age can trap anyone into feeling lame or left out. If FOMO is making you feel sad, force yourself to stay off of the Internet for a while. You can live without a constant play-by-play of everyone’s social life. On the other hand, don’t be a FOMO offender. There is no need for a snap story over 200 seconds. You don’t have to prove to anyone you’re having a great time. Your followers are going to skip through it anyway. Just have fun.There is really no need to get down about FOMO. Do you. Enjoy the moment you are living in, whether it be at the Best Party Ever or just chillaxing at home in your PJ’s. In the wise words of Broad City’s Ilana Wexler, “No Mo’ FOMO.”