What Does Fear of Missing Out Mean?

fear of missing out and social media

Do you have a social media addiction? Are you afraid to miss out on parties or get-togethers with your friends because you worry you’ll miss something important? Do you feel anxiety when you aren’t able to hear the latest news or gossip?

For some people, these may seem like strange things to consider, but there are people that have a fear of missing out (FOMO).

What Does FOMO Mean

The fear of missing out is considered to be a form of social anxiety. When most people think of social anxiety, they think of people that are afraid of groups or crowds and those that feel awkward in social situations.

FOMO is almost the opposite of that. For people that have a fear of missing out, they worry that they’re going to miss out on something (hence the name).

This fear causes an addiction to social media, a need to always be connected to friends and family, and an obsession with keeping in touch with people.

Just because you like to check Facebook on a daily basis doesn’t mean you have a fear of missing out. It’s when you can never step away, you got lost in the FB newsfeed, and you just can’t stop. There are plenty of people using social media on a regular basis to promote businesses and even getting paid to make posts.

It’s when you’re wasting your time there and missing out on posts and events is upsetting you, that the problem begins.

What to Do About FOMO

Like with any addiction or phobia, you need to first admit you have a problem and then face your fear.

Once you are ready to take the steps needed do something about your constant need to be connected, you can start the steps that will help you move on and find a balance between your connected life and your alone time.

1. Admit There’s an Issue

This step bears repeating – admit you have an addiction. Once you do that you can accept the fact that you just don’t have time to do everything, participate in every event, and read every friend’s social media posts on a daily basis.

You need to work, practice self-care, and let the people that are a part of your personal life know that they matter. Family members and romantic partners can feel unloved and ignored by a person that has FOMO. You’re too engrossed in everything happening outside your immediate life that you miss the stuff right in your own backyard.

2. Take a Social Break

Your phone does not need to be on 24/7. Take a phone break and a social media break. Unless you’re required to check your email numerous times throughout the day, set a specific time each day to check them. Put up social media blockers for certain hours of the day for added assistance.

Spend a night at home when you’d normally be hanging out at the club with friends. Taking “me time” is important for a well-rounded, healthy mind and soul. If you can’t stand the silence, or to be alone with yourself even for a short time, it may be time to talk to a therapist.

3. Pay Attention

There are things going on around you that you are missing out on when you’re glued to your smartphone.

FOMO can cause students to learn less in class, employees to lose focus at work, and relationships to fall apart because of a lack of communication. If you’re always on your phone and not paying attention to your family or romantic partner, communication is breaking down, and this can cause issues.

Stop multitasking when one of your tasks is social media. Learn to be focused and aware. Ensure you are taking a moment to pay attention to the things that are going on around you and try to only focus on one thing at a time.

4. Find Healthier Pastimes

Social media and online games are not healthy hobbies. There are plenty of things you can fill your time with and keep your mind busy with that don’t require keeping up with everyone else’s business.

Start learning an instrument, write a story, start painting, do some crafts, or plant a garden. If you need to be online, sign up for free classes, so you’re actually spending time learning something useful.

You’re Not Missing a Thing

If you need a little comic relief, the internet is rife with numerous memes on FOMO. There is even a FOMO meme using a Game of Thrones pictures.

However, addiction and phobias are no laughing matter – if your need to be part of everything is affecting your life negatively, you should talk to someone.


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