FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)



WORDS | Manisha Josephraja

How do I get over my FOMO? I’m always afraid of turning down invitations even if I’m tired or not up for it because I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something fun.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is defined by Urban Dictionary as “a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out.” It can be seen as a positive or negative condition, it’s all about perspective. Interestingly enough, a study conducted by Andrew Przybylski at Oxford University shows that FOMO sufferers are more likely to possess unfulfilled psychological needs of love and respect from peers. That’s kind of heavy.

That being said, FOMO isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. It may force you to venture outside your comfort zone and discover new places and meet new people. It becomes a problem when it begins to make you unhappy or has a detrimental impact on your lifestyle, whether it’s financially or personally. It’s important to stand your ground and be assertive. Let’s face it, sometimes all you want to do is get into your PJ’s and watch Reba all night on YouTube – your friends should never make you feel guilty about this.

The rise of FOMO goes hand in hand with the rise of social media. After all, how would you know that girl that you once spoke to in a tutorial, just met Matt Corby outside the Oxford Art Factory smoking area? By spreading yourself too thin, you risk exhaustion and even a potential burn out. When your studies start to suffer or you’re taking more time off work just to catch up on sleep, your #yolo tag on Instagram isn’t going to be there to comfort you.
The night just might end up in an emergency room or backstage in a green room, but I guess you’ll never know until you try. Real friends wouldn’t judge you on what you decide, only Judy has that authorisation.