I caught up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen for over 10 years and we got talking about life and the universe – that’s what we all do, right? Don’t you? No, actually, we discussed a number of things including what makes relationships work but also how busy and time-poor people have become. It then occurred to me that I needed to write this post about a mental disease – no, it’s probably more of an epidemic – that has crippled the social world we used to know.
A majority of us (yes, me included) suffer from a SEVERE case of F.O.M.O. – Fear Of Missing Out.
So what does FOMO look like? Here are some examples:
- You are at dinner, with your loved one – at any opportunity, you check your phone to look at emails, Facebook, LinkedIn – to suss out what other people are up to.
- You’re with a group of friends – and you all pull out the phone to see what other people are posting. Then you take a selfie or a group shot and load that onto your page – all the while thinking “Yeah, you know it. My social life is equal to if not better than yours.”
- You’re exhausted from a big day – you get invited to a party – you say yes even though your body says NO!!!
- You’ve left your phone at home – anxiety rises, your palms sweat, you HAVE to go back and get it. It’s your oxygen. As you’re now going to be running late, you notice more people on the roads who are TERRIBLE DRIVERS. Road rage ensues.
You get the drift, right?
How did you catch FOMO you ask? Some spectrum of FOMO has always existed, you know the saying keeping up with the Joneses, but with technological advances, we have increased visibility of what others are doing. So, we want more. No, no, we NEED more. There is then a belief that when we have this ‘more’ – we will be happy.
A Harvard 75-year Longitudinal Study found that the experience of happiness is more likely to occur if an individual feels connected, and if they feel a sense of achievement. The problem with FOMO is that it ‘disconnects’ people and while we are increasing our bond with our phone (it is an iPhone after all, not a wePhone) believe it or not, we are achieving less.
So how do I cure myself of FOMO? Well, we first need to get to the root cause. This could be intense but studies have found that individuals are more likely experience FOMO if they lack something in particular – we’ll talk more about that in the next post. Sorry.
But for now, as you draw closer to the weekend, take some time to reflect on your FOMO. Perhaps you’d like to actively make a decision to ’dis-connect’ – to ‘connect’. Ok so if you want to set that as your update on your Facebook page so you can tell everyone why you won’t be online – that’s ok too. GOOD LUCK!
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