Is FOMO real?


Ever heard that acronym before?  If you haven't, the cute little "word" stands for "fear of missing out."  I had never heard this term thrown around until one of my roommates was leaving State College for a weekend and said she was having FOMO.  I became curious if this was a real thing or not, so I decided to look into it further, for the sake of science of course.


To start off, this was the best quote I found from Psych Central's article "FOMO Addiction: The Fear of Missing Out," "Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a very real feeling that's starting to permeate through our social relationships. The question is -- will we ever settle for what we have, rather than cling to the fear that we may be missing out on something better?"


Originally I was only thinking about FOMO as a true absence from a social situation.  For instance, my roommate was leaving and didn't want to miss out on what all of us were doing back at our house.  Or another example, while I was studying abroad, I frequently checked Facebook to see what my friends were doing at home because I wanted to be in the know.  This all sounds so sad especially considering where we were when we experienced FOMO. 


However, the research I was finding was explaining FOMO in a different light.  According to the Psych Central article (same as quoted above), FOMO is something far more common.  In fact, it is something that every single person with a smart phone probably does on a regular basis.  You're in class, having dinner, talking to your friend, whatever the situation may be, and you check your phone.  Whether you're texting, tweeting, or just scrolling through your NewsFeed, you're experiencing FOMO.  It can be described as being unsatisfied in a social situation and feeling a constant need or pull to check what's happening somewhere else with someone else.  Sure, you may think it is just a habit or a way to pass the time when you're bored.  But come on, admit it, you know you do this at "inappropriate" times (I can own up to this at least).


ABC also published an article on FOMO within the last few months.  It says that in some way or another FOMO has always existed.  However, social media has upped its prevalence in our lives.  We now have the ability to be constantly connected and informed on others' actions.  The way Sarah Miller, author of the ABC article put it makes a lot of sense.  FOMO comes from the desire to be in two places at once (don't we all want that?).  The article also cites a survey that says at least 70% of adults experience FOMO (and those are just the people who admit to it!).


FOMO is becoming so popular that advertisers are getting creative and using it to draw in consumers, and even make us chuckle at our own absurdities (see an example below - enjoy!).  So, the answer is yes, FOMO is real, and it seems to be something we all experience on a regular basis.


I absolutely agree that FOMO is a real thing, and it's definitely always been part of our lives. I think the only reason it's now a "thing" is because our generations love things like this. FOMO is just like YOLO. We as a generation seem to really enjoy stating obviously things. You only live once, obviously. If your friends are all hanging out without you, you're obviously going to fear you're going to miss out on something. What is it about generation that seems to love things like this?

It's very funny that you should bring up FOMO. Up until two weeks ago, I had no idea what it meant until I Googled it. While I was on vacation this summer, a group of my friends acted silly, and instead of shouting PHOTO! they shouted FOMO! They called me ridiculous when I said I wanted to opt out of their craziness. When I look back on it, them yelling FOMO over and over again was their way of saying, "Hey Meghin! Are you afraid of missing out on our awesome action because you totally should be!" I think it's very much a real phenomenon, and that the actual fear of missing out on stuff is becoming more and more apparent with our addiction to technology. We want to be the best of the best and flaunt our fancy new gadgets.

I too agree that FOMO is a real thing. There have been many times that I have stayed at different events longer then I probably should have because I wanted to be there when stuff was going on, if it even when on. A lot of the time though I would end up missing nothing because nothing would go on. I would be scared that something big would happen when I was not there and stay longer which would in essence possibly piss someone else off all because I was scared of missing out on something big or important.

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