The fear of missing out

FOMO, or the “Fear of Missing Out,” is something many of us have experienced. It happens when we start to feel nervous about not being able to attend Kwita Izina or Primus Guma Guma Super Star talent search or that other album launch of your favorite artiste: it is the fear of missing out on social events, whatever events.

FOMO, or the “Fear of Missing Out,” is something many of us have experienced. It happens when we start to feel nervous about not being able to attend Kwita Izina or Primus Guma Guma Super Star talent search or that other album launch of your favorite artiste: it is the fear of missing out on social events, whatever events.

FOMO can contribute to anxiety and depression — but, at the same time; there may actually be some benefits to people’s fears about missing out. And while recent research suggests FOMO’s a phenomenon made bigger by social media, people have always been concerned about their social standing from time immemorial.
 
Need-to-know

FOMO is often associated with a perceived low social status, which can cause feelings of anxiety and inferiority.

When we miss a party, concert, or any other social event, we sometimes feel a little less “cool” than those who showed up and snapped photos and shared and tweeted them. In some cases, people are even afraid to miss out on bad stuff!

Goes without saying that FOMO is most common among the young and impressionable, say the 18-28 age bracket.

And FOMO can take a strong negative toll on your psychological health. Constant and unwarranted fear of missing events can cause anxiety and depression, especially for young people. In more extreme cases, these social insecurities can even contribute to violence and feelings of shame.

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of research on the way social media influences FOMO. Facebook status updates, and tweets let us know about all the exciting activities happening while we’re home catching up with even more news updates on TV and radio.

Actually, the fear of missing out is one of the key factors behind the success of social media platforms like Tweeter and Facebook, since we feel we need to use the technology to let us know what’s happening elsewhere.

But, in some cases, FOMO may actually give us positive motivation to socialise with friends.
 
Fear not


Some argue the feelings associated with FOMO strengthen connections with others, encouraging people to be more socially active. While it might be anti-social to sit around Facebook stalking strangers and sending them sexed up photos of yourself, it’s possible to use social media in a more constructive way, like keeping in touch with friends and planning activities.

Tip: When scouting for other people’s plans, especially online, remember that many people project their most idealised selves on the web, so spy with a skeptical eye!

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