7 Nov 2017

What Is It About FOMO? Is Social Media To Blame?

What Is It About FOMO? Is Social Media Partly To Blame? on vickiarcher.com

“Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.” 

Erica Jong


Do you suffer from FOMO?

This “fear of missing out”?


I suspect we all do from time to time but some more than others. FOMO to my way of thinking is a dangerous place to be – a little from time to time can probably help us lift our game and do better with friends and family. Too much FOMO means something negative is going on inside, sapping the self-confidence and making us feel less than good about ourselves.


Today, with social media it is almost impossible not to feel left out.

We have only to scroll through Instagram for 30 seconds or check our Facebook page to find a host of desirable shots that can make us feel in some ways dissatisfied. Yes, we are old enough to know better and the feeling may be fleeting but nevertheless, it’s real. The FOMO comes in when we dwell on what we can’t do, don’t have or may have been excluded from. It is not a thinking reaction but an emotional reaction.


FOMO isn’t something I want to have in my life and I studiously try and avoid it.

This feeling of exclusion is something we all experience and it is something we can reduce if we accept it exists. There is nothing abnormal or wrong about the occasional bout of FOMO. I don’t believe we can change progress or deny the world we live in but we must find our comfortable place within this framework.


We don’t have to be threatened or made to feel lesser because social media is in our lives 24/7. We have a choice of what we read, we visualise and most importantly what we believe. Social media as a communication tool is brilliant, we can connect and learn from each other – the importance is to focus on what we gain not what we don’t.



How do we fight FOMO?


Work on our self-confidence. Self-confidence comes more naturally to some than others. Feeling better about us means “the fear of missing out” impacts less. The more confidence we grow, the more our judgement stands us in good stead and “missing out” becomes a non-issue.


Avoid comparisons. Comparisons always lead to disaster and we do know that. When has comparing ourselves to others ever had a happy ending? Let’s leave the parallels alone.


Focus our attention. Our attention should turn towards the positive end of the spectrum and focus on reality, not an unnatural perception created by some who may not necessarily tell it like it is. Be attentive and proactive towards others and it will be reciprocated. Positive reinforcement through social media alone is fickle and unrewarding.


Choose happiness whenever possible and yes, it is a choice. Happiness automatically puts a positive spin on our thoughts and enables our self-confidence to thrive. Life is full of sadness and has a significant and unavoidable place but we can’t let it take over where it doesn’t belong.


Dare I say, be grateful. It sounds trite but I know I don’t count my good fortune enough or appreciate those around me as much as I should. Deep within the recognition is alive and well but it can become buried and forgotten. FOMO can leech the gratitude clean away if we aren’t careful.


Refrain or reduce those influences causing a negative impact. If social media is causing grief, turn it off. It’s harder than we imagine but even small breaks will make all the difference. The same chatter will be there when you return.



I’m trying to engage, to be more in the present, what about you? xv




image, tim walker for mulberry

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23 Comments

Taste of France

There was just a fascinating podcast about this on Hidden Brain (which is reliably fascinating). The episode is “Prisons of Our Own Making,” and it looks in part at social media and FOMO.
I say, put the phone down and do some FTF (face to face).

Reply
DIANE

Thank you, so well said! I always enjoy reading your blog, but this post in particularly poignant at this time.

Reply
Vicki

I am not sure what prompted me to talk about this… but I am so happy it resonated, Diane.

Reply
FrenchGardenHouse

This is such a timely post. In our social media world, it’s so easy to think we aren’t enough….smart enough, organized enough, rich enough, thin enough, having enough fun, etc. I am with you Vicki, I focus on gratefulness and happiness.

I recently had a long talk with the most darling young Mom, who was feeling like she wasn’t enough. Her home, she thought, was small and a mess. She wasn’t stylish enough. Never mind that she is the mother of three young children under 4, and still works part time. She wondered why all the young moms on Instagram lived in beautiful homes and always looked stylish. And she didn’t manage that all the time. I had to remind her that what is on Instagram is not real life, it’s an edited best version of everyone’s life. And that she is doing exactly what she should be doing, raising her young children, laying on the floor with them playing with blocks, and spending time engaging with them instead of tidying up 24/7.

I’m old enough to know that everyone of us, each of us with our beautiful lives that may look perfect from the outside, has had loss, sadness and burdens. Choosing not to get caught up in that comparison game, choosing joy daily, and gratefulness, is how to live your best life.

Reply
Vicki

So well said Lidy… and how lucky for that young woman to have spoken with you… I am sure she left the conversation feeling so much happier and confident in her day to day life. :)

Reply
Linda B

I have little FOMO, I am glad to say. I have refused to join either Facebook or Instagram–largely because I have heard from too many people that it can be addictive and/or cause this terrible feeling of being inadequate compared to others. I want more real connections with people. I find that reading blogs can also sometimes cause FOMO, but way more often I am inspired, and there is somehow a connection with real human beings when we comment and respond to each other. Your readers, Vicki, form a wonderfully supportive community! That is what makes your blog one of the best. When we are connected, FOMO evaporates, for the most part!

Reply
Vicki

Connection is the key isn’t it?… I guess it is about choosing where to connect that makes the difference.
Thank you so much,Linda… I feel we have an amazing group of people here who truly contribute on many levels, every day. :)

Reply
LA CONTESSA

YES, I scroll through Instagram and think MY GOD how many times in the past TWO YEARS has she been to PARIS!?
People vacationing……….ALWAYS.
But you know what……..MY LIFE is just FINE and I do enjoy THE PHOTOS!
I do not have the feeling of MISSING OUT more like MY LIFE IS SO BORING!
I still CALL people on THE LAND LINE!!!!!!Just to say HELLO!
XX

Reply
Vicki

Have you ever thought, I might think that when I see pics of San Fran or LA.. ha ha… everything looks greener etc..
And I could tell you the same.. my life is super boring… but neither of us are missing out… :) :)
I don’t have a landline though ;)

Reply
LA CONTESSA

I was not referring TO YOU!!!!!!!!!
ANOTHER AMERICAN!!!!
For YOU I GET IT!It’s so CLOSE and easy!
WE are not READY to release THAT LAND LINE……..the connection is so MUCH BETTER!
Come by and see what I do with STUFF I find…….I think YOU may enjoy my POST!XX

Reply
Mimi Gregor

I am fortunate that I do not suffer from FOMO… probably because I do not do social media, but I think more importantly, because I am content with what I have and how I live. Paul and I were talking about this the other day, how we feel that we live a charmed life. It’s not a life that others would be happy with, as we don’t have a lot of stuff, and we don’t have a posh home in a posh neighborhood. But our stress levels seem to be much lower than most people we know, we seem to smile more, eat better, and have more free time than they do as well. But that doesn’t translate to pictures on Instagram or Facebook, so it must not be real. *Rolls eyes at humanity*

Reply
Marsha

I’m in LOVE with that image of the dogs at table. LOVE it!
Yes, I do feel I’m missing something. All the time. I know I miss all the fun my husband and I used to have together, but otherwise I make my own fun, as you can imagine. Love YOU !!

Reply
Monica

You are spot on! I have been house bound with a cold for 8 days, hopefully over the hump now. Sitting home I have found more time to be on social media. Guess what I’ve noticed? It leaves you feeling like you do when you eat the whole quart of ice cream or spend too much on your credit card. Yuck. With the holidays coming, I’m considering taking Facebook off my phone. I wonder who I would even connect with if not for Instagram or Facebook. I’m kind of sick of the documented staged life. I have a blessed life and social media is ruining my parade.

Reply
Mimi Gregor

Monica, I have stopped subscribing to magazines for this very reason. All the ads telling you to buy, buy, buy. All the underage models — who nevertheless are retouched! — trying to sell “youth creams”. All the haute couture that — if we are honest — looks ridiculous and could never actually be worn anywhere. Magazines in general leave me feeling the way you describe: like I’ve just wolfed down a quart of iced cream and now I’m bloated and have a headache and am depressed. No one ever tells you that you are wonderful just the way you are, because that doesn’t sell stuff.

Reply
Margaret

What wonderful comments from your readers and what a great post. It is all so true. I don’t suffer from FOMO, as I too, do not have facebook. I like Instagram but but I find that I take “inspiration” from the photos. I do not compare. I try and live my life with gratitude and living in the moment. My 27 year old daughter unfortunately does see everyone’s life as “perfect” in the insta world and feels that she has to compete, I am slowly getting her around to my way of thinking.
Margaret

Reply
Pamela

Had never heard of FOMO before a Sydney friend mentioned it a couple of years ago. Think it may be more common there than here. None of our friends seem to suffer from it. Think my husband and I have reached an age when we know what’s possible for us and what’s not and it’s more about being grateful for what we have in our lives already and all the wonderful experiences we’ve already had. Of course it’s always important to have something to look forward to, whether that’s the next trip to Paris or our grandchildren’s activities or the roses flowering in spring. I enjoy scrolling through Instagram and Facebook and seeing beautiful houses, clothes, gardens etc and sometimes they inspire me to make minor changes – but I have almost no fear of Missing Out. I enjoy these things without envy – they just give me pleasure. But I also see on FB and the TV news the sad terrible things that are happening in the world and feel such compassion and horror and sometimes anger and indignation at these events and situations. So I always think how I should be grateful for our safe, comfortable home and life and for the safety and happiness of our family and friends. Best wishes, Pamela

Reply
MARLA

No FOMO for you Vicki! Not possible! I do have FOMO for not having a place in Provence!! LOVE YOUR BOOKS!

Reply
Susie Martin

Here here – Well said Vicki! Love this! So important for us to take stock every now & then Thank you 🙏XX

Reply
anita rivera

Hello Vicki! I’m late and I often feel FOMO when I can’t be at my favorite blogs on time! I do feel as if I’m missing out on so much, but one of the things that bothers me is, “Will I be left out, will I no longer belong to the community of bloggers?”

I’ve been out of commission with my camera for at least 3 weeks now. Problems with my computer and accounts have forced me to refocus my attention on the life I lead, right here, right now. I am determined to come back to my IG page to share, but I hope my intentions will have matured. Yes, I feel FOMO on IG when I see the great photography out there done by individuals who have more than I do, whose homes are showcase, who can travel abroad and take breathtaking photos. But I guess I have to learn the lesson. I have to learn that where I am, who I am is ENOUGH.

Reply
Pamela

Candice – It does pass far too quickly! And even faster as the years go by! Which is why we need to live and be in the present and make the most of it. No looking back with regrets – no looking forward with anxiety! Best wishes, Pamela

Reply

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