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FOMO – How the fear of missing out determines our lives
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FOMO – How the fear of missing out determines our lives

Kinga Bartczak

What is FOMO?

Who does not know this? A cozy Friday evening, a glass of wine and an exciting novel are tempting, and yet your eyes are constantly glued to your smartphone. Ultimately, you give in to your curiosity and scroll down your timeline on Facebook for minutes, only to ultimately ask yourself, “Shouldn’t I have spent my evening doing something more exciting and meaningful?” Friends who post their party photos, calls from colleagues who are desperate to persuade you to go out to dinner together, or even your own partner who is desperate to watch the latest movie. The fear of missing out on something or not making your time exciting and individual enough, as well as the guilty conscience that plagues you when you are missing out on a seemingly unrepeatable event, have had a clear name for some time now: FOMO – “fear of missing out”.

You have never heard this term before? Maybe, but we have all felt what he describes at one time or another. What is new here, however, is that the fear of missing out has to do not only with social pressure, but also with envy. Of course, behind terms like au pair or work and travel we see the great adventure and often not what it is: babysitting and low-paid jobs as waiters, promoters or temps. Of course we see the house and the great car of our friends and not the loan and leasing fees, which they have to pay off monthly for the next 50 years. And how envious we are of the wedding marathon, which rolls over us year after year and in which the happiness of seemingly dream couples is celebrated. Of course, we assume that these couples are made for each other and do not have to deal with the same discussions and problems as we do. Envy, societal pressure to perform, and advancing digitalization make it easy for us to get lost in the maelstrom of FOMO.

But how do you combat this? For my part, I wouldn’t ban my cell phone(see also my article on “Digital Detox”) or avoid social events so that no one can tell me about my great three-week Maldives vacation. Of course, you could practice self-discipline now and try to convince yourself that you don’t care what others do and that you insist on organizing your own free evening. However, the actual solution is much simpler:

Appreciation, composure and a pinch of humor – my recipe against the “FOMO syndrome

  • Appreciation:

I have learned to value what I do. For example, I love my social commitment or my work as a student assistant. I am happy to experience so much love and trust from my colleagues and to give this back. I am happy about every blog article I write, as dealing with a wide variety of topics broadens my horizons and I often receive valuable feedback. I reinvent myself by, for example, scrapbooking and having fun creating something wonderful that will be remembered by a loved one. I take pleasure in the little things of everyday life, like the smiling face of a nice cashier or the warming spring sun that allows me to get my bike out of the basement again. I know how to appreciate my abilities, the people around me, and the little things in everyday life, and that makes it much easier for me to listen with joy to others tell me about their new car or the last party.

Fomo appreciation-serenity-humor

  • Serenity:

Take life a little easier once in a while. Your neighbor just planted a new garden with fresh herbs and great flowers? Wonderful! Don’t take a look at your hallway tray with the latest bills on it, don’t stir up envy, but try to do what you would want to do in your neighbor’s place as well – sincere joy for the great garden. Your colleague comes tanned from the last vacation? How beautiful! Don’t put a pile of work on her desk and point out with some satisfaction that the vacation is over now and work is waiting.

Start dreaming! Ask where your colleague has been, compliment her on her great complexion, and ask her to show you some vacation photos. You have no reason to be envious, because the appreciation phase is already behind you. You will see that when you begin to rejoice sincerely with others, they will meet you with the same joy. You catch a friendly glance, a ‘thank you’, a nice smile or a compliment more often. The FOMO syndrome can’t harm you here, because you’re not missing out on anything! A beautiful bouquet of flowers from your sweetheart, an appreciative word from your superior, or a nice chat at the coffee shop with a close friend – you don’t seriously believe that these things are worth less than tanned skin and a little sandy beach? Through appreciation and composure, they are on the best way to immunity, against a continuously developing widespread disease, which is constantly growing due to increasing possessions, higher performance demands and of course the machinery of the advertising industry. The last point is very close to my heart personally.

  • The pinch of humor:

If you ask older people what they regret most in life, it’s not material things or events they thought they missed. The answer is quite simple – they regret any bad thoughts and feelings, because they embitter us and (so I claim) also shorten our lives. Do not take everything in life so seriously. Of course, death and illness are among the things that are difficult to cope with and deal with even with black humor, but outside of these events, the power of humor is limitless. Bills, a broken car, empty bank account, stress at work, quarrel with the partner – all this is not tragic if you start to think not problem but solution oriented. Watch some funny videos, read some jokes, laugh so loud and so hard that you can’t breathe – sounds banal and doesn’t solve the problems, but you will see that the world looks a lot more colorful afterwards.

See Also
Muschicraft by Nathalie Rose

And the next time your friends write about a great party and tell you that you should have been there, why not pick up on that theme and write a post on Twitter saying, “Missed the one and only best party in the world…what a shame”? #JOMO Did you notice the irony? And the changed hashtag? JOMO is the humorous inoculation against FOMO and means “joy of missing out”. That means in plain language: “I am aware that your party is great, but my glass of wine, my favorite cuddly blanket, the novel that has been left too long or an extensive bike ride, are the absolute right thing for me right now.”

Jomo and the joy of missing something


How do you deal with friends who constantly post their great experiences on social media? Do you take it with goodwill, envy, or humor?
What is your personal “secret recipe” for dealing with FOMO syndrome?

About the author

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Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .

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