FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

According to Self Magazine, there is a new phenomenon out there called FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.


Although I giggle every time I say it, FOMO makes sense to me. When I was reading the article, I almost blushed. Had Self been reading my diary?

“On the rare night that you’re grateful for a quiet evening in, you see a Facebook photo of your pals partying (no one invited you!) or a friend’s Foursquare check-in at a cool new bar and you’re bummed…”

Self (the mag, not me)

I think we’ve all been there.

It could be a Sunday night and while perusing Facebook I see that a a friend posted an album containing 47 pictures of a college reunion weekend with the description something along the lines of “a weekend with my absolute favorite people on Earth!”

Wait…I’m didn’t make the list?

Or maybe you get on Twitter and see that a few of your favorite bloggers are having a tweet-versation and you’re totally shocked when you check your mentions only to find stale material.

Wait…They didn’t want to @ me?


The Fear of Missing Out makes us doubt ourselves and our own situations. Social media allows people to showcase their happy, exciting moments while omitting the I’m eating a pint of ice cream alone on my couch moments.

I wish I could shout from the mountain tops “NO ONE IS THAT MUCH BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE!”

So the next time you get sucked into a FOMO feeling, just remember that you have a pretty sweet gig going on. I’d bet that if someone read your blog, saw your tweets, or reviewed your Facebook pictures, they might feel a little FOMO-y themselves.

Yes or no – do you believe that the Fear of Missing Out (via social media) is a real thing? My opinion? Absolutely!


  1. says

    I really enjoyed this post. I stopped using my Facebook account altogether because – to be honest – it didn’t make me feel good. Sometimes I think that “social media” is another word for “virtual space where it looks like everyone else’s life is a million times better than yours”. And twitter? Well, I still haven’t figured twitter out, so that one doesn’t make me feel bad yet. Ha!

    • Colleen says

      Ha! Your “other words” for social media made me smile. I think Facebook can be such a great thing – it helps keeps me keep in touch with far away friends and it’s served as “reconnection tool” for some people from the past; but I agree, sometimes it doesn’t make me feel good either. I think I need to go through and purge my friends list 😉

  2. says

    oh yes, I definitely do! I think it’s even harder on social media, especially blogs. You can’t help but compare yourself to others every so often and you wonder if you’re missing out because you’re not “smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough” etc etc. I love social media, but it can make other people’s lives appear so much better and your own seem lackluster in comparison, even if you know that’s not the case.

    • Colleen says

      I love social media, too! But you’re right, it’s impossible not to fall prey to it as well. I think I have a pretty fun life, but sometimes I find myself thinking “wow, her life is REALLY fun.” Then I shut the computer, look around, and give myself a reality check :)

  3. says

    I think FOMO (giggle) is definitely real. Social media just creates more ways for us to compare ourselves to others. Sometimes it’s good to just unplug and be truly grateful for what you have. If you keep saying what if and living in other people’s moments you can’t be happy.

    • Colleen says

      Oh yeah! That’s a good one! We just got married, but we’ve been dating for over 5 years and when girls say “oh you’re married now.” I just think “Nothing’s different!” You know what I mean?

  4. says

    Haha – Yes! Even on a night when I make the decision to stay home and enjoy a night in, the next morning when I hear about all the fun others had over the weekend, I kick myself. But why? I had a very pleasant evening that I chose to enjoy at home. I totally hear ya!

  5. Kate says

    YES! I’m constantly getting on facebook only to be reminded about how much fun I’m not having…or at least it feels like that. I’ve considered getting rid of it all together, but it still is a great way to keep in touch with my friends and family…since we’re all so busy…having fun or working? Not sure, but at least we’re doing something!!! I need to remind myself that almost everyday.

    • Colleen says

      I’m sure you’re having fun! I’ve toyed with the idea of getting rid of FB, but like you said, it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends. No one posts pictures of themselves working at their desk or studying in the library – and that’s fine! That’s what needs to be kept in mind when the feelings of “they have more fun than me!” sneak up.

  6. says

    I love this! I definitely think that the FOMO is a real thing. I love having a relaxing night in, but even if I chose to miss out at stay home I get jealous when I see how much fun everyone had.

    People have always compared themselves to each other, and social media makes it that much easier. I think that it is important to realize that, like you pointed out, that people tend to leave out the bad or not so flattering moments. You don’t really get the whole story through social media. If you are only seeing the awesome and fun things that are happening in someones life you are bound to get jealous!

    • Colleen says

      You’re so right – you never get the whole picture with social media! Try not to be jealous! (easier said than done, right? :) )

  7. says

    OH girl, I completely agree! Being a college student at the moment and having recently left that wonderful yet equally horrifying place called high school, I know for a FACT that FOMO is the real deal. Not necessarily the most awesome one out there, but it’s true.

    All I have to do is put myself in the *other* person’s (or people’s) shoes, and realize that it’s not “leaving out” or malicious.

  8. Susan says

    This post made me laugh out loud! My friends and I have been using this phrase for years.The friend that coined the term (or maybe not) should be receiving royalty checks in the mail right about now 😉 I hate to admit it, but I still sometimes have a case of the fomo’s ESPECIALLY since the advent of FB. I see all of my single friends or married friends without kids having a blast every weekend, and it makes me feel really left out or dare I say looserish? But then I remind myself of all the wonderful things I do have in my life and remember the days when I had unlimited free time (for the most part) and still sometimes chose to stay at home. The time I did choose to go out were for the most part memorable, and not just another drunken night in the bars. It’s the really special times now that I go out now and makes me appreciate it even more and then reminds what I have at home: A beautiful family!

    • Colleen says

      You’re SO right, Susan! You have the best of both worlds – you can go out and celebrate the really special moments with your friends *and* you have a beautiful family (aka cutest Elmo I’ve ever seen) at home 😉

  9. Ashley Jarrett says

    Story of my life sometimes! FOMO is so real! hahah. I always feel that grad. school has taken my life away and never get to enjoy the fun moments, but now that I know I’m not the only one I don’t feel so alone! Love this post, everyone at work thinks I’m crazy because I am not quoting to the office what you wrote!

  10. says

    Loved this post…I read the same article and ABSOLUTELY agree with you. As a student studying communications and journalism, the effect social media has on us is often a topic of discussion (especially in a course I’m currently enrolled in: Computer Mediated Communication). This is real! There is research and data to back it up! I often find myself guilty of FOMO, especially since I’m not the biggest party animal. In the end, though, I tell myself I’m happy being me and the pictures of friends on Facebook isn’t “me” or what I would want to be apart of. Cooking, blogging and preparing myself for a career > drinking, sloppy pictures and memories you “can’t remember”

  11. says

    lol – i am a severe FOMO sufferer but mostly in real life (until now). i have to be the last one to leave a gathering or even work because i don’t want to miss out on something legendary or hilarious that everyone will talk about forever. i had noticed that i felt a bit of it in social media, especially since my friends are all over the world and i can’t be EVERYWHERE at once… can i? but now i will be even more aware of missing out – thank you for pointing it out! ;D

  12. Hillary says

    FOMO is incredibly real and can do horrible things to your mental state of mind! After graduating college a year ago facing the “real world” was definitely a kick in the behind. It was far to easy to go on facebook and look at all my friends who were still partying at school while I was spending my days and nights frantically looking for a job. I spend many nights sobbing over facebook albums…yuck!

    But social media also became a place to talk about how my life was changing and read other blogs and facebook statuses of people who were going through the same struggles. It became a support system as well.

    • Colleen says

      Oh my goodness, I know how you feel! I’m in grad school and whenever I see someone is getting a new and exciting JOB I get a twinge of FOMO fo’ sho’ 😉

  13. says

    it is most definitely real! And I suffer from it frequently! I hate sitting still, but sometimes I am exhausted and I am happy to spend a night in with some wine and a movie, and then I see my roommate running out the house all dressed up, and I get a little sad that she didnt invite me, and then I text a friend and get a text much later saying, o sorry I didn’t see this, I was at the bar, and I get even more sad…I have tried rationalizing with “its ok, I need some downtime, it is healthy to stay in sometimes” – but is rationalizing any better than feeling FOMO in the first place?

  14. says

    Oh it totally exists!!! Although it would exist for me even if there was no social media. You hear a few people telling a story about the “omg so awesome” time they had over the weekend and you’re lik euhh guys? what about me?!?!? 😉

  15. Kristen @ livinlifeinlouie says

    I sometimes feel left out. Im new to the blogging world, and when you see others get more comments or has more views, you say…why dont I?


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