How to Confront FOMO...
Fear of missing out. This is something that all high school students face at one time or another. We’ve all been in a situation where we had to cancel plans because our workload became too overwhelming, or we were unable to go hang out with friends due to a prior commitment. While social media, in some cases, can be a connector or social facilitator, it also gives us access to see a stream of posts from events to which we are not invited. This can be pretty upsetting. Here are a couple of quick ways to help minimize FOMO.
Clear your social media feeds. We feel like there is an unspoken rule that we must follow or add any person to which we have a small connection. For example, if you stumble across the profile of someone who goes to the same school as you, regardless of whether or not you have spoken a single word to that person, you may feel as though you have to hit the “follow” button. Once you have access to their posts, you can go scrolling, and will find a feed full of them and their friends. Seeing this posts does nothing to provide you with a sense of fulfillment, so why do we scroll through their profiles? The reality is, if you don’t follow that person, it doesn’t matter. It’s a single follower- they probably won’t even give it a second thought. Recently, I went through the people I follow on my instagram, and unfollowed 200 people who were simply clogging my feed. If you really cannot bring yourself to unfollow the people who don’t add substance to your life, there are ways to mute their posts.
Changing your mindset does wonders too. As teenagers, we feel as though we are constantly competing for everything- the highest grades in class, college acceptances etc., social ranking feels no different. A lot of us think of it as a hierarchy: losers on the bottom, popular people on the top. Some people fear that if we are unable to attend some group plans, soon enough we will be forgotten, the invitations will stop coming, and we’ll start to tumble down the social pyramid. This simply is not true. Even if you can’t attend certain events, there will be others to attend, and, if anything your friends will miss you, for each individual brings different characteristics to the group dynamic. Something we often fail to understand is that our friend’s connection with another person does not nullify our own friendship- they are simply two different connections, which formed and are being sustained in different ways- no two friendships are exactly the same. It is important to recognize that we are not alone in our experiences with FOMO, and that your value stems from your own unique qualities- not from number of party invitations.
Sara Goldstein is a high school junior in the San Fernando Valley. In her free time, she loves spending time with her friends, engaging in social activism, reading, writing, and dancing.