Yes, FOMO’s existence as a four letter-hashtaggable acronym makes it one of the more despicable phrases in the college-aged lexicon by default. But actually, there’s also some more substantial reasons as to why “fear of missing out” is in fact, a terrible motto to stand by:
1. FOMO > Actual Event
As we all know, FOMO is pretty damn good at making you do shit you’d prefer not to. For many, a good recent example could’ve have been New Year’s Eve. Feeling obligated to celebrate, maybe you dropped $200 plus at some packed open bar event, solely because other people were dropping $200 plus to be at some packed open bar event. In that sort of environment, you’re not actually going to a New Year’s Eve celebration–you’re going to the equivalent of a FOMO crackhouse. A place where your obligation to do something is always more important than your willingness to do that actual thing. Follow that logic, and well, you’ll go wherever the logic takes you because you’re officially its biatch.
2. Risk of Disregarding What You Actually Believe In
A good example for this is music tastes. Maybe you really like hip-hop, so you spend your time hanging out with kids who are unhealthily into alternative/experimental hip-hop. Maybe this is group where you feel like you really fit in, so you don’t necessarily want to do something that wiill jeopardize your standing within this group (in this scenario, you apparently have no friends.)
Maybe the rest of the group is really into some artist (let’s use “Tyler, the Creator as an example), and boldly claim that he’s really doing something to transcend that of the contemporary hip-hop scene. Maybe you’ve listened to Tyler, the Creator and wondered how the fuck people actually consider his shit legitimate music.
Normal circumstances would enable you to speak out about this with little to no consequence, because ‘Merica and Free Speech. FOMO though, terrified that this may jeopardize your standing in this group (and thus make that upcoming road trip awkward as shit), may force you compromise your opinion for the sake of appeasing this group. Nothing really wrong about this on a general level, except that if you’re becoming friends with a group of people due to their collective passion in hip-hop–only to then compromise that passion for the sake of staying in the group–doesn’t that very action defeat the purpose of being a part of this group in the first place? Not saying everyone does this sort of thing, but those with strong cases of FOMO certainly do.
3. The Homeland Dilemma
Being “in” on the television show conversation carousel is pretty crucial nowadays. Not being able to chime in about how “SICK, dude” Homeland was last night is the one of the bigger first-world problems out there. This of course, is because your lack of Homeland watching renders you infinitely less interesting/culturally in-tune than the person who HAS spent 13 hours of each year staring at a particular series of events occurring on their television screen.
Point being, FOMO is one of the primary reasons for superficial bandwagon watching–people hopping onto a show after the third season, because it’s now too “relevant” to be ignored. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with this phenomenon (really, this is how watching TV operates nowadays, so it’s nearly impossible not to do this), except for the fact that for many, the reason for watching is now somewhat contrived–it’s watching not because you’re actually interested in the show, but because you want to be “in” on something solely to be “in” on something.
4. Flipping the Odds
A lot these examples are way more intense than they really need to be. Trying to make FOMO into some societal evil is sort of fun, but ultimately doesn’t do much other than make us all depressed about the fact that we’re all whipping posts to the wrath of FOMO. But here, a solution!
Next time someone is all like “Yo, you see that (insert reality star x shitty action)”, just respond by saying “I know dude…ridiculous.” You’ll be amazed at how good it is not to hear about something that you don’t give three shits about, and not be affected at all by that lack of news.
5. Bros Don’t Have FOMO
If you think about the definition of a Bro, you’ll find yourself coming back to a few common themes–being awesome, giving zero fucks, having a good time, and being insanely proud about the person you are. All of these are cooler ways to express the fact that you are your own person, and don’t necessarily conform to things unless there’s a really good reason to.
FOMO, then (doing things that you don’t actually believe in just because you’re afraid of “being left out”) is not only an indirect denouncing of these principles, but it’s affirming that you don’t believe enough in yourself to actually have the balls to stand for something. And that’s an upside-down crushed blue cup if there ever was one.