How do I avoid FOMO with food

Social Media - FOMO: The constant fear of missing out

FOMO: The constant fear of missing out

Anyone who follows the leisure activities of their friends via Facebook feels stressed and is in a bad mood. Experts call the phenomenon FOMO - Fear of Missing Out. In German: The fear of missing out on something.

It is Friday evening. A green curry is cooked, a quiet evening watching TV is on - before that, one last look at Facebook.

Some friends sit comfortably in a pizzeria and toast each other with a glass of Prosecco, the work colleagues play board games before going to the club and the former roommates are in Barcelona at the Justin Timberlake concert.

There is little chance of returning to the sofa relaxed afterwards, steaming the spicy food with a sip of Thai beer and enjoying the cryptic film.

Usually a certain nervousness spreads, the feeling gets out of hand that you are missing an important experience or encounter while you relax.

Restlessness sets in, the smartphone stays in hand throughout the evening and the experiences of friends in the head.

The fear of missing out is as old as society. As long as people organize themselves in groups, they are only part of it temporarily.

In their absence, they miss out on experiences, making the feeling of being absent from a gathering uncomfortable. A fear arises.

The impression that this fear has increased in recent years under the influence of digital media and mobile communication is widespread. Friends are connected in real time wherever they are. It has never been so easy to be absent and yet informed.

The resulting fear has already been given a name: FOMO - Fear of Missing Out.

“FOMO”, says the technology journalist Bianca Bosker, “is the sometimes stimulating, sometimes terrifying nervousness that tells us we could be missing out on something wonderful. It could be a TV series, a piece of tech, or a fine meal in the canteen. FOMO is not just a mental state, it is also a physical response. When I experience FOMO, I start to sweat, experience itching, palpitations, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. "

Young people more affected

A team of English and American psychologists led by Andrew Przybylski recently investigated this fear intensively.

In a first step, a test was developed that can be used to measure FOMO.

With its help, the researchers have recognized that young people are more affected by FOMO than older people, including men more than women. Of the under 35-year-olds who were surveyed, around 40 percent stated that they suffered from FOMO.

When asked whether social media were directly or indirectly involved in the development of FOMO, the researchers assumed that people have three basic psychological needs:

To be able to act competently and effectively in the world, to feel as an autonomously acting being and to feel close to others.

They put forward two hypotheses that they tested in surveys: The first says that people who are poorly able to satisfy the three needs use social media for this reason.

The second is based on the assumption that FOMO arises from unsatisfied needs and is the reason for more intensive use of social media.

Increased in bad mood

Research has shown that the second assumption is correct: FOMO is the reason why people use social media excessively - FOMO, in turn, is triggered by psychological needs.

Anyone who suffers from a bad mood, is not satisfied with their life situation and does not feel competent, independent or involved in their actions will experience FOMO more intensely.

And the fear of missing out on something leads to more intensive use of social media.

This creates a spiral: Those who are dissatisfied with their social life feel FOMO and use social networks to feel closer to other people and to be able to communicate more effectively.

But this media use does not reduce the feeling of FOMO, but reinforces it and leads to further engagement in social networks.

The life of others always appears better than your own on social media. Anyone who constantly watches their friends as they accompany the sun setting on the guitar with wonderful people on the beach can only feel inadequate.

Those who agree with most of these statements suffer from "Fear of Missing Out"

1. I'm afraid that other people's experiences are richer and more intense than mine.
2. I am afraid that my friends' experiences will be richer and more intense than mine.
3. When I find my friends are having fun and I'm not there, I feel sad.
4. I get nervous when I don't know what my friends are doing.
5. It is important to me to understand the jokes that one needs to be privy to.
6. Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time worrying about what's going on.
7. If I miss an opportunity to meet up with my friends, it bothers me.
8. When I have fun with friends, it is important to me to share this with others online.
9. If I cannot attend a scheduled meeting with friends, it bothers me.
10. When I go on vacation, I keep track of what my friends are doing at the same time.

Specifically, FOMO has the following effects: Facebook or Twitter are used constantly, especially immediately after waking up and before going to sleep.

However, this does not result in positive feelings, but rather negative ones. FOMO increases the distraction potential of social networks: When learning, for example, the impulse to go to Facebook can hardly be resisted.

This also applies to road traffic: Anyone who drives a car and suffers from FOMO uses their smartphone while driving in order to stay connected to others.

FOMO, says Priya Parker, an expert in digital communication, is a feeling we all suffer from, although nobody admits it.

It is therefore important to identify such negative effects of digital communication and to think about how they could be mitigated.

Restricting the use of social media is to combat symptoms, because the networks are not the reason for the fear of missing out on something.

Nevertheless, it should make sense to get used to starting and ending the day with Facebook. It helps to get smartphones out of bed. However, it is crucial to perceive your own needs and to work on being able to meet them.

Expectations of and from others need to be discussed. Sherry Turkle, who described the social risks of mobile communication in her book “Alone Together”, observes changes in friendships: “It is natural for girlfriends to expect their girlfriends to remain available - a social contract that requires constant presence. And the self gets used to it. "

The possibilities of social networks change the expectations of friendships.

Much information no longer has a push but a pull status: If you want to know what your friends are experiencing, you have to find out more on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and cannot expect to receive an update at meetings.

This constant consumption of information, with which FOMO is connected, has a counterpart: Fear of Being Missed describes the fear of providing too little information for friends so that they do not notice anything of their own life and miss you could.

As ridiculous and youthful as the abbreviations FOMO and FOBM may sound, they give us the opportunity to denote phenomena that we all know and the effects of which we underestimate.

And anyone who knows a word can have a conversation about it. And if you have a conversation, you can change something.

Philippe Wampfler Facebook, blogs and wikis at school. A social media guide. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2013. 174 pp., Fr. 37.90.