The Fear Of Missing Out

This is how camping was in my head
This is how camping was in my head

This is how camping was in my head

This last weekend past I have been suffering a pretty serious case of FOMO about Nuffnang Blogopolis. All these amazing bloggers getting together brainstorming, drinking tea, laughing and having fun. Serious, serious case of FOMO. It got me thinking back on my primary school and high school years, when you’re not part of the cool group, and you spend your life in a constant state of FOMO. But hang on a minute, what’s FOMO? FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out.

To my knowledge this term was coined by a friend of mine, let’s call her Austin as she likes roses (David Austin roses? No? Missed that one?). Maybe it’s been around longer than that, at any rate that’s where I first heard it. FOMO is the fear that something is happening you’re not a part of, and it’s infinitely amazing, and you should be there.

Back in high school I remember many cases of FOMO. Most notably the fact that a lot of my friends were part of a club, kind of like Scouts, where they would go on camps and have an amazing time building fires, sliding down sand dunes, and basically soaking up each other’s awesomeness. When they returned there was always a lot of geographical humour (you had to be there) and stories of how amazing the camp had been.

I started to become convinced that people only had these amazing camps with a million hilarious stories when I wasn’t there because when I was camping tended to involve leaking tents, sand in places sand just should not go and really bad food. Never the less I would return from one of these camps and rave about the absolutely amazing time I had. It was many years before it occurred to me that maybe everyone was doing it and these absolutely amazing camps may never have existed at all.

bushman children playing games on sand dunes

What these camps looked like when I wasn’t there

At any rate, FOMO had set in and so you would throw yourself into situations you knew you would not enjoy simply because you were convinced if you were not there something amazing would happen and you would be out of the loop. You would go to these week-long church run camps where they stuck 8 teenage girls together in each cabin and expected everyone to somehow magically get along. Anyone who has spent any time with 14 year old girls knows this is a recipe for disaster. Especially if you add into that the ability for people to not only list who they want in their cabin, but they may also list who they don’t want.

It’s FOMO that motivated me to go to these camps year after year convinced this would be the year it was amazing. It’s FOMO that motivated me to watch The Voice even though singing competitions make me want to throw cushions at the television and scream “Volume does not equal quality!” It was FOMO that motivated me to waste 30 minutes of my life I will never get back taking a step inside Lara Bingle’s life. And, most of the time, it’s FOMO that motivates me to keep trying things I’m not interested in.

I’m sure Blogopolis was, actually, a complete blast. And I’m pretty convinced my FOMO is actually justified in this instance, but so many times it hasn’t been. So many times the fear of missing out, the imaginary fun, has been far greater than the real fun could ever be.

Do you ever suffer from a fear of missing out? Have you ever partaken in some stupid event just because you were scared to be the only one who didn’t? 

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  • http://music.johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    I think I suffer from FOJI – Fear Of Joining In

  • Rachel

    Yep. Guilty. A few weeks ago I shaved my legs, straightened my hair, put on make up, wore heels for the first time since having baby, took a newborn out to a pub – yep I’m all class. Spent 2 hours with a baby in a carrier, swaying side to side on heels trying to rock her to sleep, while having shouted conversations and attempting to breast feed and drink wine simultaneously without feeling like the biggest bogan in bogan town.

    I was *tagged* in many photos and posts from the night but I didn’t look at them because I didn’t want to know how much fun everyone had after we left.

  • garth

    Good stuff. So “tamsin”. I read it for FOMO, and was not disappointed

  • Monique Fischle

    Why do you think I spend so much time on Twitter? I HATE missing out on things and I also like to know things before everyone else. I may be a tiny bit competitive as well…

  • Valentina B

    I think I’ve successfully grown out of that stage now. But I was the same in high school. I constantly worried about all the things people were doing that didn’t include me and then when it finally did, I didn’t actually have that great a time and since myspace/facebook, i honestly think people convince themselves they’ve had a better time than they actually did!

  • Denyse Whelan

    Hi there Tamsin…ummm this is a blog, so you would have been made most welcome at Blogopolis and it was in your home city! Anyway, as someone who’s now been to Melbourne for 3 conferences about blogging, I’m delighted that Sydney gets the guernsey for the Digital Oarents Conference in March 2013. The name btw, with parents in it, doesn’t exclude those who may not be parents nor ever blog about anything to do with being a parent. I am one. Long time Mamamia commenter who has always enjoyed your excellent writing. Come along, join Difrial parents (if you haven’t yet) and reserve march 14 &15 2012 – hope to see you there! Denyse