FOMO: this common syndrome actually hides a lack of self-confidence

FOMO this common syndrome actually hides a lack of self confidence

FOMO syndrome is characterized by the unpleasant and frustrating feeling of always missing out on something. Is this your case?

FOMO is a social phenomenon described for the first time in 2004 by Patrick McGinnisauthor and speaker who used the term FOMO in an editorial for The Harbus, student newspaper of Harvard Business School. In his column, he is surprised by the frantic pace of the students who combine classes, matches, meetings and evenings in the same day. Interviewed several years later by Boston Magazine, he indicated that this behavior appeared after the attacks of September 11, 2001having done arise in individuals a frenzied desire to live. “This phenomenon perhaps affects young people a little more – adolescents and young adults – even if all age groups can be victims.” tells us Aline Nativel Id Hammou, clinical psychologist.

What is FOMO syndrome?

L’acronym FOMO comes from English Fear Of Missing Out which can be translated as the constant fear of missing out on an eventan evening, a birthday, a professional seminar, a concert, information, a trend… Also called “failure anxiety“, this form of social phobia would be particularly fueled by the growing use of the Internet and particularly the information overload induced by social networks.

Telltale Signs of FOMO

The need to stay permanently connected:

  • You are glued to your smartphone
  • You panic when you are in a place where there is no network
  • You always check the battery level before leaving your home
  • You frantically check your cell phone to see if you have received a message
  • You are nervous when you are no longer reachable

The desire for ubiquityin other words, the ability to be present in several places at the same time:

  • You are unable to answer “no” to an invitation and/or make choices, ending up finding yourself “overbooked”
  • You force yourself to go to an event even if you don’t want to
  • You would rather be seen at an event than (really) participate in that event.
  • You take photos or videos which you will then post on social networks to show that you were there: social networks representing a showcase of your social life.

► Lack of concentration:

  • You pay more attention to your cell phone or screens than to the environment around you
  • You lack listening skills and openness of mind when someone talks to you (those around you have already pointed this out to you)
  • You have difficulty living fully in the present moment
  • You tend to be in anticipation and planning for upcoming events

What causes FOMO?

This addresses low self-esteem and frustration with one’s own life.

Missing something often means a fear of being excluded socially and being rejected, which can echo an emotional wound of rejection or abandonment experienced during childhood. “Through connection, we can feel ourselves existing socially, and this fulfills low self-esteem and frustration towards one’s own life, a life which appears less exciting (often wrongly) than that of others“, justifies the psychologist.

What are the solutions to get rid of it?

Try as best you can to detoxify yourself from screens. To do this, impose activities on yourself without a phone (cooking, manual activities, reading, sport, walks in nature, plays, etc.). “Force yourself not to check your phone first thing in the morning, during meals, or just before bed.“, advises our expert.

Force yourself to miss events, refuse invitations and to accept that others can have good times without us

Stop anticipating future events and try to make the most of the present moment. Likewise, care must be taken to cultivate real relationships and interactions

Desecralize social networks : what we see on Instagram or Facebook does not give a faithful and exhaustive image of people’s lives. It looks more like an idealized selection of slices of life which therefore does not reflect reality. “Comparing your life to that of others on social media is the equivalent of looking at your bank statements after consulting Forbes’ list of the 400 Richest Americans“, quips Professor Barry Schwartz, professor at Swarthmore, in his book “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less”.

► If necessary, seek help from a mental health professional such as a psychologist

► Gradually move towards the opposite trend: the JOMO (or Joy of Missing Out) which corresponds to a feeling of joy felt at the idea of ​​being aloneto miss a social moment, an event, an evening, in favor of time for yourself to do what you really love