January 21, 2012

FOMO: A Curable Condition

When I lived in Colorado, I was surrounded by a wonderful community. I moved there with three girls ages 6, 4 and 1. I needed to surround myself with moms and friends, and I'm so glad I did. I made lifelong friends during my four year stint there, and now consider it my home away from home.

I was quite young when I developed FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. I didn't know what it was called until Word Spy sent me an email. (If you love finding out new and interesting words, check them out.)

I believe FOMO is a predominately female issue. My husband never thinks twice about missing guy events, and there are even fewer of those.

The longer I stayed in Colorado, the worse the condition became. My wonderful friends were good about getting out. We all encouraged each other to remember to feed our own souls, and not just those of our families. Still, I became overwhelmed at times with social options.

My oldest daughter has a tendency toward FOMO problems. She would go to an event just to make sure she wouldn't be left out of future invitations. She's so her mother's daughter. A tendency toward guilt and insecurity are leading indicators of being susceptible to FOMO.

Constantly relocating during my teen years set me on the path to FOMO. I wanted to fit into each location so badly, I would accept any invitation. This wasn't necessarily the best way to fit in. Desperation can be a turnoff.

But once I left a location, I left. It's easier that way. The fear of missing out was then displaced to the new location. That is, before Colorado. I knew I could never make the easy, clean break with my Colorado friends, and I'm glad I didn't. I still refuse to drive by my house when I'm in town, it's just too strange, but I love the feeling of coming home. In some ways, it's like I never left.

This experience is finally curing some of my FOMO tendencies. I realize my girlfriends still take me right back in, even though I can't be at every event and we don't get to talk all the time. It's a lesson I hope my daughter learns by watching me. After all, they say they do what we do and not what we say.

It's a simple idea that took me thirty some odd year to figure out... your true friends won't stop caring about you just because you don't always say yes.

Do you suffer from bouts of FOMO?


ShaunaKelleyWrites said...

I used to have it BAD! When my mom got sick, I had to say no to everything, and it quickly put things in perspective for me. I am now the opposite. Most nights, I have a FOGOMC- fear of getting of my couch. :)

Beth said...

I never had FOMO until I had kids. Now I have it for them. I don't care about me (prefer to be alone) but I get sad when I hear about some kids getting together and my kids were not invited. But maybe my kids were invited and didn't want to go and didn't tell me or didn't want to go to begin with.

Eloise said...

Tia, so absolutely true. FOMO - glad someone came up with a name - can be a force to be feared, especially if you are young and every event assumes importance. But as you note, real friends will take you back. And time heals many things and gives perspective!

Tia Bach said...

Shauna, I didn't know the term, but my husband definitely has FOGOMC. ;-) Sadly, it usually takes a rough time to teach us to put things into perspective.

Beth, I'm the opposite. I want my kids to see that friends that toy with them (invite or don't invite games) aren't really their friends. Still, I don't like to see them get hurt. I'd rather be left out than see them left out. But I'm definitely not a loner. Wish I was!

Eloise, I agree! Time (and distance) can heal.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting. I so appreciate it.

Natalie Hartford said...

I really struggle with FOMO or...FLSD (fear of letting someone down). It's a struggle I've often though moving would cure. LOL!
It's tough but you are right, your true friends don't care as long as you are there when it counts!! I am learning it's about saying YES to me more often!

Tia Bach said...

Natalie, You nailed it. I SO have the Fear of Letting Someone Down (FLSD). I don't know that I'll ever be cured of that.

Thanks for always reading and supporting my blog. It means so much!