FOMO sucks. There I said it. With patios now open in Toronto there is no way you can scroll on IG or Tik Tok and not come across a place that just makes you feel like, I really want to go there with my friends! 

For our June #SafeSocial Public Meetup (which anyone can come to) we focused on the topic of FOMO (or the fear of missing out). Some of you may be asking, what is FOMO? We at #SafeSocial define it as “a type of social anxiety from the fear of missing a potential connection, event or opportunity. In social media, it may be the fear that you are missing out on what is happening online, in group chats or even missing out on the events you see in photos.” 

FOMO can be felt when you decide to put your phone down and take a break from the never-ending scroll of social media. You may fear missing out on big social news events, or messages from friends and may feel like it is all going to happen mainly because you decided to take time for yourself. Well, that’s not true. Sure you might miss a few things here or there but a few hours off social media won’t change your whole life. But it could be a good start. Another way FOMO can be felt is while you are actually on social media. That little feeling of dread when you see others having a good time and you’re at home in sweats re-watching that same shows you’ve been re-watching for years. Yes, when in that situation that photo of those people you follow getting drinks at the newly opened patio might make you feel like you are missing out but it doesn’t have to.

In our meetup, we discussed how it is possible to redirect that mindset of feeling bad about seeing photos of others having a good time and say to ourselves, I’m going to make sure I can do that for myself as well or Once things open up where I am living I’m going there with my friends. Nine times out of ten when you feel FOMO when seeing a photo it is more about the event that is happening IRL rather than the photo itself. Changing your mindset as you scroll can impact the way you feel before, during, and after social media use. Seeing events as things to add to your bucket list will help reduce the element of FOMO. 

The best way to reduce FOMO is by being okay just hanging out with yourself. With a year of being locked up in our homes, you might feel you have had enough time alone, I get it, but the only person that is going to be there your whole life is YOU! Step 3 of #SafeSocial is to build offline soft skills. Self-confidence, self-awareness, time management, stress management and resilience are just a few key factors to solidifying your relationship with yourself. By practising these skills in your day-to-day life, the next time you do scroll on IG or Tik Tok that feeling of FOMO will be significantly less, as you know you are fulfilled on your own. 

With ambassadors from all over the world, we realized how we are all in very different states of the pandemic still. While some of us may be feeling FOMO for events that are actually possible for us to do, such as patios, our ambassadors in India shared how they are still very much in a heavy lockdown. It has been hard being in lockdown for this long. What makes it more difficult is seeing the rest of the world start to open up and get back to normal while staying the same. We in the hangout reinforced the idea of seeing the things you feel FOMO for on social media as something to add to a bucket list once things open. 

Another great tip from our founder Bailey Parnell was to make your lock screen the next place you want to visit once the lockdown is over. Next time you are scrolling on IG and see a vacation spot, a patio in the city or even a park nearby that you want to visit, add it to your list of things to do. Make it your lock screen so that every time you check your phone you know you going to think of what is next for your offline self! 

How do you best handle FOMO offline or while scrolling online? Leave us a reply and let us know. 

Want to join our Monthly #SafeSocial Support Group (via Zoom)?

This is a recurring meetup for anyone to join and chat with others about topics relating to tech and mental health. It happens every third Tuesday of the month.

In this group meeting, you can feel free to share some of the problems you’re going through with social media, addiction, and/or mental health. You may also ask any questions you have. Sometimes there will be 2 people (you and a member of our #SafeSocial team), and sometimes there might be 10. We ask that you join via video and be open-minded, compassionate, and kind. We’re here for you.

Rachel Bettencourt

Rachel Bettencourt

#SafeSocial Ambassador Program Project Manager

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