FOMO: What is it and how do you deal with it?

FOMO: it’s a term you hear as often as YOLO or LOL, but you may still be wondering what it means if you haven’t used it before.

It is basically an acronym for ‘fear of missing out’.

FOMO is that feeling of disappointment you get when you weren’t part of an event, or regret when there’s a party you didn’t attend and later see pictures of people enjoying themselves. It can lead to a situation where, to avoid feeling this disappointment, we go somewhere when we don’t have the funds. By giving in to FOMO, we strain ourselves to be a part of something.

FOMO is the modern day equivalent of a ‘Keeping Up With Joneses Situation’, spending money to keep up with others – just to say you were there. According to the Daily Mail, millennials are actually going into debt to avoid FOMO, eating out or buying tickets for events when they really can’t afford them. It can also be linked to shopping and buying the latest thing that’s trending on Instagram or that a celebrity has endorsed, just to say you have it.

When it comes to avoiding FOMO, it can be tempting to pay for everything on a credit card and worry about it later, or even apply for a short-term loan on the promise to yourself that you’ll pay it off as soon as payday comes around. However, these things should be reserved for emergency situations. They can help when you really need the money for an unexpected expense, but FOMO isn’t an emergency and so shouldn’t be a reason for borrowing.

How to deal with FOMO (and still have fun with your friends)
Having friends can be expensive: going out and having a fun time together costs money and you can feel pressured to spend more to avoid losing time with them or keep up with the activities they suggest. However, your friends are likely in the same boat. We’ve all been guilty of feeling FOMO but are afraid to admit it. Perhaps the friend who organises your meet ups has more money and doesn’t realise the impact it has?

Have a social media detox
Take some time away from social media, where you’ll see your friends doing the things you really want to be a part of. If you don’t know it’s happening, then you won’t feel FOMO and have to deal with the negative feelings that come with it.

Find alternative things to do
Have a chat with them about why you don’t want to always spend money and try to organise alternative plans that you can all still enjoy. True friends will be perfectly happy spending an evening chilling on the sofa and watching a movie with you, rather than paying a fortune to get into a club on a Saturday night. Plus, when you’re in each other’s company, it shouldn’t matter where you are.

Cut out toxic friends
Any friends who don’t support your decision to spend less are probably not the best to have around. Toxic friends are draining – on you, and your bank account – if they force your hand to make you attend things with them.

Save up for a special trip or night out
We all need a treat sometimes, so encourage your friends to compromise. You don’t have to go out every weekend, instead have three weekends in and one night out at the end of the month. You’ll still enjoy spending time with each other and look forward to getting out once you’ve been paid. Just be sure not to go over the top once you’re near the bar with your debit card. Plus, making those nights out and trips away special ensures they don’t get stale, while your bank account hopefully stays in the black.

How to deal with FOMO when it comes to shopping
Those limited edition trainers. That brand new handbag. The top you’ve had your eye on and now there’s only one left in your size. It can be tempting to pull the credit card out when you really want something you’ve seen trending, that other people have, or that looks like it won’t be available for long. You want to feel like you are part of something, but this type of FOMO can lead to some serious debt issues.

Find a cheaper alternative
Buying second hand via eBay or Facebook Marketplace is the easiest way of getting your hands on new items for your home or your wardrobe without spending too much money. Fashion trends come back around, so it’s likely what is in the shops now is already being sold on eBay from two or three years ago and no one will know the difference.

Wait for a sale
Sometimes those trending items can be marked down if they’re still around near the end of a season. If it goes down in price and becomes more affordable, then it could be worth picking up later.

FOMO isn’t a great feeling but being strapped for cash is often worse. Try to avoid stretching yourself to keep up with friends or people on social media and find alternative ways to have fun for less. Image credit:

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