Fighting FOMO: A Teen’s Fear of Missing Out

September 26, 2022

Gabby+and+friends+at+a+football+game+in+Amon+G.+Carter+Stadium+at+TCU+in+Fort+Worth%2C+TX.+

Courtesy of Gabby Comer

Gabby and friends at a football game in Amon G. Carter Stadium at TCU in Fort Worth, TX.

The moment the leaves turn from green to gold and the wind starts to blow. Fall is in the air and with it comes the first home football at Pascal High School.  

Fort Worth, Texas…

The temperature is finally low enough for the big Oak trees to provide sufficient shade. The grass has started to recover and fill in after barely surviving summer, and most of all it is football season. Every year, everyone gets a new hope that Paschal will somehow be good, even though haven’t been good in many years. On the day the cheerleaders and football players dress in their uniforms, and the whole last hour is dedicated to a massive pep rally to get everyone excited. After school, the students all head to get ready with their friends. They all get decked out in their white and purple. Purple and white clothing is sold in all the stores to celebrate the opening of high school and college football. After the whole family is ready, everyone heads to Farrington Field, our home stadium. While overindulging in concessions, friends and family chant, and cheer. In the less exciting moments, all the girls go to an unpopulated area of the stands and take pictures in their cute purple and white outfits. After the game, everyone heads to Whataburger for milkshakes and to edit Instagram posts. Friends are on a high from being social and the fun of the day. They are all out having fun, while one girl sits on the couch miles away wondering what could have been if she was there.

This phenomenon that many other teens experience is called FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. FOMO is anxiety about an exciting event happening somewhere else. This feeling often increases by looking at social media and has become a serious problem in the 21st century. 

For years there have always been preconceived ideas or notions built up about high school and young adult life.

Perpetuated by movies, television, and adults reminiscing about the good old days, and further cemented by social media posts, this has created in many teens the feeling that they’re missing out on something.”

If their high school experience isn’t going exactly as they thought it was supposed to go. If they are not going to parties or football games, they are missing out. When teens see social media posts about the event, there, right in front of them is a collection of all the best parts of the event. This further solidifies their feeling of missing out.

Since social media only continues to rise in popularity and the movies and shows aren’t going away, FOMO is here to stay, but there are someone ways that we as a society can deal with it and fight it. One thing to do is find a distraction. Big event coming up? Feel FOMO creeping up?  Instead of pondering the thoughts of what could be, have a self-care day, or invite other friends over and create your big event. If that doesn’t work, another strategy is to remember it is all just lies. High school or young adulthood is not like the movies no matter how much people try to convince us. The social media post is just the highlight it doesn’t show all the drama or unperfect parts of the get-together. Lousie Comer, now in her 40s, said that in high school she always felt FOMO because she didn’t get invited to dances, but once she was able to get a date she realized the events “weren’t as great as I[she] thought they were.” This changed her outlook, and taught her to “have fun with the people around here.” 

Learning these skills early could help anyone growing up or living in the 21st century. As social media spreads the epidemic of FOMO will also continue to spread until the day humans stop comparing each other, which will never happen, or movies stop showing idealized versions of high school we are stuck figuring out a way to fight the feeling of thinking everyone else is having fun and we are just not. Finding ways to cope with this feeling or being understanding of people who are going through these feelings will help them and our society obliterate them, and hopefully one day no child, teen, or adult has had a fear of missing out. 

 

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