I remember a while back looking at the social accounts of old friends and connections and thinking, do any of these people work? How do they afford all these trips and fancy restaurants? How are these people still friends with the same old people? Why does everyone else’s life look so put together and figured out? I would also see old friends at events, tagging each other, and wondering why I was not invited, but that’s a blog for another day or how they even have time to always be enjoying time away from responsibilities. This is when I heard of the word FOMO; it means the fear of missing out. Was I feeling so down on myself because I had this thing called FOMO and didn’t think I could live the extraordinary life others portrayed on their feeds?
In today’s digital age, the fear of missing out (FOMO) has become a prevalent topic of discussion, particularly among the younger generation. With the rise of social media and constant connectivity, Gen Z individuals are often exposed to a barrage of social activities and events, leading to a heightened sense of FOMO. This blog aims to explore whether FOMO is indeed a Gen Z thing when it comes to friendships.
FOMO refers to the anxiety or unease that arises from the belief that others are experiencing more enjoyable or fulfilling experiences than oneself. It is characterized by a fear of being left out or not being part of the social circle. While FOMO is not exclusive to any particular generation, its impact on Gen Z friendships is worth examining.
The Role of Social Media:
One cannot discuss FOMO without acknowledging the role of social media platforms. Gen Z individuals are known to be avid users of platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, Facebook, where they are constantly exposed to carefully selected highlight reels of their peers’ lives. This constant exposure can intensify feelings of FOMO, as they compare their own experiences to those presented online.
Gen Z friendships often revolve around shared experiences and social activities. With FOMO being a prevalent concern, individuals may feel pressured to constantly participate in events and gatherings to avoid missing out. This can lead to a fear of declining invitations or prioritizing personal well-being over social engagements.
The Impact on Mental Health:
While FOMO may seem harmless, it can have a significant impact on Gen Z individuals’ mental health. Constantly feeling the need to be present and involved can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and a sense of inadequacy. It is crucial to recognize the potential negative consequences of FOMO and take steps to address them.
To combat FOMO in friendships, it is essential for Gen Z individuals to practice self-awareness and self-care. Setting boundaries, prioritizing personal well-being, and understanding that social media does not always reflect reality are crucial steps. Additionally, fostering open and honest communication within friendships can help alleviate FOMO-related anxieties. By limiting your exposure and choosing more authentic apps and technologies to find activities, you may not feel as overwhelmed.
FOMO is not exclusive to Gen Z, but the digital age has undoubtedly amplified its presence in their lives, particularly in the context of friendships. It is important for individuals to recognize the impact of FOMO on their mental health and take proactive steps to address it. By fostering healthy communication, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care, Gen Z individuals can navigate friendships in the age of FOMO more effectively.