Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Manners Monday" - Fear of Missing Out a/k/a FOMO

Worried that your friends are having the time of their life without you?
Jennifer Brandt and I wanted to explore this new syndrome identified as FOMO or the fear of missing out and how technology has upped the ante in the game.

Back in the day, you had to hear it through the grapevine. All those fantastic tidbits of information about friends and family had basically one source, word of mouth. Now there's a whole host of tools to make us feel inferior and simultaneously rub it in our faces! It's like we have to walk around with blinders on to avoid every awe inspiring detail.

So how does one get through each day without wanting to hide under a rock? Here are some helpful etiquette tips to keep everyone in check and spare the hurt feelings.

1. Don’t rub it in.
If something wonderful happens that you want to share, at least have the decency and sensitivity to announce it in a slightly self-deprecating manner. This might help to make the bitter and jealousy pill (another person might be feeling) easier to swallow.

2. Keep it short and sweet.
Do not write a dissertation. A few simple brief sentences about what is going on will suffice. No one needs to hear every last piece of minutia. Save your most intimate details for those face-to-face conversations with your nearest and dearest.

3. Word to the wise.
On the flipside, if you are constantly consumed with what everyone else is doing, you can’t possibly enjoy your life. Do yourself a favor. Shut off your phones, computers and any other technological devices that connect you to the world and reconnect with the most important person there is, YOU!

4. Create a new destiny.
Rather than letting FOMO control you, your time would be much better spent creating a new and exciting future that makes you happy and that you can control. Make a conscious choice to become interesting, find a passion, start a new hobby, travel, get cultured, the list is limitless.

5. Give someone a fighting chance.
The incessant checking of email, texts, Facebook updates and tweets is enough to drive anyone crazy. These tools only serve to validate the FOMO hysteria. Don’t be a slave to them. Instead be present to your relationships and give those you interact with in person your undivided attention. Trust me, they will thank you for it.

Do you suffer from FOMO? Do you think technology has made matters worse? Share with us your thoughts. We'd love to hear from you!

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