There’s no escaping the impact of certain acronyms on our lives. We’re all aware of FOMO, short for fear of missing out, but it appears the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on two other similar acronyms: FOGO and JOMO.
What we know about FOMO
Unless you’ve been hanging out in space, there’s no way you haven’t already heard of FOMO – the fear of missing out – and used it yourself on one too many occasions since its first emergence in 2004.
In simple terms, it describes a situation where feelings of anxiety arise due to social exclusion or isolation brought on by social media. It’s when you want to be part of the group, event or moment others are posting or talking about and makes you constantly think about the good time they’re having without you.
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However, an article in The Conversation explained that thinking of FOMO as a singular concept would be oversimplifying things. Its research concluded there were in fact several sub-categories and sub-fears to consider:
- when people get frustrated by others not responding, despite receiving and reading messages
- when people have multiple devices and social media accounts and have little time or desire to check them all, they may fear missing important messages and events
- fear of missing the opportunity to gain popularity. This happens if one is late in responding to others and in expressing empathy when needed
- fear of missing valuable information
- fear of being excluded from social groups due to lack of timely engagement
- fear of inciting negative reactions
Since the coronavirus rocked lives around the world, it’s sparked a renewed use of the acronym FOGO — the fear of going out — and may even have replaced the feeling of FOMO for a lot of people.
Even though we’re seeing a gradual easing of restrictions across Australia, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the air, especially concerning a second wave.
It’s not surprising to be honest. I went to visit Ikea in Rhodes, NSW over the weekend and regretted it as soon as I entered the shopping centre. Yes, there was a line to get inside Ikea as per social distancing rules but once inside, I was playing dodge the people. I quickly grabbed the table lamp I’d gone for and ran out.
For the time being, I’m avoiding places that I know will draw a big crowd. The FOGO is real.
Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre explained to The Sydney Morning Herald she’d seen FOGO affect university students, her colleagues and many patients.
“I’m reminded of an analogy to the descriptors of when people are in hospital and have operations, or when women have babies and are in hospital for some time,” Kulkarni told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“They’re in a bubble, in an isolated, different sort of world and then when they return home, they often feel quite dissociated, not quite in touch with the reality that is. It’s a very similar situation to what people are experiencing [now].”
Kulkarni’s solution to this is simple: Just keep telling yourself, “there is no have to in any of this.”
So, if you’ve got FOGO, take your time and don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
What’s JOMO and how does it fit in all this?
JOMO, or the joy of missing out, is a happier take on FOMO and FOGO. You’re essentially taking a break from social activity, especially social media and have the ability or peace of mind to enjoy the cut off.
You are able to do what you want without worrying about others or feeling anxious — and you’re making a choice to avoid engaging in particular activities.
It appears JOMO was popularised thanks to Christina Cook in 2015 after her best-selling book The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World was published.
I don’t know about you but being able to experience JOMO would be (and really should be) a life goal.
If you’re experiencing FOMO, FOGO or JOMO due to COVID-19, tell us in the comments.
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