Have you ever said yes to an invitation because of a fear of missing out? Was it a good or bad experience? A study published this year looked at the relationship between Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) and alcohol use among students during an orientation week at their university.

FoMO refers to a sense “that others might be having a rewarding experience from which one is absent.” While we all might experience this feeling from time to time, some of us are driven by FoMO even though it might lead to a number of negative consequences.

You are at more risk of harm with FoMO.

The results of this study suggest that FoMO is associated with the negative consequences of drinking among university students. It has been reported earlier that drinking with unfamiliar people and in an unfamiliar environment can lead to more negative consequences. Thus, greater FoMO might be associated with the greater experience of harm. Especially when those who experience stronger FoMO might drink longer in order to not miss out.

Some theories suggest that because there is a lighter academic load, some people might use it as a justification for heavier alcohol use during this period. Additionally, people with FoMO are more likely to be constantly checking their phone for social activities. This in itself can lead to negative consequences, as they often experience negative emotions when online, go to sleep later, and check their phone during lectures or while driving.

Do you worry that others are having a rewarding experience when you aren’t?

If the answer is yes, then first of all stop placing yourself and others at risk by checking your phone while you drive or operate heavy machinery.

Secondly, be choosy! What is it that you actually want? Do you really have to be everywhere or just at really cool selected places? Become better at choosing, be selective about what you want.

And lastly, what is it actually about? What are you actually afraid of? Is FoMO a cover for unhappiness, insecurity, or low self-esteem? Pay attention to what is actually a problem and where you need to work on yourself to keep yourself safe and happy.

Do you need help managing your binge drinking? Check out our course Stop Binge Drinking.

Riordan, B. C., Flett, J. A., Hunter, J. A., Scarf, D., & Conner, T. S. (2018). Fear of missing out (FoMO): The relationship between FoMO, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences in college students. Journal of Psychiatry and Brain Functions, 2(1), 9.