Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together.
If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue. Fear of missing out is a thing, all right—it even has its own acronym: FOMO.
FOMO can happen anywhere—at school, at events or gatherings, at the mall, and at work.
Even scrolling online right at home and seeing all the groups and get-togethers you’re not part of can make you sad. According to OptinMonster, 2021, “Among social media networks, Facebook contributes to people’s FOMO the most (72 percent). It is followed by Instagram (14 percent), Twitter (11 percent), and Pinterest (8 percent).”
So what’s a girl to do when fear of missing out threatens to ruin the day? Here are 10 thoughts to help you through FOMO and make the most of your teen years.
Understand your personality type.
There are extroverts, and there are introverts. Which are you? If you need to be around others most of the time, you’re probably an extrovert. If you prefer to spend time alone or with one or two other people, you’re probably an introvert. Dear girl, know there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you are not the life of the party. There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t get invited to everything. Introverts make wonderful friends and are gifted with many, many other strengths. Embrace your personality and shine, even if you shine quietly.
Be wherever you are.
That sounds obvious—of course you’re wherever you are, right? Think about it for a minute though. You can’t be totally present in any situation if you’re wishing you were somewhere else or with someone else. Make sure the people you are with know how important they are to you by giving them your full attention.
It’s not all about you.
This truth is hard to hear, yet spot-on. Life isn’t about our happiness. We’re not here for us; we’re here for Him. Turn your eyes on Jesus, and your FOMO may start disappearing as you realize why you’re really here.
Realize just what FOMO actually is.
Could it be that fear of missing out is actually envy or jealousy renamed “FOMO” for today’s generation? Trust your good and caring Father to provide what you need—when you need it. Go to Him and ask for help being content in all situations. Ask again and again if you need to.
You won’t always have FOMO.
As you collect years and experiences, you may find that fear of missing out isn’t an issue for you anymore. You’ll understand your purpose on earth better and better as time goes on.
Or maybe you will always have FOMO.
Some of the trials you face, like FOMO, may always be challenges for you. But the good news is that God uses trials and challenges to keep you close to Him. When things are going great, you may forget just how much you need Him. When things feel all wrong, that is the time you’re driven to your knees in prayer because you remember God is truly the best friend you have. FOMO can actually be a good thing if it keeps you close to the Lord.
Alone time is nice now and then!
Solitude allows you to refresh, relax, and gather your thoughts. Be honest with yourself—do you really want to spend every moment with others? Especially if you’re an introvert, enjoy some time alone.
You can’t be everywhere.
The reality is you only have so many hours in your week. It is impossible to take in every event or gathering. Your schedule can’t take it all.
Set realistic expectations.
When you make plans with others, you can’t include every single person you know every single time. Naturally, you will not be invited to everything either, so adapt your expectations.
Don’t create FOMO for others.
This might be as simple as not talking about your plans or what you did this weekend while others are around. Even social media posts with pics of exclusive gatherings, no matter how big or small, can cause FOMO for someone else. Be inclusive instead. Make room at the table, extend an invitation, or simply throw a smile at someone you don’t usually acknowledge. Determine not to create cliques.
Fear of missing out may be a challenge right now, but remember, God is bigger than any challenge you’ll ever face. Keep your eyes on Him—and you won’t miss out on a thing.