If you recognize these 11 signs, FOMO is holding you back in life

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Fear of missing out is a big problem for many people. What’s more, they don’t even realize they have it and just how much it dictates their behavior on a daily basis.

But there are clear signs that show us just how much FOMO is holding us back in life. So, if you want to find out what these signs are, keep reading the article.

1) Constantly checking social media

For many, it’s not just a casual scroll anymore. It’s a compulsion. The need to be updated on everyone’s life is so ingrained that it interrupts our day in many cases. 

You could be in a meeting, at dinner, or even in bed, but that urge to check what’s happening on your feeds is ever-present. In fact, I’m resisting it right now!

For instance, while my wife is addicted to Instagram, I’m addicted to Reddit. We both know we have a problem and that these apps often interfere with our lives, yet, there’s no real intention to do anything about it at this point. 

This brings us to a connected problem – the inability to disconnect. 

2) Unable to disconnect

It’s not just a choice for staying connected; it’s a reluctance to let go, isn’t it? The thought of being offline isn’t just inconvenient. It’s anxiety-inducing because it means potentially missing out on a conversation, event, or trend.

I think that perfectly describes me. What about you? Do you feel uncomfortable when your phone isn’t by your side at all times? 

It’s crazy how much these little computers have taken over our lives in less than 20 years, basically. 

Before the iPhone, people were addicted to Blackberries and Sidekicks. And now, every man, woman, and child spends a huge portion of their day glued to the phone. 

3) Comparing yourself to others

If comparing yourself to others is a daily struggle, it influences your mood and self-esteem.

A friend’s success can trigger a whirlwind of self-doubt, while another’s misfortune may provide a brief sense of relief.

And the thing is, we now compare ourselves to the rich and famous more than ever because we see them all the time on social media. 

In the past, you could go days without seeing someone boasting about their success and lavish lifestyle. 

Now, every time you go online, you see expensive cars, luxury lifestyles, and private planes. Like it or not, it starts affecting you if all you have to show is a studio apartment and a bus pass. 

4) Feeling left out

Constantly feeling left out can lead to overcommitting to social events.

The thought of saying no creates an almost physical discomfort because declining an invitation feels like shutting the door on a potential adventure, even if it means spreading yourself thin.

The result is a busy calendar, a life packed with events, and a constant juggling act to keep up with the social scene.

However, the irony is that the pursuit of avoiding the feeling of being left out contributes to a different form of isolation

The sheer busyness can prevent you from fully engaging in each moment, diluting the quality of your social interactions. 

It becomes a balancing act between avoiding the fear of missing out and maintaining genuine connections.

5) Always needing to be in the know

Ever since the War in Ukraine started a couple of years ago, I felt the need to always be in the know, and not just about that but all other world events. 

Even though I was only cordially affected by it, it was such a pivotal moment for me that it pushed my phone usage over the edge. 

I still clearly remember the first days when Russia invaded and how glued my wife and I were for days and then weeks. 

The need for information isn’t just a desire for knowledge; it’s a lifeline. And staying in the loop isn’t just about being aware – it’s about maintaining a sense of belonging, as if the details of others’ lives validate your own existence.

What it leads to is this:

6) Difficulty enjoying the present

Many people have a chronic inability to be fully present. The present moment becomes a mere backdrop to the constant mental scan for something more exciting happening elsewhere.

That’s why we keep checking our phones. We’re so bored by our lives that we yearn to see what’s happening elsewhere. 

Not only is that bad, but we’re collectively turning into zombies. We don’t care about what and who’s directly around us.

We just aren’t mindful and appreciative of the things and people in our lives. Not enough, at least.  

7) Fear of making decisions

Decisions, big or small, become paralyzing. Does that sound familiar? Are you afraid that committing to one option means forfeiting all the other potentially exciting opportunities that might come your way?

The fear isn’t just about missing out on one thing; it’s about the infinite possibilities you might be losing. 

The fear of making decisions becomes a significant hurdle when FOMO is at play. The thought process becomes a constant loop of “What if there’s something better around the corner?”

And then it comes to this:

8) Feeling anxious or restless

In my high school and college years, I always felt anxious and restless. It was a constant itch, a nagging worry that I wasn’t where the excitement was. The anxiety wasn’t rational, but it was undeniably present.

I don’t have to tell you how harmful that was for my grades. When your mind is always somewhere else, of course, other important things in your life suffer. 

The thing is, this restlessness isn’t confined to waking hours, too. FOMO-induced anxiety can disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or restless nights. 

When the fear of missing out infiltrates even your moments of rest, it impacts your overall well-being.

9) Regret over past choices

The decisions you made are like ghosts that refuse to fade away. Instead of accepting the journey you’ve taken, there’s a constant questioning of whether those choices led you down the most exciting paths.

Therefore, it’s not just an occasional reflection but a persistent replay of the what-ifs. If past decisions aren’t water under the bridge, they’re ghosts that haunt your thoughts, making you question the course of your life at every turn.

Imagine you chose a stable job over a riskier but potentially more exciting opportunity in your early career.

Now, every time you see someone thriving in a dynamic field, the regret sets in. What if you had taken that leap instead of opting for security? 

The fear of missing out on a more exhilarating professional journey becomes a constant companion.

10) Distraction during quality time

You’re hanging out with your friends or family, having a great time – chatting, laughing, all that good stuff. Sounds awesome, right? 

But here’s the twist: even though you’re physically there, your mind is kinda playing its own game.

Instead of fully enjoying the moment, there’s this nagging feeling that something cooler might be happening somewhere else. 

It’s a background distraction that keeps your thoughts bouncing around, and it happens a lot, not just once in a while.

This distraction messes with your ability to soak in the good times. If this becomes a regular thing that keeps you from really appreciating the awesome people and experiences right in front of you, that’s terrible. 

FOMO really is an invisible force that quietly tugs your attention away from the present moment.

11) Chasing trends without genuine interest

By constantly chasing trends without genuine interest, you find yourself in situations, hobbies, or lifestyles that don’t bring you fulfillment. 

It’s a temporary fix to the fear of missing out, but in the long run, it could hold you back from discovering what truly brings you joy and satisfaction.

The energy you spend on keeping up with trends that don’t genuinely interest you could be directed towards pursuits that are your real passions but aren’t that popular. 

FOMO, in this sense, becomes a barrier to self-discovery and the pursuit of genuine happiness. 

Ultimately, adopting trends isn’t just a fun experiment but a strategy to avoid the fear of being left behind, even if it means sacrificing your genuine interests and passions.

Final thoughts

In the end, you need to know that FOMO is much stronger when you’re younger, although it can creep up in later years in ways you never expected. 

Still, dealing with it at any stage of your life is beneficial because, as you can see, it can affect your life in many ways.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

8 psychological habits of people who don’t seek validation from others

People who display these 9 traits need more personal space than most