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FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) | An Entirely Social Media Driven Fear

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I recall suffering from FOMO in my early teenage years, before the social media takeover. A vague memory comes to me of wistfully wondering what else was out there. That there must be more for me than a little life in the Norfolk countryside. How entitled, right? But I think we’re worse now.

Social media can be a wonderful thing, and I’ve often defended it. Particularly Instagram, may I add, which doesn’t itself show off luxuries beyond our grasp, but does allow other people to. The impersonal catching up, lurking amongst other story-viewers, means that we’re constantly and silently subject to the best parts of other people’s lives. I remind myself often that neither a gallery of squared images or 280 characters reflect reality, that social media can produce a rose-tinted perspective. FOMO sometimes reaches me regardless, and there are a few things worth keeping in mind when it does.

Tackling the Fear of Missing Out
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The paddling of the social media swan is hidden underwater. Their elegance is broadcast but all of the work behind the scenes is not: Early starts, late finishes, frantic emails, rejection, strained personal relationships. Similarly, we don’t see alternate realities, the holidays that could have happened had money not been spent elsewhere. Perhaps more sensibly invested.

My FOMO arises from watching those who travel constantly, or who own beautiful houses. It’s a constant contradiction between wanting to live and experience more of the world through travel, and wanting to settle down and invest in a home. That’s the thing, our social media feeds are filled with people who all spend their time and money in very different ways.


We’re restricted by our salaries and commitments, and we all only have 24 hours in a day. There’s a problem with the popular hustle, #girlboss mindset of today. It’s like an online cousin of the American Dream, an empty promise that if you work hard enough, you can have it all.

But you can’t. No-one can ever have it all, and neither are we entitled to it. Reminding myself of this often forms my escape from the FOMO holes I bury myself in.

Before the end of last year, I felt a huge pressure to catch up. Convinced that I was falling behind because my 2019 Goodreads challenge hadn’t been high enough. Because other people were working hard on more brand campaigns (why hadn’t I been chosen). Because others were finding the time to binge watch ‘You’ on Netflix, completing the whole second season in a single day. All of these people had clearly prioritised their time in different ways, yet I felt that I should somehow be on par with them all. An impossible feat.

Tackling FOMO
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We’ve all been warned against the danger that is the comparison game. I’ve been convinced for a long time that I hadn’t been playing it, but I’ve realised that it’s more difficult than I thought not to. It’s more subtle than direct comparisons. Hidden not only in impressive achievements but also behind harmless lifestyle tweets about what someone else is watching or reading. It’s not a comparison between two individuals but a comparison between one individual and the rest of the online world. Or, at least, that’s how it’s come to feel to me.

So if FOMO driven by social media is getting to you, then rationalise it. You can’t possibly, as one person, do all of the things that everyone else is doing. We need to celebrate our own accomplishments and be okay with knowing that we make the right choices for us. As someone with very little free time, it’s okay that I don’t read as many books as someone else and that I often choose the mindless task of watching a Netflix film with my boyfriend instead. It’s okay that I’m 24 and don’t own a house yet, because I’ve been to some amazing places instead. I’d like to do more and achieve more, of course, but time and money are considerations and I’ve done well out of mine. I’m sure you have too when you put things into perspective.

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  • Reply Kathleen

    I used to get such bad FOMO, but if I’m honest, I get JOMO now!

    Kathleen /

    February 20, 2020 at 9:28 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      That’s so great to hear! It’s all about who you follow and tweaking mindsets I find x

      February 27, 2020 at 9:16 pm
  • Reply Babita

    Couldn’t agree more with all of your points and how the reality is!! Loved the read!! What a thoughtful post! I think we all less or more go through this!!

    Xoxo Babita

    February 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it x

      February 27, 2020 at 9:18 pm
  • Reply Мария

    Very beautiful post and blog, my dear!!! =))

    February 21, 2020 at 10:46 pm
  • Reply Makeup Muddle

    I hate Instagram these days, it’s such a negative place and you can’t help but compare your life to everyone else on there. I just try and remember that people only share their highlights, and it’s not all filters and balloons all the time xo

    February 22, 2020 at 9:48 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      That’s so interesting, I actually don’t find that its exclusively instagram that makes me feel like it, and that all the other socials and even blogs can encourage it too. It’s definitely important to remember that its all a highlight reel though, you’re right x

      March 1, 2020 at 10:52 am
  • Reply Ashleigh

    This is such an important post. It’s easy to compare your own life to someone else’s highlight reel and what they post on social media. It’s definitely important to rationalise things. Thanks for sharing

    Ashleigh |

    February 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm
  • Reply Esterella

    Such an important post- I can definitely relate to feeling like I’m not doing enough because it feels like everyone else has it all and I might be missing out. Thanks for such an honest post 🙂

    February 23, 2020 at 12:57 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you, I’m so glad you think so. It’s such a shame that these feelings are so familiar to most of us x

      March 1, 2020 at 10:56 am
  • Reply Nancy

    I felt the same about having FOMO during the teenage/early-20’s years. IG made it so hard because we only see what people want to share. Like you said, people don’t share the bad events, we just see the wins. I agree with you – definitely avoid comparison. We all have our own lives to live the way we want :).

    Nancy ♥

    February 23, 2020 at 7:23 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It’s such a shame that we’re all so familiar with FOMO and comparisons- you’re so right though, it’s definitely best to focus on ourselves x

      March 1, 2020 at 11:00 am
  • Reply Lucy

    Like you said, we can’t have it all! FOMO is mainly driven by social media as we see things that we want and then we’re afraid we’re missing out on a trend. I’m a lot better than I used to be, if I haven’t or can’t have it, then I don’t worry so much! x

    Lucy |

    February 23, 2020 at 9:21 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Totally! I’m definitely better than I used to be now and just unfollow accounts that make me question my own life- it can definitely be hard on the down days when it looks like everyone else is doing so well though! x

      March 1, 2020 at 11:05 am
  • Reply Natonya

    Soph you landed perfectly on this topic! FOMO is such a dangerous feeling because it leaves you feeling like you lost out on something that you probably didn’t need in the first place. Social media sites like Instagram are inspiring but also paints this image of living like a celebrity without hardly doing anything. But like you said, you can’t have it all and we should base reality on a photo with a quick caption. Great topic choice😍

    Natonya |

    February 24, 2020 at 4:18 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thanks so much! Absolutely- it’s so important to remember that it’s not a true reflection of reality! x

      March 1, 2020 at 11:07 am
  • Reply Amy Aed

    I absolutely have a massive case of FOMO, but I’m trying to deal with it. I’m just worried that I’ll miss something important that ends up being the talk of the friend group for years to come.

    Have a good week! 🙂

    Amy x Wandering Everywhere

    February 24, 2020 at 1:25 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally relate but it’s so important to remember that everyone else is in the same boat and that you’re achieving things that others aren’t – it works both ways! x

      March 1, 2020 at 11:09 am
  • Reply Mica

    What a beautiful coat and great neutral outfit! 🙂

    These are good tips, it’s important to remember not everything is as it seems and a square on Instagram doesn’t summarise someone’ life, it never could! 🙂

    Hope that your week is starting well 🙂

    February 24, 2020 at 9:22 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thanks so much! Absolutely, I’m so glad you think so x

      March 1, 2020 at 11:11 am
  • Reply Diana

    Yes to this post! There is this huge boss mentality that is so popular right now, and although I think it’s great to chase your dreams, I also think it’s nice to appreciate what you have in the moment too. You look beautiful in these photos xx

    February 25, 2020 at 2:01 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Absolutely- I couldn’t agree with you more, it’s great to chase your dreams and put so much effort into your work but it’s also important to actually live as well! Thank you so much x

      March 1, 2020 at 11:13 am
  • Reply Deborah Kos

    Luckily, I’ve never really compared myself to other people. I know a lot of people who are obsessed with doing that. I try to look at my good qualities if I get the urge to compare myself.

    February 25, 2020 at 9:44 pm
  • Reply melina elisa

    I’m definitely realizing that I can’t have it all, and have been slowly becoming okay with it! I realize that it’s okay to do things at my own pace. I’m buying my home this year, and that’s already a huge achievement for me! I know my blog hasn’t taken off the way others that started at the same time as me have, which I’m okay with! I’m prioritizing what’s really important to me, and working towards those things! Once I reach those goals, I’ll have other things to work towards. Great post, you’re so right, even though we know that Instagram isn’t reality, we still feel fomo xxx

    Melina |

    February 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It’s so great that you’re prioritising your own goals and focusing on yourself! I’m so glad you liked the post, thank you x

      March 5, 2020 at 6:15 pm
  • Reply Jolien

    Such a sensitive topic to talk about, but it is the hard truth. Social Media is taking over our lives and most of us have no idea what impact this can have on our future. We all want te be influencers and I’m guilty to that wish, too.

    February 26, 2020 at 9:44 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      You’re so right- it has so many implications and unfortunately not all of them are good are they? x

      March 5, 2020 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Mercy

    So well written! I always love post like this because it makes me come to my senses that I’m not the only one trying to escape from this social media comparison. I recently was contemplating too what to prioritise whether a nice house or more travels. Thanks dear, it’s true, we just can’t have it all.

    February 27, 2020 at 5:53 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much, I’m always contemplating investing in either travels or my home- such a tough one! x

      March 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Madiha Bashir

    The comparison game really is dangerous, but it’s so hard not to get wrapped up into it. I need to learn not to that you really can’t have it all and no-one shares every single aspect of their life!

    February 27, 2020 at 10:40 am
  • Reply Bexa

    This is a really refreshing post to read and a great mindset to have, Soph. Like you say, it is impossible to do everything, time and money just doesn’t allow it. Social media only shows us the highlights and ‘best bits’ of each others lives, it’s an unrealistic snapshot that doesn’t tell us what’s going on behind the scenes. I think social media can be a great way to connect with others and get inspired, so long as we keep everything in perspective 🙂 Thank you for sharing this thoughtful and reassuring post <3 xx

    Bexa |

    February 28, 2020 at 2:22 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad you think so- and you’re so right, I think it’s so important to follow the right people too and to unfollow anyone who doesn’t make you feel great! x

      March 5, 2020 at 6:26 pm
  • Reply Samantha

    This all sounds like me a few years ago when I started blogging. I was being led along by “big bloggers” and in an unrealistic and unhealthy way. Fast forward and my life is completely different from what I previously thought a blogger’s life should be like. Life really isn’t about wanting what other’s have and comparing what we have to them and travelling here there, everywhere (mainly just to get photos for the gram). Personally, I love being at home and that’s actually where I’m happiest, I’ve moved on from the self-serving content I used to post and now try to live a more wholesome lifestyle, making the most of just being alive and enjoying the moment. I prefer linens to luxury and unfollowed a load of people I no longer resonate with and those accounts who’s content I relate to and am inspired by. My feed is now so much better! I actually enjoy the images I see as opposed to feeling crap about myself and my life. I think it’s all about taking stock of what’s important and letting go of what isn’t. It’s so good for the soul!

    I really enjoyed the post btw, I just have a different standpoint to social media these days. xx

    Samantha |

    March 1, 2020 at 12:18 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I definitely see that you’re about a more wholesome lifestyle and that’s actually one of the reasons I love your platforms so much! How boring it would be to see the same things on every single Instagram feed! I’m all about unfollowing people who I don’t resonate with as well, it can become so unhealthy and at best, just unenjoyable. Thank you for sharing your opinions on it all- it’s so nice to hear other viewpoints and how other people approach it x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:04 pm
  • Reply Sophie Wentworth

    This is so true but it’s definitely one of those things easier said than done, unfortunately. I had this a lot as soon as I left uni, other people had more money, but they also hadn’t gone to uni and already had a few years in their current roles. Other friends saw each other more, but they lived a lot closer together and it was easier to meet up. It’s so easy to get yourself caught up in the ‘why not me’ mindset even when your logical brain is screaming the reasons at you. It’s so important to remind yourself of that, especially when it comes to people whose lives you know little to nothing about beyond an Instagram feed x


    March 1, 2020 at 9:42 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally agree that it’s easier said than done and old habits die hard. I often catch myself thinking along similar lines and try to remind myself of everything I’ve said in this post! x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:08 pm
  • Reply Eena

    So much yes to this post. I’ll be honest and admit that I used to suffer from major FOMO back in the day but like you said, nobody posts things they don’t have and I couldn’t agree more!

    cabin twenty-four

    March 2, 2020 at 3:22 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you- I think most of us have experienced FOMO from social media at some point or another! x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:10 pm
  • Reply Hena Tayeb

    That coat is gorgeous.

    March 3, 2020 at 12:25 am
  • Reply Joyce

    Social media definitely affects how we live! I needed a good break and I’m glad I took it! x

    Joyce |

    March 4, 2020 at 6:04 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad that a social media detox helped you! x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply sonia // daring coco

    This was a huge thing for me with Insta. Even though logically I can seperate and understand how hard everyone works at trying to show that perfect lifestyle. It’s hard sometimes to still not feel the FOMO, especially when all your blog friends happen to be at certain places at the same time


    March 4, 2020 at 7:40 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally agree- sometimes how we feel doesn’t equate to what we logically know and we need to remind ourselves. FOMO is definitely a bad habit that I’m still trying to kick x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Mai

    I had a lot of FOMO when I first moved to NYC because it’s literally the city that never sleeps. There are events happening every night and every weekend and I couldn’t keep up. Eventually, I came to terms that I liked the idea of going out more than I actually do like going out, lol, and it’s helped me with my FOMO ever since!


    March 6, 2020 at 1:35 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally appreciate why you’d feel that way! I’m the same when I travel down to London and see all of the action there. Haha, I’m not the biggest fan of ‘going out’ either x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Anna

    I often have similar thoughts and feeling (we all do), I love your way of trying to rationalize this FOMO. Yes, it´s impossible to have it all, and neither should we. This is so true that with social media (especially Instagram) we see only the best parts of other people’s lives, so to remind yourself that this is not the full story is the key.

    Anna |

    March 6, 2020 at 10:22 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally agree that we’ve all experienced some level of it- I’m glad you think so! x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply Nancy

    I can totally relate to you about FOMO – especially during my teen years. I always thought I was missing out but social media doesn’t show the whole story. You don’t know that someone really has nothing in their savings while they’re traveling out, or just because someone doesn’t post doesn’t mean they have nothing going on. Comparison is definitely a bad thing. Life isn’t a cookie cutter :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Nancy ♥

    March 7, 2020 at 6:51 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally agree- we definitely never get the whole story! Thanks for sharing yours- I’m loving hearing what other people think about it all! x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:24 pm
  • Reply Sam | Violet Hollow

    FOMO can control you if you let it! I always try to take everything on social media with a pinch of salt as everything is curated there is so much you aren’t seeing. xx

    March 8, 2020 at 2:02 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      You’re so right- I think we should all take it with a pinch of salt x

      March 10, 2020 at 12:26 pm
  • Reply Ashlee Stuart

    I definitely used to feel this way in the past. I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted my content to go. Once I took a step back and realized that social media wasn’t everything, I learned to enjoy it for what it was, and I have been able to find some amazing people to follow who make me feel encouraged and inspired!

    Ashlee |

    March 11, 2020 at 8:51 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so happy that taking a step back worked for you and that you enjoy it now, I think it’s all about who you follow too! x

      March 20, 2020 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Valerie

    This is such a well written post! I definitely agree with all your points about fomo, and how it is important to put things in perspective when it comes to your own life and choices. Thanks for sharing this!

    March 12, 2020 at 12:55 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much, I’m glad you relate x

      March 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm
  • Reply Jade Cao

    As we’re living in the digital world, it’s inevitable to have FOMO issues but it’s important to learn how to face and accept it. Love your thought about it!

    March 12, 2020 at 4:58 pm
  • Reply Dasynka

    We should all slow down and relax a bit more, we can’t do everything, see everything, be everywhere and do wha t other do. It’s a fear we all have but we should be more logic as you said 🙂

    xx Dasynka

    March 14, 2020 at 1:00 pm
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