Is FOMO Really the Problem? Here’s what I think.

We need to talk

Photo by on Unsplash

Sometimes I just want to scream and I’m not kidding.

I see them everywhere. Everyone is plugged in. And cellphones and iPads are taking over an important job we used to have.

They say FOMO (the fear of missing out) is the problem. But is it? or is it something else.

Maybe it’s the fear of really communicating. Texting has replaced talking. We need to talk.

Will we one day live in a world that no longer communicates with our voices?

Will everything become so technical that one day we won’t have personal contact?

They all laugh and I want to cry.

Why? Because I think their response is typical for people today.

Dinner together

When I was younger and people sat around a table enjoying each other’s company, if the phone that used to sit on a table, or hang on a wall, rang, no one would get up and answer it.

Why? Because it was considered rude.

Because it was saying to the person you were with, “you are not as important as who might be on the phone.”

Then call-waiting came. And people started bumping others off their call when they got a better one. That didn’t feel great. Unless of course you heard,

“Just a minute, let me just answer this and I’ll tell them I’ll call them later.”

Then you felt important.

I’m not sure when it started but people now believe they have to be available 24/7.

It’s for you

People can tune out whatever sounds they want to, but when their instant messenger dings, of course they can hear that three rooms away.

People get groggy, awakened by their phone. Couldn’t they just turn it off?
No. Some people cannot. What if they miss a call?

Years ago, we were happy to have answering machines because if you missed a call, you’d get a message and call them back.

Even with phones, people mainly text.

And if you do get a call, you’re likely to hear,

“What’s up?” Translation: “why the heck are you calling me, is your texting finger broken?”

People are finally acknowledging addictions to their phones.When you practically sleep with your phone, and are unable to do anything without it, yeah, maybe that is obsession.

They have apps to help people stay off their phones.

I don’t have a smart phone, but honestly, I think it’s one of the smartest moves I’ve made.

Oh sure, most of the calls I get are from a telemarketer. Or maybe if there’s an upcoming election a recording from a candidate will ring my number.

People don’t just call to see how you are anymore.

They don’t pop in anymore either.

We’ve progressed technologically, but somehow moved backwards. Is that still progress?

These days

The other day in Chicago, I was in a Coffee shop. I remember when people went out for coffee and it was the conversation they wanted—face to face.

Now the sound you can hear in a coffee shop is tapping on keys. I’d say swiping, but that is too quiet.

There is little laughing and talking. There are lots of tables but usually just one person at a table with their computer, or phone.

I unplugged

I had to go to the ER a few days ago. That meant I was not on my phone, or computer. And do you know what I found? I still made it.

In fact, any time I have not been near my screens, I’ve actually felt a freedom to just be where I am.

When I was sick this winter for a whole month, I discovered the same thing true. The world did not come to a screeching halt because I wasn’t logged in.

I wonder if secretly I thought it would?

For those of you who wonder if you are online too much, you probably are. I say that because you never wondered that before, did you?

What could we really be missing?

I think it’s helpful to ask what you could be missing by being plugged in so much.

And the answer might be, communication. Real communication.

Just to be clear, I use social media, it’s just part of my life, not my whole life.

I don’t want to take my last breath and wish I would have spent more time with those I love, instead of those I want to give me likes.

But the great thing is, we all have choices. We get to choose. And every day is a new day. How will you spend yours?

Call to Action:

Do you struggle unplugging?
Are you someone who never turns their phone off?
Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Life is hard, so I write words to make it softer.

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