Got FOMO? Read this ahead of party season...
You know when it's 11pm and you're lying at home on the lounge, knowing you should really be in bed, but instead you're scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, clicking on the profile of your ex-roommate's best friend's sister whose dog now has a page with 11k more followers than you? Or, worse, you're caught in a rabbit hole of random Instagram stories of a bunch of people you don't really know? Go on, admit it, we've all been there. So much so, those dark times have been the subject of a recent study. Titled 'Home alone: Why people believe others' social lives are richer than their own' the Cornell University study discovered that people have a surprisingly pessimistic view of their social lives, believing that their peers enjoyed a "richer and more active" event calendar than themselves.
In other words: we feel like everyone else is having more fun than we are. While this FOMO-induced sense of dissatisfaction is undoubtedly aided by the known fact that everyone only posts the highlight reel of their lives on social, it does little to dispel said feeling of sitting in your pyjamas, wondering why the hell you're not out drinking Aperol Spritzes with your mates and taking photos inside the latest pink-walled, brass-decorated restaurant. And yep, in case you were wondering, the study took into account people of all ages, income and life stages, interviewing college students, MTurk respondents, shoppers at a local mall, and participants from a large, income-stratified online panel.
Moreover, it seems the prevalence of socialites and their millennial counterparts (aka influencers) are another trigger for our feelings of social inadequacy. As the study abstract says, "trendsetters and socialites come most easily to mind as a standard of comparison", and they suggest "reducing the availability of extremely social people" to eliminate the irrational fear that everyone else bar you is living their best life.
We're not sure unfollowing all the people you know is the easy answer, but we guess it's better than hate watching their Instagram stories, right?
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