Is Venmo Giving Us FOMO?

A recent series of interviews from Mic has revealed a new form of mental anguish: Venmo is giving us FOMO. In case you're not familiar with the application, Venmo is a platform for charging and paying your friends, usually for group purchases one person covered, like last night's dinner or next weekend's concert tickets. When users log on to Venmo, they view a feed of all their friends' transactions in the format: "John Smith paid Jane Doe $15 for movie tickets." When you read that, you know people have been going to the movies without you — thereby inspiring an intense Fear of Missing Out in a lot of us.

According to a Boston Magazine investigation, the term "FOMO" originated among Harvard MBA students suffering from the constant... well, fear that they were missing out on more exciting potential weekend plans. In 2007, Business Week documented that the epidemic had dispersed well beyond the Northeast. A 2014 study found that 70 percent of Millennials suffer from FOMO, and another from the previous year found that 56 percent of social media users do.

So, we shouldn't too too surprised that Venmo is the next culprit. It's certainly not the first one, though. Here are some other things that convince us we're definitely missing out on something of the utmost importance.

1. Facebook

What could me more FOMO-inducing that seeing a picture of some dude from your college dorm living it up at that bar you've been dying to try? Or, even worse, watching your happily coupled-up friends post on each other's walls for Valentine's Day while you're curled up in bed with chocolates catching up on The Bachelor? (Eh, who am I kidding? I'd pick chocolate and reality TV over Facebook posting any day of the year and would probably get more FOMO seeing a photo of the candy on my newsfeed.)

2. Yelp

There's nothing quite like Yelp's illustrated list of dining options to make you think, "We must eat at all the places!" We log on looking for one Mexican restaurant within a mile radius and end up having to choose between ten. When we finally sit down and peruse our menus, we can't help but wonder what the options would look like at the other nine.

3. Our Neighbors

Whether they're having booming parties or loud sex, there's nothing quite like the residents of the apartment or house next door to remind us how little fun we're having in our own dwellings.

4. School Reunions

What have we even been doing with your lives this whole time? If you're anything like Romy and Michele, the thought of being compared to your high school or college peers is enough to spur an elaborate fantasy of inventing some popular household item.

5. The Phrase "YOLO"

YOLO (You Only Live Once) almost rhymes with FOMO. Coincidence? I think not. By pointing out that we will never ever have another life to live, YOLO users remind us how impossible it really is to accomplish everything we would like. They also subtly convey that, by not going clubbing on a Friday night, we are not living life to the fullest. That's the harshest accusation of missing out anyone can receive.

To which I respond, YODO — you only die once — so let's not do anything in the name of YOLO, FOMO, FOBO, or any other acronym that will encourage us to usher in this death earlier than planned. Maybe fear of dying out could be the ultimate antidote to FOMO.

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