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The Fear Of Missing Out Vs. The Fear Of Being Left Behind: Which Is Superior?
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and the Fear of Being Left Behind (FOBL) are two distinct but connected psychological phenomena. Both have been widely explored by social scientists, who found that people experience FOMO or FOBL primarily when they perceive a discrepancy between their expectations for what they should be experiencing in a situation and the reality of their current experience.
FOBL is often driven by a fear of being left out or isolated from a social group, while FOMO is motivated by a fear of not living up to one's own expectations or missing out on opportunities. However, the two fears are not mutually exclusive, people can feel both FOBL and FOMO simultaneously.
In general, the Fear of Missing Out appears to be more powerful, as it can override the Fear of Being Left Behind. This is because the Fear of Missing Out is based on a fear of loss (missing out on opportunities), while the Fear of Being Left Behind is based on a fear of gain (being left out of social groups).
However, there are some situations in which the Fear of Being Left Behind is stronger. In particular, when people are unsure about how to evaluate a potential opportunity, they may feel FOBL more intensely because they fear making a decision that could later prove to be a mistake.
In addition, when people have already experienced something negative in the past (e.g. social exclusion), FOBL can become even stronger and more difficult to manage.
Also, some groups of people may feel FOBL more intensely than others. For example, research has shown that the fear of being left out is a more powerful influence on college students' social choices compared to adults who are not in college.