Whilst most of us have heard of the expression FOMO or ‘Fear of Missing Out’, not many have come across DOMO or ‘Desire of Missing Out’.
Before we explore DOMO in more detail, let’s just recap on what we know about FOMO.
What is FOMO?
FOMO is a feeling of anxiety brought about by thinking that you are missing out on a social engagement that you are not attending.
FOMO is a not just a sign of desperate people who are worried that interesting events are happening elsewhere without their participation. It has been recognised as an actual key human characteristic. FOMO taps into our desire to belong to a social group and even expressing FOMO type emotions is seen as perfectly acceptable. We all recognise that it is terrible to miss out on a great party or a fabulous social event, it is normal behaviour to feel upset.
FOMO even has roots in our evolution and could have played a major part in why the Neanderthals died out and modern humans survived. Modern humans had large networks of groups and when times got hard could seek help, whereas Neanderthals were more solitary and lived in small and isolated groups.
So where does DOMO or ‘Desire of Missing Out’ come into play? Is it contradictory to our human nature?
What is DOMO?
Desire of Missing Out defines those individuals who do not want to attend the latest party and are happy to stay at home in their own company and shun the social scene. They are quite content pursuing their own interests and do not appear to need approval from their peers in order to function.
It is probably more socially acceptable to admit you have FOMO than DOMO, as people might view a tendency to want to stay in on your own as a bit weird and unsociable. It also goes against what humans are driven to do, which is connect and form social groups wherever they can.
Many theories, including classic Freudian, would stipulate that those who prefer solitude to social interactions are prone to personality disorders such as narcissism, paranoia, and schizoid personality syndromes.
However, there are some researchers that believe a capacity for DOMO is a sign of maturity and strong mental health. D.W. Winnicott, a paediatrician and psychoanalyst, strongly believed that being able to be alone was a good developmental achievement.
DOMO is now being defined as a need for space and time for one’s self, and may eventually be accepted by society in the future. But FOMO fits in with what social norms are all about.
FOMO vs. DOMO?
To many, DOMO is seen as a weird personality trait that does not fit in with the norms of society. And anything that is different or outside societal norms is considered to be wrong and damaged.
Thus, researchers associate DOMO with negative personality traits and suggest that there could be a link between DOMO and social anhedonia (an inability to experience pleasure from social activities such as social interactions, exercise, hobbies etc).
No need to say that people prefer to go with the majority rule. If we see ourselves as too different from the crowd, it is considered to be a major social mistake. Wanting to spend time on your own, with minimal social contact and not attending social events is not seen as normal behaviour by the society.
But what if you are one of those who experiences DOMO on a regular basis? Do you love to spend time alone and hate to attend parties or social events? Does conversing with strangers and thinking up small talk bore you and make you wish you were sat at home with a book or watching TV?
Most likely, there is nothing wrong with you if you prefer to be on your own. Moreover, with all the fakeness and superficiality that govern today’s society, the desire to miss out and avoid social contact could actually mean that you are more mature, self-sufficient and intelligent than the majority of people.
After all, don’t forget the good old saying:
A wise man can always be found alone. A weak man can always be found in a crowd.
So, as for DOMO sufferers, they do not themselves as suffering and are perfectly happy with their lives. Just so long as they’re not missing out 🙂