Information Centre

FOBO? And how to deal with it

Our Youth Ambassador Tom Roth explains the concept of FOBO and how to deal with it

What on earth is FOBO? I was asking myself the same question the other day when I first stumbled across the term.

A lot of us may know the closely related term FOMO, which is the Fear of missing out. I think all of us young people have felt this at some point or another whether it be not getting an invitation to a party or not being able to go out with friends on the weekend. 

FOBO as I soon found out (after reading an interesting and very relatable article online) is the Fear of better options. This means we will often not make commitments until the last minute, if at all, because we want to make sure we don’t get a better offer in the meantime.   

Modern day FOBO

 As a teenager living in the 21st century I was instantly able to relate when I thought about it: FOBO can be seen everywhere, whether it’s seemingly small decisions like endlessly scrolling through lists of movies and series on Netflix not being able to choose one because you think you may enjoy another movie/episode more once you have made your choice. FOBO also plays a big part after you have made a decision as I soon realised. I often find myself wondering if I would have enjoyed a different option more. 

Important choices

A bigger example might be when it comes to spending money. I always find it very difficult to buy a new item. Such as a laptop in recent times. Nowadays with the internet virtually at our fingertips we are frequently bombarded with countless options by different advertisers all competing to get our attention . Bringing it back to the laptop example I had no idea where to start. During the process of choosing I did loads of research and I have to be honest it caused me a lot of stress and lost time because I wanted to get the best “Bang for my Buck”. After finally choosing the laptop, I came to an interesting conclusion: I wondered what it would have been like choosing from only a list of 5 laptops. I decided it would have made it so much easier and hassle free, as well as easier to be confident in my decision. 

Dealing with FOBO

 I think there are a couple things you could take away from reading this, and there are a couple of things I am now more mindful of as a result of my relationship with FOBO 

  • Limit your options if you can. It is often much easier to make a decision or commitment and be happier with your choice this way.
  • Try to make an active effort to realise when you are faced with FOBO and try not to get bogged down with making the decision.
  • In my experience it is almost always better to make the commitment rather than wait and let the opportunity pass because you could be missing out on something great.
  • Take note of when other people are experiencing FOBO and attempt to help them minimise the stress involved

 We can all experience FOBO from time to time and its nothing to worry about, however if you find it is causing you considerable stress. The best thing to do is to talk to someone. Don’t worry, we can all relate!