Have You Got FOBO?

Girl looking into setting sun

FOBO – fear of better options. A phrase that sums up why some partners in a relationship struggle with thoughts that the grass is greener with someone else.

It turns out that the acronym FOBO was actually coined by the same man who came up with the more commonly known term, FOMO – fear of missing out.

Patrick McGinnis, renowned author and host of the podcast ‘FOMO Sapiens’ termed both FOMO and FOBO over a decade ago.

Both acronyms have similar characteristics in that they both share an anxiety of the unknown.

In an article by The New York Times, McGinnis was interviewed about what FOBO means to him.

How To Make Faster Decisions – Patrick McGinnis

“F.O.B.O., the sister term of F.O.M.O., came out of my experience as a student at Harvard Business School.

I noticed my classmates and I were always optimising.

We hedged, lived in a world of maybes and were paralysed at the prospect of actually committing to something, out of fear that we might be choosing something that wasn’t the absolutely perfect option.”

FOBO can be related to any issue as long as there is a decision to make, or in this case – lack thereof.

In a relationship for example, a person with FOBO might look like someone who is unwilling to commit fully to a relationship in fear that there is something better elsewhere.

Whilst everyone has their own checklist when it comes to seeking love, if a person becomes too attached to your ideal of the perfect partner, they may unknowingly allow the curiosity of FOBO to creep in.

Questions may cross their mind like whether their partner is sexually compatible enough, ambitious enough, emotionally intelligent enough or put simply, good enough.

These thoughts are sure to throw someone deep down the rabbit hole of what ifs.

The truth about FOBO however, is that it is simply a state of mind.

So how do you overcome a bad case of FOBO?

Much like a bad habit, FOBO takes time, patience and hard work to re-wire.

Changing your perspective decision-making is the key to fixing FOBO.

When you are able to relieve yourself of the pressure that is decision-making you will feel the weight of FOBO lift off your shoulders.

As McGinnis says, “You make the best decision you can, then you recognise that the future will tell its own story.”

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