Over half of adults are dealing with FOSY — a fear of saying ‘yes’

LONDON — Many people admittedly struggle with saying “no” to friends, family, and colleagues when asked to do something. Now, it turns out that saying “yes” is just as hard for others. According to a new survey, more than half of adults are dealing with “FOSY,” or the “fear of saying yes.”

A poll of 2,000 British adults reveals 37 percent of individuals feel financial worries have held them back from saying “yes” to enjoying various experiences in the last 12 months. Similarly, another 37 percent put the fear of saying yes down to a lack of confidence.

In fact, in January, the start of a new year that’s seen as an opportunity to broaden horizons, the average adult says no to something they actually want to do every 10 days. This fear of saying yes means 35 percent think they have missed out on making new friends, while 33 percent have avoided asking someone on a date. Another 32 percent believe it has held them back from trying a new hobby.

What is ‘FOSY’?

The survey was commissioned by Crodino, a UK-based maker of Italian non-alcoholic beverages. The company is teaming up with psychologist Emma Kenny, who spoke about what holds people back and why conquering the “fear of saying yes” will have a positive impact.

“FOSY is a common phenomenon, linked to the emotions we experience when faced with opportunities that push us outside our comfort zone,” she says in a statement. “When there’s a chance we might be judged or we have pre-conceived ideas that we’re not good at something, our instinctive, knee-jerk reaction is to say ‘no.’ The research tells us in January, it’s even more common to say no to something, even if it’s something we want to do.”

“The benefits of doing more of the things we wish we could but are afraid to say ‘yes’ to are vast,” Kenny continues. “When we take on new experiences, we grow in courage and develop personal resilience which increases our confidence and self-esteem, making life feel altogether more rewarding.”

How to get over the fear of saying yes

The research also found Brits want to use 2023 to put themselves out there, as three in five want to beat the January blues and say yes more often.

To do so, 34 percent will accept invitations to more social gatherings, and 23 percent want to tuck into delicacies they haven’t tried before. More than a fifth of respondents (21%) also want to upskill their cooking ability over the course of the next 12 months.

After several years of restrictions, 36 percent want their life to be busier and with more variety. Meanwhile, 43 percent feel having the ability to say “yes” to more will bring a sense of fulfillment. Consequently, the research, conducted via OnePoll, found 40 percent hope it will make them a more positive person.

Top 10 Things to Say ‘Yes’ to in 2023:

  1. New travel and vacation destinations
  2. More social activities and plans
  3. New friendships
  4. New health and exercise regimes
  5. New hobbies
  6. Cultural experiences
  7. New career and job opportunities
  8. New opportunities for self-care
  9. Live music events
  10. New food and cuisine

Report by 72Point writer Oliver Lewis