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What is FOSY – the fear more than half of Brits suffer from?

Over half of us are suffering from FOSY - Fear Of Saying Yes. (Getty Images)
Over half of us are suffering from FOSY - Fear Of Saying Yes. (Getty Images)

More than half of Brits are suffering from FOSY – a ‘fear of saying yes’, according to research.

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be a scary prospect and sometimes saying 'no' to a new opportunity feels like the easier and safer option, so much so that over half of us often opt to take that route.

When it comes to some of the reasons we don't say yes, the poll of 2,000 adults revealed that 37% of us put it down to lack of confidence, while the same figure admit financial worries have held them back in the last 12 months.

For those living with FOSY the average adult says no to something they actually want to do every 10 days, with those in the no camp missing out on making new friends (35%) and trying a new hobby (32%).

Turns out the fear also impacts love lives with a third (33%) admitting FOSY has meant they've avoided taking the plunge and asking someone on a date.

But as January is a time for self-reflection for the year ahead, it’s important to try to banish this ‘fear of saying yes’ for personal growth.

Read more: UK areas with most improved rates of happiness, anxiety and life satisfaction revealed

Psychologist Emma Kenny says that while FOSY is holding many of us back conquering the fear can have a positive impact on lives moving forward.

“FOSY is a common phenomenon, linked to the emotions we experience when faced with opportunities that push us outside our comfort zone," she explains.

“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."

Suffering from FOSY can lead to us missing out on opportunities. (Getty Images)
Suffering from FOSY can lead to us missing out on opportunities. (Getty Images)

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Kenny says there are some significant benefits of doing more of the things we wish we could but are afraid to say yes to.

“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,” she explains.

Thankfully, it seems we're keen to explore new opportunities this year with the research, commissioned by Crodino, revealing that Brits want to use 2023 to put themselves out there more, with three in five wanting to beat the January blues by saying yes more often.

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To banish the FOSY, 34% plan on accepting invitations to more social gatherings, and 23% want to push their boundaries in the food stakes by tucking into delicacies they haven’t tried before.

More than a fifth (21%) also want to up-skill their cooking ability over the course of the next 12 months.

And after several years of restrictions, 36% want their life to be busier and with more variety.

Stepping outside their comfort zone is something many of us are looking forward to trying with 43% believing saying 'yes' to more could bring a sense of fulfilment.

Consequently, the research, conducted via OnePoll, found 40% hope it will make them a more positive person.

Read more: Talking mental health: What to say when someone's struggling, according to experts

Overcoming FOSY can have many benefits according to experts. (Getty Images)
Overcoming FOSY can have many benefits according to experts. (Getty Images)

Top 10 things to say yes to in 2023

1. New travel and holiday 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

Additional reporting SWNS.