FOBO Is the New FOMO, and Here’s How Not to Let It Ruin Your Life

Now that you’ve discovered LOMO, you’re no longer a slave to FOMO, right? Well, sort of. Turns out the newest way to beat yourself up (for not doing something you made a conscious decision not to do) is called FOBO, and it’s definitely a thing.

I’m intrigued. What is FOBO? Fear of Better Offers. It’s when you’re crippled by indecision about buying a dress, because you can’t help wondering if there might be a cuter, cheaper, more flattering frock out there. Or when you refuse to commit to plans with an OkCupid prospect, on the off chance that Jonathan from Queer Eye might invite you over for margaritas. (What? It could happen!)

Is FOBO bad? Not exactly. According to New York Times columnist Tim Herrera, FOBOists (or “Maximizers” as he calls them) “tend to make better decisions, [but] they are less satisfied with those decisions than are people who make quicker ones based on less research.” In other words, you may objectively get a better dress than your friend who threw on the first thing in her closet, but you’ll spend way more time obsessing about and regretting your decision.

Yep, that sounds like me. What should I do about it? Herrera has coined a solution he calls the MFD, or Mostly Fine Decision. Basically, you establish the minimum outcome you’d be OK with, even if it’s not the absolute best thing in the universe. Maybe it’s a dress you can dance in that highlights your legs and costs less than $200. Maybe it’s having plans with a person who makes you laugh on a Saturday night. Then, once you find something that meets those criteria, you accept it, embrace it and move on. (And, hey, if Jonathan does come calling, you can always “get the flu.”)