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Top 15 Common Fears – Does yours make the list?

Top Common Fears – What Scares You the Most?

Fear is a basic human emotion that we all experience in our lives. I asked my family and friends to tell me about what scares them the most and discovered that many of them share the same common fears.

But what one person might find terrifying, another might find thrilling. Some examples include skydiving, roller coasters, or thunderstorms. So I compiled a list of the Top 15 Common Fears (not in any particular order) and added my own personal commentary just for fun. How do you relate?Top 15 Common FearsAre you afraid of spiders, snakes, or clowns? Here are the Top 15 Common Fears among adults. Did yours make the list? What are YOU afraid of? Click To Tweet

Top 15 Common Fears (with links that might help)

1. Fear of Dying (Thanatophobia)
Whether it’s via accident, murder, sickness, or natural causes, the thought of death is naturally very scary to most of us. Nobody knows what happens after death and this is understandably terrifying.

Death is scary. The fear of the unknown can be terrifying.
Nobody knows what happens after we die. This is why death can be so scary.

2. Losing a Loved One (also called Thanatophobia)
It is natural to worry and fear for our loved ones. They are our world and the thought of life without them is very scary. Some things are just out of our control and we can only do so much to protect the ones we love. This is why it’s so important to cherish the time we have with them now.

3. Spiders (Arachnophobia)
Yes, they can bite. Yes, some of them are poisonous. Personally I think spiders are cool. They eat other bugs and most of the time, they just sit there minding their own business. But if they start crawling towards me or my family, then we have a problem.

Spiders just want to live in peace
Can’t we all just get along?

4. Snakes (Ophidiophobia)
Many people are afraid of snakes. If you are a city dweller, you probably will not come in contact with snakes very often unless you run into Alice Cooper, of course. But if you live in the desert or wilderness where snakes live naturally you should definitely be vigilant.

5. Heights (Ophidiophobia)
Some people get a kick out of jumping out of airplanes. I know I get a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach just watching those videos of people walking on the sides of tall buildings. I get that they find it exciting, but seriously? Why risk your life on purpose?

You find heights thrilling? Have fun with that.
You find heights thrilling? Have fun with that.

6. Confinement (Claustrophobia)
The fear of having no escape or being enclosed in small space can throw people into a full blown anxiety attack. I know I freak out a little bit when my kid goes to those play places with little tunnels for them to crawl through – just small enough for a child. One time he got scared and the only way out was the equally confining tunnel slide. And guess who had to go and fetch him? Yeah, we have no plans of going back anytime soon.

7. Public Speaking (Glossophobia)
Many people have a fear of speaking in public. It’s a form of performance anxiety in which a person becomes very concerned that they will look foolish and maybe even have a melt down in front of others. Fortunately, there are several ways to alleviate this phobia such as therapy, courses, and even social groups like Toastmasters, where you can practice speaking in front of others who have the same fear as you.

Many people have a fear of public speaking. Teachers do it every day!
Many people have a fear of public speaking. Teachers do it every day!

8. The Dark (Nyctophobia)
When you can’t see what’s in front of you, your mind can take over and come up with all kinds of scary things that could be lurking in the dark. You never know what is going to pop out at you when you least expect it. It could just be a clown!

9. Clowns (Coulrophobia)
Clown costumes exaggerate facial features and body parts such as eyes, noses, and hands and feet. This can often be construed as disturbing or scary. Maybe in the 50s, they were considered funny. But for us Gen Xers, the movie Poltergeist ruined all that by featuring an evil clown that grabbed a little boy and tried to drag him under the bed. Also the serial killer, John Wayne Gacy used to kidnap and murder children and that was no laughing matter. I think people who dress as clowns have a few screws loose.

Clowns are not very funny.
Clowns are not very funny.

10. Cockroaches (Katsaridaphobia)
Nope! I hate them so much, I don’t even want to post a photo of one. And if you are afraid of cockroaches too, you won’t want to click on that link. You’ve been warned.

11. Flying (Aviophobia)
There is something about being a thousand miles up in the air in a highly explosive tin can that freaks me out. Maybe it’s the lack of control, but if anything goes wrong, there is nothing you can do about it. I am not a huge traveler and I try to avoid flying as much as possible.

Flying may be safer than driving. But I'd rather be on the ground.
Flying may be safer than driving. But I’d rather be on the ground.

12. The Ocean (Thalassophobia)
The ocean is such a huge mass of the unknown. You have a lot of things to contend with when you are going in the ocean. Personally, I am afraid of getting caught in the undertow and drowning. But there are other things to be scared of in the ocean such as fish, whales, and of course man-eating sharks.

13. Sharks (Galeophobia)
Even though you can be completely safe on land, there are some people who have a serious fear of sharks. But did you know that shark attacks are pretty rare? In fact, the odds of being attacked by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million. More people die of car accidents and bee stings, than from being attacked by a shark.

Shark attacks are very rare. But people are still afraid of them nonetheless.
Shark attacks are very rare. But people are still afraid of them nonetheless.

14. Failure (Atychiphobia)
Sometimes the fear of failure is so overwhelming that it keeps people from living their daily lives. But you are never going to succeed if you don’t try right?

15. Needles (Trypanophobia)
A fear of needles is not necessarily a fear of the needle itself. It’s usually the pain that is caused by the needle that scares people. It is unfortunate though because for some, the fear of needles is so crippling that it keeps people from seeking important medical treatment and is a leading cause of premature deaths.

Needles are scary, but they also save lives.
Needles are scary, but they also save lives.

The list of common fears is pretty infinite. In fact, there are still some uncommon fears out there that they haven’t even given a name to yet. See mine below…

What Scares ME the most?

Being eaten alive. I can’t think of anything worse than being eaten alive. Except maybe being buried alive. Ok, I really can’t decide.

Wet toilet seats. Come on, people. If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be sweet and wipe the seat.

Can't you at least wipe the seat?
Can’t you at least wipe the seat?

Ghosts. Even though I love watching ghost shows and hearing ghost stories, I have a tremendous fear of ghosts. I would probably pass out if I ever came in contact with one.

Being Tickled. Seriously, don’t even joke! I will probably cry.

Being tickled by a ghost = instant death for me.

Keep those ghost fingers away from me!
Keep those ghost fingers away from me!

Videos of people popping zits, breaking bones, or vomiting. Why would anyone want to see this? This is why I had to stop watching Tosh.0.

Throwing up. You know that feeling you get when your throat starts to close up and you know the inevitable is coming? Yeah, it’s pretty terrifying.

People sticking their bare feet on the dashboard or even worse out the window. Eww! I get that you want to be comfortable, but really nobody wants to see that.

Nobody wants to see your feet out the window.
Nobody wants to see your feet out the window. photo credit: Ло 73/92 via photopin (license)

Yellow nail polish. Just why? It makes you look like you have Cirrhosis of the liver.

Millenials using speech I don’t understand. Maybe “it me” but “TBH” “I can’t even” handle it. I get that your “Bae” is “perf” but you seriously you guys sound so stupid! I get that I’m just old, but Bae is Danish for POOP, people!

Getting spit on when someone’s talking. Say it, don’t spray it. Respect my personal space.

Spitting is so gross
Spitting is so gross. photo credit: Brother O’Mara Fountain via photopin (license)

The US presidential election. But then again, who isn’t?

June bugs. These flying tanks are one of the banes of my existence. You can hear them coming from a mile away and they are blind so they insist on flying into your windows and doors. My hubby tried to kill one with a bat and that sucker still lived. True story!

Bees. I know they are dying out and are vital to life on this planet. But they sting and they fly! And wasps. What are they good for anyway except being jerks. Go away.

This photo of a wasp makes me want to run away screaming!
This photo of a wasp makes me want to run away screaming!

Giant, warm, soft fresh baked chocolate chunk cookies. I love them so much, but they have as many calories as a meal. I’m scared of them, because I can’t control myself around them. So please just do me a favor and keep your cookie away from me!

Duck Dynasty Beards. Geeze, can we please stop with the beards? They are not luxurious, they look like pubes on your face.

Beards look like pubes on your face. Will this trend just die already?
Beards look like pubes on your face. Will this trend just die already?

My son when he wakes up in the morning. It’s scary because it’s unpredictable. What kind of mood will he be in today? Bad? Of course. Ok, maybe it’s not that unpredictable. But still scary nonetheless.

Do you agree with this list of common fears? What scares you the most? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for writing this post, but it does contains affiliate links which means I may be compensated a small amount if you click-through and purchase. Full disclosure policy here.**

Published inRants and Rambles


  1. Devina Devina

    Gosh I’m scared of flying me I fly so much! It’s crazy!

  2. I do fear a lot of these! I hate spiders…and heights…

    And I always cry when I have to throw up. It’s the worst.

  3. Clowns are scary! Especially the ones that have been in the news lately. Crazy trend right now.

  4. livelaughhlovee5 livelaughhlovee5

    #1, #2, #7 & #13 I am most afraid of as well.My husband hates spiders

  5. My eight year old has had a stiff neck for two days and I’m terrified something is wrong so the fear for a loved one is prevalent with me.

  6. I do have a lot of those same fears, but mine didn’t make the list. I have a fear of big fires. I vividly remember using a doll house in kindergarten to go over a fire escape plan with my family.

  7. Two of my biggest fears are someone I love dying (I have nightmares about it) and I absolutely cannot stand the thought of me dying either. You’ve definitely nailed a LOT of the most common fears! xx Adaleta Avdic

  8. I don’t have many fears, but public speaking is not something I’m looking to do anytime soon. I’m sure if it was something I practiced I’d be fine with it, but I’d rather just you know…not! I recently just read somewhere that we are only born with two fears. Falling and loud noises. It’s crazy how the older we get, the more we learn to fear all of these things. When I’m uncomfortable with something, I try my best to face it head on that way it doesn’t become a fear. It’s awful though that no matter how hard we try, some are just inevitable!

  9. Beth Shankle Anderson Beth Shankle Anderson

    This is a fantastic and timely list! I love it. And, for the record, I am scared to fly!

    Beth ||

  10. Needles and drowning for me! But now that I’m pregnant I put up with needles for the better good. You get over it! lol

  11. I have a friend who is super afraid of clowns… many pranks were played on her by her siblings which I’m sure didn’t help things!

  12. I was flying through this list until I saw cockroaches lol. I hate water bugs specifically but I think everyone should.

  13. There are a few of things on this list that I’m afraid of! I used to be scared of flying but I’ve done it so much now that I have overcome! I am definitely afraid of roaches though. Especially flying ones.

  14. 2-5 and 12-13 on common fears are what I fear more than anything else on your list.

  15. Shane Shane

    I’d say the irrational fear of failure and imperfection is biggest for me. I hadn’t heard of some of these, intriguing Halloween read!

  16. You had me in stitches with this piece! I have a terrible fear of clowns to the point my hubby bought me an immunity necklace from being bothered in a haunted house! What did it for me was actually Pennywise from It as opposed to Poltergeist. The foot out the window was just too funny as I hate that too. brilliant laugh on this Halloween Monday.

  17. I’m definitely afraid of dying and I’m sure many people are. It’s so hard to face one’s own mortality.

  18. I love this! How funny, your fears are almost pet peeves at the end!

  19. I have a fear of drowning even if I’m not that bad at swimming. Dying while in the water is not something that I would like to experience. Especially since water is something that we’re not familiar with and it’s also not our natural element.

  20. amandahrosson amandahrosson

    I would say I pretty much have some kind of fear or apprehension about each of the 15 common fears >.< My biggest fear is probably demons though – you just don't mess with that stuff D:

  21. I do have some of these fears, most of them are fear of the creepy crawlies, just cant stand them. YIKES!

  22. Megan mccoig Megan mccoig

    So many ideas here that most people are scared of. Mine is public speaking and I have huge anxiety about it. I also hate clowns!

  23. Jonas justice Jonas justice

    The fear you’ll notice at the end of your life

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