How do cravings and fears work in The Sims 4?

In The Sims 4, cravings and fears are a game-changing feature. Influenced in real time by the actions and consequences of the world around you, your Sim could find themselves with a devastating fear of flames after experiencing a house fire – or develop a fear of being cheated after underperforming at WooHoo with his partner.

Related: The Sims 4 Werewolves: Fated Mates, Explained

Whims are a thing of the past, and you’ll develop additional Desire after you acquire one of nearly 20 fears. Here’s an overview of how the new system works.

How do desires work?

Remember Whims? Those little thought bubbles hovering near your Sim’s head in the bottom toolbar that served as optional wishes, earning you Reward Points In the process?

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Well, those have been discontinued in favor of relaunching their more powerful predecessors.

Wanna are wants and desires your Sim develops throughout their day. Depending on your mood, relationships, work performance, etc., your impulses will direct your desires in different directions day by day.

Sometimes your desires will be influenced by low needs, such as wanting to take a bath if you feel dirty due to poor hygiene. Other times, you might want to flirt with the neighbors after being introduced to an exciting new acquaintance.

To prevent a request from being updated, you can click the thumbtack icon next to it to pin one wish at a time if you plan to make it happen eventually.

How is The Sims 4 Wants different from The Sims 2?

Unlike The Sims 2, failure to pay attention or fulfill their desires will cause your Sim to develop a fear of unfulfilled dreams. This seems to be a way for the game to steer you towards integrating desires and fears into your regular gameplay.


Wants and Fears were a dedicated part of The Sims 2 from the start, with them being featured in their own panel under the Needs menu. The Sims 4 Whims was once on a seesaw, giving you the option to turn them off for a less self-contained experience if you wanted to focus more on scenario building without the guidance of in-game RNG.

Now, replaced by Mandatory Wants, there’s no escaping your Sim’s independent desire to have a say in their own life – like it or not!

Desires and fears can also be dictated by any Features or occult-type specifics about your Sim. Vampires won’t be afraid of the dark, for example, and won’t want to go to the beach, while Paranoid Sims will be more wary of crowded spaces.

If you see a sharp urge, this is your Sim’s chance to challenge an active fear of theirs to get rid of any debuffs taken from said fears, such as the Uncomfortable moodlet that becomes active for Sims in crowded places if they are afraid of crowds. We’ll go over each fear and how to deal with it below.

How do fears work?

Fears are temporary Features which appear in your Simology panel alongside the regular, acquired traits you gain over time.

Just as traits influence how your Sim feels in certain social or personal situations, fears will negatively impact your Sim or cause them to more sensitive to negative moods which otherwise would not be triggered without Fear.

Unlike The Sims 2, you won’t wake up with new fears every day, but instead earn them passively as your Sim experiences life. This means that your fears will only go away under specific circumstances – and you could end up with far more than three fears at any given time.

To get rid of fears, you will have to face them head on. If you don’t, your Sim will experience increasingly strong negative moods that cripple their normal day-to-day life.

Here are the fears that have been triggered by the community so far and how to deal with them.

Note that your Sim can experience these fears with or without the described triggers, and these triggers could be affected by current issues that have not yet been fixed. For example, you can’t get rid of your fear of fire by putting out the same fire that scared you in the first place!

All The Sims 4 Fears And How To Face Them

To fear Trigger How to cope
fear of failure Create an inferior item, such as a food dish or a sculpture, or get poor job performance if in a job that does not require creating items. Create a high-quality item and select the “Show work” interaction to be recognized for your work, or select the Request a performance review option.
fear of fire Witness a fire breaking out in front of you. Gather your courage and put out a fire yourself!
Fear of death Seeing a close friend or family member get mowed down by the Grim Reaper. Discuss death with a friend or gift the grim reaper a flower of death.
Fear of crowded places Being in a busy place, like sports day or prom. While influenced by a confident mood, lead a fun interaction in a crowded place. If you don’t feel confident, your attempts at humor will fail.
Fear of being cheated Ignoring your partner for a long time – or feeling embarrassed after performing poorly at WooHoo with them. Discuss relationship fears with your partner to clear your conscience and gain reassurance from your loved one. Or, you know, break up with them.
Fear of unfulfilled dreams Not completing desires often enough. Complete a wish, then select Speak Fears with any Sims you feel close to to clear that fear and any negative moods.
fear of being judged People are mean to your Sim. Select the Sim who was mean and choose “Resolve Differences” to make peace and find common ground.
Fear of dead-end work Not having been promoted for a long time at your job. Before going to work, click “Regain Passion” to feel invigorated.
fear of ghosts Negative interactions with ghosts will give you this fear, including being frightened by Temperance the angry ghost if you live in a haunted house. Set them up and select the “Fight” option from the Medium Interactions menu to physically exorcise your demons.
Afraid to swim Going swimming with low energy or being influenced by other negative moods. Go for a swim feeling confident.
Fear of the dark If you have any active occult-type Sims in your world, negatively interacting with one will trigger that fear – like having a rampaging werewolf that will terrify you. While you’re confident, go outside at night.
fear of cowherds Get eaten by a Cowplant and live to tell the tale. Milk a cow while feeling confident.

As new fears are addressed in the game, we’ll discover more and more ways for your Sims to become petrified by the world around them.

Some Specific to high school years Fears include:

  • fear of homework
  • fear of exams
  • Fear of failing after school
  • Fear of disappointing parents
  • Fear of disappointing deceased relatives

Next: The Sims 4: How The Occult Fits Into The World

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