We live in an age where there is an overabundance of resources and information. It is in this context that neophilia (obsession with novelty) arises. This is a personality trait that is gaining more and more importance.
People with this disproportionate tendency may be obsessed with the latest electronic devices, experiencing new things, or knowing all the possible and unimaginable information about a subject. Some of their most characteristic behaviors are anti-conformism and the desire to constantly get out of the routine.
Neophilia is a term that was created and popularized by several authors during the second half of the 20th century. Among them were JD Salinger with his tale Hapworth 16, 1924 (in 1965), and Christopher Booker with a book called The Neophiles (in 1969). From there, its importance never stopped growing.
In this article, we will study the characteristics of neophilia. In addition, we will see if it is a problematic trait or if, on the contrary, having this quality can be an advantage for those who have it. Let’s explore this idea further.
Features of neophilia
The obsession with novelty involves a series of traits that present themselves at the same time in people who suffer from it. We will see which are the most important.
Since neophiles need to constantly seek out new stimuli, they are able to adapt to changes faster than most people. This first trait is, in general, very positive. Thanks to it, neophiles can develop qualities like resilience.
2. Rejection of routine and tradition
It makes sense to think that, for someone with an obsession with novelty, routine can turn into their worst enemy. For these people, doing the same thing day in and day out is one of their biggest fears. Although no one likes to be stuck in a routine, for a neophile this situation is particularly painful.
A neophile person will tend to seek constant stimulation and look for ways to escape their routine. She will feel trapped in situations in which she will have to engage and maintain that commitment. This will mean a disadvantage for her when looking for a stable job or having a serious spouse.
What is more, traditions do not fit very well into the mental patterns of neophiles. These people don’t accept that something has to be done a certain way just because it was written that way. Therefore, they tend to be more creative and to innovate. This can compensate for some of the other negative traits.
3. Search for novelty
Even though it is extremely related to the previous trait, the pursuit of novelty is very important for neophiles. For these individuals, the urge to experience new things may turn into their greatest wish. It can even become an obsession.
New experiences can quickly become addicting. Since they release certain neurotransmitters in the brain, they are able to change it permanently. Thus, the neophile will need to experience more and more extreme sensations to feel good.
It is therefore not uncommon to see people addicted to novelty trying all types of dangerous activities, substances and modes. Some, for example, spend their time practicing extreme sports. They may even end up addicted to drugs or food.
This trait can be beneficial, however, if the impetus for novelty and experiences is channeled adequately.
4. Tendency to boredom
A neophile person has a constant need to try new things. So she may have trouble paying attention to the same thing for a long time. Whether it’s a phone, a boyfriend or a job, her desire for stimulation will push her to abandon what she knows to discover more beautiful horizons.
Of course, this has some negative consequences for neophiles. They are often lonely people because they can’t stand being with the same people all the time. They also struggle to achieve goals that require constant effort or stable workstations that other people want more than anything.
If you identify with the traits we’ve outlined in this article, then there is nothing wrong with being a neophile. The key to turning this reality into an advantage, not a disadvantage, is knowing how to channel your need for something new. If you can manage to focus enough to improve yourself in key areas of your life, the desire for constant stimulation shouldn’t be a big deal.