Neophile: A Person with a Strong Affinity for Novelty

April 8, 2019
Have you ever heard of the term neophile? Discover what it is in this article!

Society continues to pressure us into having the latest and most outrageous things. Nowadays, there’s an overabundance of resources and information. In this regard, a neophile is a personality trait characterized by a strong affinity for novelty.

Neophiliacs tend to want to have the newest electronic devices, live new experiences, or know all the possible information on a subject. Some of their most characteristic behaviors are nonconformity and the desire to change their routine way too constantly.

Several 20th-century authors, such as J. D. Salinger with Hapworth 16, 1924 (1965) and Christopher Booker with The Neophiliacs (1969), popularized the term neophile.

In this article, we’ll study the characteristics of neophilia. On top of that, we’ll try to discover if it’s problematic or if it’s actually advantageous.

A man shopping online.

Traits of neophiles

1. Adaptation capacity

Neophiles are constantly looking for new stimuli. Due to this, they’re able to adapt to change a lot faster than most people. This trait is generally very positive. Thanks to it, it’s easier for neophiliacs to develop qualities such as resilience.

2. Reject of routine and tradition

The number one enemy of a neophile is routine. For neophiliacs, doing the same thing day after day is one of their biggest fears. Although no one likes to do the same thing over and over again, this situation is especially disturbing for a neophile.

Therefore, neophiliacs tend to seek constant stimulation to try and find ways to escape from their routine. In addition, they feel trapped in situations where they have to remain committed. This is quite a disadvantage when it comes to, for example, keeping a stable job or a formal partner.

On the other hand, neophiles don’t like traditions. These people can’t accept the fact that some things must be done in a certain way.

Also, neophiliacs tend to be very creative and love to innovate, which can compensate for some of their other negative traits.

3. Pursuit of novelty

For neophiles, the need to experience new things can become their greatest desire to the point of becoming an obsession.

Thus, new experiences can become addictive to them. The neurotransmitters released during unknown situations can alter their brains so much to the point that they’re able to modify it permanently. That being said, neophiliacs will need to experience more extreme sensations every time in order to feel good.

Therefore, it’s not uncommon for neophiliacs to try all kinds of dangerous activities, substances, and trends. For example, some engage in extreme sports disregarding all safety measures. Others submerge themselves in the world of substance abuse or consume excessive amounts of food.

However, as long as the impulse experienced by the discovery of something new is properly channeled, this trait can be quite beneficial.

A man with neophilia diving into the ocean.

4. Tendency to experience boredom

A neophile needs to try new things almost on an everyday basis. Therefore, it’s often difficult for them to pay attention to the same thing for a long time, whether it’s a cell phone, a partner, or a job. Their desire for stimulation pushes them to go out with the old and in with the new.

Thus, neophiles tend to be loners since they can’t stand to be around the same people all the time. They also struggle to achieve goals that require constant effort or to maintain a stable job.

If you identify with the traits that we described in this article, you have to know that being a neophile isn’t necessarily bad as long as you properly channel your need for novelty. If you focus on improving key areas of your life, this desire for constant stimulation shouldn’t pose a serious problem. Now, if you find that this affinity for novelty is jeopardizing important areas of your life, don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional.