The introverted traveler, Part III: Thoughts on American culture and Introverts

8 Apr

Some cultures, especially the USA and Latin America, are known for valuing extroversion. Just listen to the lyrics of a typical American pop song from the last 10 years, such as “Uptown Funk”, or look at the social lifestyle movies portray Americans as living in. Or listen to the sad reality of introverts getting called “losers” in high school. The bottom line is that being socially “in” in America is glorified, to a point that it can alienate introverts.

Some aspects of American life, though, are anything but extroverted. To some degree, it is easier to be alone in America. Many commuters commute solo. Suburban life can be isolating. America and Canada also have miles and miles of wilderness in which one can hike for days without seeing another person. Europe has few of these places left, whereas America and Canada have massive tracts of national forests filled with hiking trails. A lot of Americans describe trouble meeting new friends after they’ve been through school and college.

Despite this, it’s pretty much impossible to argue that America is a good country for introverts. Despite the rise of Anime culture, Superhero movies, Video Games, and Bronies in the past decade, people are still expected to be social if they want to be respected.

Even with all this, I still believe introverts can find their place in America. The internet is making it easier to find work through freelancing. “Geek culture” is more accepted now. The Anime Expo in Los Angeles in 2014 had around as much attendance as the Super Bowl (around 80,000 people). I believe that, over time, America will become more accepting of introverts.

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