3 American Cultural Aspects That Don’t Fit Introverts

Culture is the water we swim in and the air we breathe. It constantly informs all that we think, feel and do. Geert Hofstede is a Dutch psychologist that studies different cultures around the globe. He has developed a tool that measures six aspects of different societies. Three of the six American cultural measurements clash with introversion. Let me explain

1.    Individualism
The first relevant aspect of the Hofstede scale is individualism versus collectivism. The U.S. is 91 on this scale pointing to a very strong preference for loosely-knit versus tightly-knit social network. America is the land of the rugged individual. Introverts are collectivists and emphasize the group over themselves. Thinking of others first puts introverts at odds with the culture around them.

2.    Masculinity
The second aspect of the Hofstede scale is masculinity versus femininity. The U.S. is 62 on this scale which points to a preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material reward for success as opposed to cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Introverts tend to be less assertive or competitive, often yielding to the greater good of the team or to others around them. This feminine leaning is slightly out of step with American culture.

3.    Indulgence
The third aspect of the Hostede scale that is worth noting is indulgence versus restraint. The U.S. is 68 on this cultural dimension pointing to the way we lean heavily toward immediate gratification, enjoying life and having fun versus having restraint, delayed gratification, or the more serious side of life. Many introverts are judged as not happy enough by this bias in American culture.

All three of these cultural dimensions are reflections of the bias toward yang and extroverted aspects of society in the U.S. If you’re an introvert, wondering why you so often feel out of place, this may help explain a little why you feel that way. It’s not you, it’s the culture.