Gluttons for Novelty, But Averse to Conflict

With the world around them changing so quickly, people might be expected to cling to what’s familiar. Instead, Americans have an unabated appetite for novelty. In a poll by Barna Research Group, 77 percent of respondents said they’re accurately described by the phrase “like to try new experiences.” In the survey’s smorgasbord of brief descriptions, only “self-sufficient” had more takers (92 percent). While people were generally upbeat about their lives, there was a hint of loneliness in the fact that 50 percent of them are “trying to find a few good friends.” Despite pop culture’s celebration of in-your-face brashness, a surprising 70 percent of respondents said they “avoid conflict whenever possible.” On the other hand, 66 percent “like to be in control,” and 52 percent “enjoy making tough decisions.” Naturally, people tend to describe themselves in contradictory ways, as when 74 percent said they “enjoy deep discussions” and 73 percent “like to keep things light.” There’s probably less overlap between the 60 percent who are “deeply spiritual” and the 58 percent who are “skeptical.” Did respondents clearly express their opinions on these weighty matters? You might have your doubts, given that 34 percent said they’re “often misunderstood by others.”