I am busy drawing a fictional map of a city. It has all the technology, economics and sociology of the real world. The city has no nightclubs, very few restaurants, no bars: very few places to publicly socialize. Each suburb gets a corner grocer, religious facility, a library and a theater. Police, medical and fire-protection are spread across several suburbs.

I have taken a personality test and it came out as INTJ. This makes me an introvert. Introverts get exhausted by social interaction and prefer time alone. Extroverts are energized by social interaction, hence they make use of social clubs. Digging further into personality theory, in the real world, the extroverts outnumber the introverts 3:1.

How different would a world be if the ratio was the other way around? If we had more introverts than extroverts. How would the 'community' or 'public' spaces (libraries, theaters, bars, parks, etc) be used? What are the other considerations in my introverted community?

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    $\begingroup$ You don’t understand introversion. Introverts may find social interaction tiring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t enjoy it, just that they need some time out to recharge their batteries. Your city should still have bars and social clubs, but perhaps with some small quiet rooms where people can go to be alone for a while. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 7:59
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    $\begingroup$ Restaurants are not purposely meant for socializing. They are mainly meant for providing food. I met my current partner in a library and the previous one at the church. So your partition in introvert/extrovert places is totally arbitrary $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ There are not black and white extroverts and introverts, that's just something self-proclaimed introverts like to bitch about. Those things come in degrees and are situational and depend on a lot of other factors and so does everything people say e.g. introverts are and do. So my question is: in your world, is it truly black and white? Because that should mean special places to go for either faction no matter if 1:3 or 3:1 $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35, if there would be 100% introvert they would go extinct in 1 generation. To mate one has to socialize. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ While Myers-Briggs has some points, it is also heavily critized. Even if you look just at the central dichotomies, you will note that they aren't binary; rather, each of them is a continuum, which gets boiled down to a binary selection (for example, extraversion/introversion). People generally aren't binary, and people can absolutely act differently in different contexts. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 13:49

4 Answers 4


What is introversion

People tend to misinterpret introversion as either social awkwardness/anxiety or complete lack of desire to socialise. Neither is true even for highly introverted people. Oversimplified, introverts invest into quality of a social interaction and do not care about quantity, while extraverts do the opposite.

While introverts often deliberately avoid socialisation especially in crowded settings, they can be more empathic and interpersonally connected than extraverts. The latter stems from introverts' preference for deep relationships based on trust, in which they invest heavily (emotionally and physically). Instead of having hundreds of acquaintances they barely know, they opt for having fewer but closer and more reliable friends.

Does it mean that introverts do not go to the bars, restaurants, or nightclubs? Of course, no! Those are more about the socialising preferences rather than introversion-extraversion. Granted, introverts might be less inclined to go to such places on a daily basis. However, a bar with a nice quiet corner at the back could be a perfect place for an introvert to enjoy their thoughts or to observe extraverts participating in their shallow social interactions.

Society of introverts

A 3:1 introversion to extroversion ratio in population would result in dramatic changes in society.

Many developed societies of today praise extraversion and heavily promote it from school to business environments. Think about all the group work students are forced to do in schools, projects and teams in business, negative stereotypes about quiet personalities, and so on. The US society is probably the most archetypal example of this extraversion bias. Unfortunately, it puts introverts who perform the best alone at disadvantage.

Your society will be less oriented toward group work, networking, and self-promotion. More time and resources will be spent on actual work (at least I hope so). It is likely that the society will be more meritocratic since introverts tend to spend more time before making decisions and are less subject to peer pressure. It is also possible that people and workers will be heard more since introverted leaders tend to listen to their subordinates more.

It is important to note that introversion does not necessarily lead to individualistic mindset. Your society can be perfectly collectivistic and still comprise the majority of introverts. It only means that they will put the interests of the community before their own.

The abundance of introverts also does not mean a society of 'lone wolves' secluded each in their respective den. But it will most likely mean less flashy culture and fewer people intruding in lives of others. Cooperation will also exist but probably with less drama. But I would not expect power struggles to disappear. They will just tone down and become less dependent on who-knows-who.

Back to public spaces

As it was mentioned in comments and other answers, introversion-extraversion is a continuum and a person can be anywhere in-between. Pure introverts are as rare as pure extraverts. Even pure introverts could use entertainment facilities once in a while. The rest of the population will be visiting those even more often.

You might want not to completely eliminate your bars, clubs, restaurants, and similar establishments but to think how to adjust them to suit introverts. A bar with dimmer lights, somewhat isolated booths, and not so loud music could be a good place. A nightclub could have a second floor where guests could relax and spend some time alone or with a small company of friends without all the noise and sweat of the party downstairs.

I do not think that restaurants will be affected much since they are about food. However, the celebrity chefs might become less of a thing. The celebrity thing itself might never be a thing in your society, for that matter...

  • $\begingroup$ You have an extremely variegated and eclectic list of supporting links. I find it interesting that even Forbes chimes in on the topic. But I am not sure they clarify the distinction between what part of introversion is environmental, what part is personality, and what part is genetic predisposition. The trouble with studies on 'introversion' is that they do not posit neural structures that mediate it. Introversion as a personality style is very different to introversion as something with a neurological antecedent and introversion as a cultural phenomena. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 22:13

I am going to assume you are referring to a human, not alien, society.

Human societies are extremely diverse. One glaring example is the urban-rural divide. This divide alters the opportunities for social interaction. Isolated sparsely populated rural communities have very few institutions that allow for social interaction, beyond religious centers and the local store. The economics does not support large social venues. Thus, people in isolated rural communities would live the lifestyle of your introvert society.

On the other hand, densely populated cities force people to closely interact and to come together in large groups. Consider just the educational system - single-room schools vs hundreds, if not thousands, of students.

There are also clear distinctions between people living in densely populated apartment buildings vs suburbia. Research indicates that suburban neighbors are much more interactive with each other than are inhabitants of high rises. High rise living tends to produce introverted behavioral interactions (compare how people interact in elevators vs how they interact over the back-yard fence). There are anecdotes about people meeting in bars who have lived in the same building for years, but never interacted.

There are cultural differences, as well. Japan, for instance, puts a high premium on privacy, in spite of a densely packed population. Japanese culture has developed the ability to be alone in a crowded room. Boundaries become very important, and violating these boundaries is heavily socially sanctioned. One can be in a very crowded train, and still be alone. Isolation pods at airports are common in Japan, and catching on elsewhere. See Italy's ultra-cheap airport 'capsule hotel' lets you sleep in a pod while you wait for your plane for an example.

So how many of the differences between introverts and extroverts are the result of a genetic vs an environmental/cultural determination? How much of human behavior and attitude is driven because the people are living in cities, vs how much influence does living in a city have on human behavior?

However, high-functioning autism IS a genetic characteristic. There are notable differences in how autistic people respond in social situations. They, in point of fact, do require periods of quiet time. It is not so much a distinction on a generalized introvert-extrovert trait, but on a very specific wiring of the brain related to the perception of social situations and social cues. Thus, the answer is not conjectural, but observable.

If the ratio of autistics to neurotypicals was reversed, and autistics became the norm, there would be radical social changes on society. Perhaps this is more specific to your question, so I posit your answer can be found by regarding the preferred environment of the high functioning autistic. It would be synonymous with your introvert-extrovert division, but would be neurologically supported.

So, perhaps looking at a well-defined and studied group - those with Asperger's - would be a good starting point to answer your question based on sound medical and psychological science.

I would suggest that entertainment venues would be the most radically effected, as they tend to be voluntary activities. That is, there is no compelling reason to attend entertainment institutions. We have already seen the demise of the movie theater, as private and personal media has become common. People are curling up in front of large screen televisions with surround sound, leaving movie theaters to a particular dwindling segment of the population. Virtual reality is, by definition, isolationist in nature. The participant is locking out the real world. Autistics prefer such personal entertainment venues, rather than more public venues. Public venues that provide strong privacy boundaries, such as seating in a public environment where the seats are distinctly separated, might survive. It is also my experience that huge sports venues would be poorly attended. The crowding on entering and exiting would be the main impediment, as are the line-ups for food. If the seats were individual, with arm rests, as opposed to bench seating, perhaps. But even these types of seats produce discomfort in autistics.

On-line shopping is another trend that would become common. This societal change, especially over the busy Christmas season, is well suited for the autistic. I suggest that there would be few bricks-and-mortar stores in your community. Modern technology would enhance the formation of such a community. In fact, one could posit that our modern technological society is tending to such a non-social environment.

But social interactions would not cease entirely. They would change in nature, but they would still exist. Interactions would be far more personal, and based on specific tasks, less based on the necessities for social niceties and talking just for the sake of talking. Saying 'hello' would be done as a means to announce your presence, rather than any social convenience or requirement. The traditional initial 'How are you?' greeting would simply vanish, as being purely superfluous speech, as opposed to task-specific communications.

Facebook and twitter would become less social media, and more information dispersal media.


In researching a biological basis for introversion, I came across the following article. Will the Real Introverts Please Stand Up?.

It posits, towards the end, in the section titled

The Engine Behind Extraversion-Introversion

that variations in dopamine response may be a biological determinant of introversion.

This probably explains why a lot of introverts notice that they often need to be alone to recharge their batteries after vigorous social interactions, whereas extraverts appear to gain energy from social interactions. This can be explained by dopamine's function in energizing potentially rewarding social interactions, as well as its role in overcoming the cost of effort. For introvert's, such interactions are more effortful and tiring due to their less active reward system [5].

However, the article also emphasizes that actually identifying what constitutes introversion is extremely controversial, with a wide variety of interpretations. There are 'check lists' galore that are applied, some completely contradictory. So I posit that unless and until the determination of what is called 'introversion' has some biological basis, such as autism or dopamine response, instead of a vague 'personality' or 'behavioral' basis, trying to define an introverted society will be like nailing jelly to a tree.


If the ratio of socially awkward to average 'introverts' remained unchanged from our world, then there would be little expected deviation from ours.

Introversion-extroversion is a scale, not this or that. Introversion (along with other factors) produces the need to have time away from people. Extroversion (along with other factors) produces the need to spend time with people.

A number of factors can temporarily change one's placement on the scale, such as depression producing introverted needs, and a surge of confidence raising extroverted needs.

Some people entirely 'flip the scale' in the course of a few months. An example of this happening is the common high school/college transformation.

A popular HS student buckles down on his studies in college. His social need may drop after a short/long transition period of anxiety about "never having time to do anything anymore."

A quiet girl re-invents herself over the summer, after vowing to herself to "stop being a wallflower." Her social need may rise after a short/long transition period of anxiety, feeling overwhelmed by the sudden surge of social interactions.

What does this mean for your world?

Well, if we are to presume that it is a true flip, everyone's true intro-extra placement being reversed, then most people would still have both qualities. This means all intro and extro activities appealing to IRL population would still be appealing in yours.

There would likely be less social clubs and amusement parks, off the top of my head, but those that exist would be every bit as profitable as they are in ours. Intro-leaners enjoy these activities, but desire them less frequently than extro-leaners, and extros would still be present.

I also suspect your world would favor 'Netflix and chill' (but not Netflix, for legal reasons) over nights out as the 'norm' - more quickly than is happening in our world. (Most people of any scale placement pursue romantic partners/intercourse.) This might actually lead to the hook up culture happening more quickly and intensely, contrary to what ill-informed people believe about introversion. But I digress.

In summary, I would suggest researching the scale a bit more. Wikipedia would be a good place to start. When you are then (and only then) ready to worldbuild, focus on what changes would be produced by a Lower drive for social encounters, not a fundamental change to who people are. Intro-extro scale does not affect which activities someone would or would not enjoy, only how frequently such activities would be desired.

  • $\begingroup$ Please note, Justin Time has absolutely NO connection to me, Justin Thyme, In NO WAY does this answer reflect any of my thought. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 1:57

A city dominated by introverts would be based on a society/culture that favored service over social offerings.

A benefit of living within a civilization is that many services can be provided. You don't have to forage your own food, find your own fuel. Technology is provided to you which you didn't have to build or invent yourself, etc.

I believe that many introverts live within society for these reasons, they simply want society to provide them with services and technology, not social interactions, for the most part at least.

A society of introverts would be all business, blunt, and everyday life would be straight to the point.


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