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Living in a small town?

I joined a Facebook group which focused on the new town my husband and I will be moving to. I mentioned that we were moving to save my husband his commute. A random woman saw that and it turned out that she is the receptionist at my husband's job. She told my husband about speaking to me; she knew we were married because our surname is not very common. My husband was understandably startled to hear the receptionist say that she was talking to his wife on Facebook. My husband is a private person; he asked me to please delete my post and leave the group to protect our privacy. I did so out of respect for my husband. He reminded me that we will be moving to a town of 25,000 residents, instead of being in a city of 3 million like we are used to. My husband says that everyone knows each other in that town. Since I have never lived in a city with a population of less than 300,000, a town of 25,000 seems very small to me. I realize this is all relative. 

Because everyone knows each other, I am realizing that I will have to guard my reputation. I will stick out like a sore thumb because I am a black woman and the vast majority of people in that town are white. It won't help that we are an interracial couple either. We have gotten stares and outright harassment in this very multicultural city, so I am a little bit nervous about how tolerant the people in the small town will be. I used to having my anonymity because I have lived in this city for ten years. 

If you live in a small town, do you enjoy it? Do you find that news travels quickly as soon as you share anything with anyone? 
«1

Re: Living in a small town?

  • I live in a town of about half that....around 12k.  I certainly do not know everyone.  I think it's fair to say I probably only know a handful of people in my neighborhood.  We have no kids though, so we perhaps we miss out on knowing many people through kids/school/etc.  If anything happens in town, I hear about it on social media through a community page.

    That said, I love smaller towns.  I am not a big city girl though.  I like space. I like living on a street with no street lights, no sidewalks, no traffic.  I like quiet.   If you are used to city life, that could be a huge adjustment!

    I'm sorry that you feel you will stick out like a sore thumb and that you've been harassed.  I feel like most people in my community are accepting, but sadly I know that's not the case everywhere. 
  • The harassment was so unexpected and scary. I couldn't believe how hostile people were in that neighborhood. I'm glad we left because we've never had any issues where we live now. 

    I am a city girl but I am coming around to the joys of country life. We love going out to the country when we take weekend trips. I plan on taking up horseback riding as a new hobby. It will be an adjustment but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make, so that we can own property and my husband can have a shorter commute. 
  • I live in a small town of about the size where you are going.
    People do know many of the other residents (not all of them), and in general form closer relationships than in a large city where you can become invisible to others.
    On the plus side, people tend to help others and share the burdens as well as celebrate the highlights in others' lives.
    Our community is primarily white, but all other races are represented and there is no racial strife.  If you are friendly, and find a way to participate in some form of community support - you will be fine.
    We have a regional hospital and a state university which bring people from around the world to live and work here.
    Your attitude will be the most important thing you bring with you.
    For the most part -we do not care about what you drive, what  you wear or where you work. We do care about who you are as a person.(so don't gossip, do be kind, generous, and reach out)
    My recommendation in general is to keep your personal business off the internet - no matter where you live.

  •  small town in a rural area vs a small town that is basically a suburb of a large city are two very different situations.
  • I grew up in a "sort of" small town...30K people...but it was in So Cal., so the general feel is urban because it is town after town after town.

    I definitely never knew the majority of the people who lived there, but it was small enough that I would constantly run into people I knew both within the town itself and in surrounding towns.

    Heck, I haven't even lived there in 15 years, but when I go home to visit my mom, I'll still run into people I went to high school with.

  • Sisugal said:
    I live in a small town of about the size where you are going.
    People do know many of the other residents (not all of them), and in general form closer relationships than in a large city where you can become invisible to others.
    On the plus side, people tend to help others and share the burdens as well as celebrate the highlights in others' lives.
    Our community is primarily white, but all other races are represented and there is no racial strife.  If you are friendly, and find a way to participate in some form of community support - you will be fine.
    We have a regional hospital and a state university which bring people from around the world to live and work here.
    Your attitude will be the most important thing you bring with you.
    For the most part -we do not care about what you drive, what  you wear or where you work. We do care about who you are as a person.(so don't gossip, do be kind, generous, and reach out)
    My recommendation in general is to keep your personal business off the internet - no matter where you live.

    Being friendly and kind did not stop people from being horrible to us in the last place we lived. I had to endure a woman screaming "Hit the road nigger!!" every time she saw me sitting in the courtyard in our apartment complex. I had someone accuse me of being a thief because I accidentally pulled out my husband's credit card to pay for something; "I know you stole that card! It isn't your husband's! You people love to steal!!" I tried to explain that it was just a mistake, but the store clerk still went off on me. I never did anything to either one of those people, but they saw my race and decided that I must have been be bad news. 

    I notice that most whites are naive when it comes to race relations due to their white privilege. Being respectful, friendly, kind etc as a black person isn't always enough because of other people's prejudices. I wish I had a dollar for every time a white person said "You don't sound black!" or "You don't act black!" It is very easy to say there is no racial strife when it wouldn't affect you as a racial majority. 

    As for keeping my personal business off the internet, I take responsibility for my mistake and I agree with you. 
    Kahlyla
  • Sisugal said:
     small town in a rural area vs a small town that is basically a suburb of a large city are two very different situations.
    Obviously. We are moving to a small town in a rural area. 
  • NoneForUs said:
    Sisugal said:
    I live in a small town of about the size where you are going.
    People do know many of the other residents (not all of them), and in general form closer relationships than in a large city where you can become invisible to others.
    On the plus side, people tend to help others and share the burdens as well as celebrate the highlights in others' lives.
    Our community is primarily white, but all other races are represented and there is no racial strife.  If you are friendly, and find a way to participate in some form of community support - you will be fine.
    We have a regional hospital and a state university which bring people from around the world to live and work here.
    Your attitude will be the most important thing you bring with you.
    For the most part -we do not care about what you drive, what  you wear or where you work. We do care about who you are as a person.(so don't gossip, do be kind, generous, and reach out)
    My recommendation in general is to keep your personal business off the internet - no matter where you live.

    Being friendly and kind did not stop people from being horrible to us in the last place we lived. I had to endure a woman screaming "Hit the road nigger!!" every time she saw me sitting in the courtyard in our apartment complex. I had someone accuse me of being a thief because I accidentally pulled out my husband's credit card to pay for something; "I know you stole that card! It isn't your husband's! You people love to steal!!" I tried to explain that it was just a mistake, but the store clerk still went off on me. I never did anything to either one of those people, but they saw my race and decided that I must have been be bad news. 

    I notice that most whites are naive when it comes to race relations due to their white privilege. Being respectful, friendly, kind etc as a black person isn't always enough because of other people's prejudices. I wish I had a dollar for every time a white person said "You don't sound black!" or "You don't act black!" It is very easy to say there is no racial strife when it wouldn't affect you as a racial majority. 

    As for keeping my personal business off the internet, I take responsibility for my mistake and I agree with you. 

    Wow, I'm so sorry to hear this!  I'm white and have been living in the Deep South for the last 15 years.  While we certainly have racial issues here (on both sides), and there are certainly strong under currents of it, it is rare I see that kind of blatant racism.  At least in public, to a stranger.

    I do see a lot of what you are talking about with the "you don't sound black"/"you don't act black", which in a way is almost more disturbing to me than the "screaming the n-word" kind of racist, because it really outlines the more subtle pervasiveness of racism in our culture.

    I had a former co-worker who, on the surface, is attractive and charming, somewhat intelligent, and well educated.  But she will proudly tell you she is racist...and then try to justify it a bit with, "Well, I don't mind black people who don't ACT black."  UGH (banging my head against the wall), what does that even mean?  But she is at least outwardly polite to people, regardless of race. 

    And that is a funny thing about being white sometimes.  Like my coworker example, I'll be "included" in these conversations about "oh, those black people" or "oh, those Muslims", as if just because I'm not a member of one of those groups I'll be cool with and nodding along with whatever stereotype they are spouting.  Though it is a bit fun to see the surprise when I correct their assumptions.  Unfortunately, most of the time...like at a work setting...I have to be polite about it instead of ragey.

    But I'll get off my soapbox now.  I hope everything works out well for you @NoneForUs in your new town and your DH likes his new job.  Keep us updated.    

    BlueBirdMBNoneForUs
  • BlueBirdMBBlueBirdMB
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited February 2015
    That sounds really horrible, OP.  I'm going to say this: in a city, there are all types.  Like seriously, all types of crazies as well.  Obviously this is the case in all areas, but I don't think you'll find more of it in a small town simply because everyone knows one another and it's predominantly white.  

    I grew up in a rural area and never heard a racial slur or a racially categorizing (no "you don't sound black" either.  WTF is with that?!) comment until I moved to the city.  In this rural area, minorities are about the same percentage as the national percentage, so obviously minorities are truly minorities there, but that's my experience- never heard a comment.  I'm Jewish and a lot of people know it (basically the only Jewish family I know here) and I never heard an anti-semitic comment until I moved to the city either.

    We are also an inter racial couple.  My husband is from NYC where he experienced a little bigotry, nothing crazy like your story though.  Now that we've both moved back to my hometown, we haven't experienced any issues at all.  Just because it's a white community, doesn't mean it's a bigoted community.  I think it will slightly depend on your area and the general history of the area, and obviously, there will be some bad people everywhere, but living in a small town won't be worse than anywhere else.
  • No need to apologize for the behavior of idiotic bigots. I know you ladies aren't racist fools who torment other races. After months of that ridiculous woman screaming nonsense at me, I finally called the police on her. I will not tolerate being disrespected because of my race. 

    "Acting black" is just a stupid social construct based on stereotypes and institutional racism. Too many whites and blacks think that an erudite and educated black person is not being true to their race. 

    I never expected such hostility in the huge city I live in, so it's true that racism isn't exclusive to rural areas. 

    I normally find it very easy to make friends, so when I move I will bring some of that friendliness with me. This move is scary for me because it will be such an adjustment to leave the city after a decade here.
    BlueBirdMB
  • NoneForUs said:
    No need to apologize for the behavior of idiotic bigots. I know you ladies aren't racist fools who torment other races. After months of that ridiculous woman screaming nonsense at me, I finally called the police on her. I will not tolerate being disrespected because of my race. 

    "Acting black" is just a stupid social construct based on stereotypes and institutional racism. Too many whites and blacks think that an erudite and educated black person is not being true to their race. 

    I never expected such hostility in the huge city I live in, so it's true that racism isn't exclusive to rural areas. 

    I normally find it very easy to make friends, so when I move I will bring some of that friendliness with me. This move is scary for me because it will be such an adjustment to leave the city after a decade here.
    I would have called the police on that woman the very first time.  Every incident should be reported.

    I totally agree with you about the stupid social construct.  

    You have a good attitude and will adjust well. All moves are scary.
  • I didn't find moving within the city I live in scary at all. This move is particularly nerve wracking because of the complete lifestyle change. 

    I tried to ignore that woman but eventually I had enough. 

    I've learned that the vast majority of things I worry about never happen, so it is quite possible that I may end up loving the town we are moving to. 
  • I live in a very small rural town, less than 6k. I stand out the minute I speak because I have an English accent. The town is primarily white, Appalachian people with maybe 30% of community being not born there. I am a city girl and when we relocated from FL this was our compromise because DH wanted to live up the mountain. I love it, everyone has been so welcoming and my little middle of nowhere neighborhood has become like family.
  • As PPs stated, there are awful people everywhere regardless of city size. Having lived in a number of different cities and states the few things I've discovered are:

    1. People like genuine people. Yes, you'll always have your racists and your grouches, but for the most part, people are friendly and just really caught up in their own lives just as much as each of us is caught up in her own life. Smiles, waves, and nods of "hello" go a long way in smaller towns.

    2. Be yourself, but also work to fit in. What I mean is, figure out the little "dos" and "don'ts" of your community and neighborhood. For example, if it's poor form to leave your garbage cans out all week at the front of your home, then don't do it. Just notice what the neighbors do and go with the flow on it. Things like yard maintenance and upkeep. Cleaning up after your pet (if you have one). Neighbors notice these things and they appreciate them.

    3. The other thing to note is that families in small towns may go back a few generations. You may think you're speaking to the local shop owner, but he may be the cousin of the man living two doors down from you. Don't hide, but just recognize that people do know one another. Just as you chat with your family and friends, so do they. This can be a good or a bad thing. I always saw it as a good thing - networking, knowing more people and how people are interrelated means being more connected.

    4. Set appropriate expectations for dining and going out. If you are accustomed to being around major night life and shopping spots with high-end dining and bars, and you go into a small town expecting it, you will be disappointed and you will offend other people. Small towns are proud of their slower, quaint, quiet ways of life. They have very warm and loving people, but be ready for a more of a "meat and potatoes" type of crowd in terms of food and dress. It isn't that they have less money than city people, necessarily, it's that they often spend their money in different ways (many times in less obvious ways) than the metropolitan people.

    5. Be ready to learn about and embrace your new place. What are the local activities? Festivals? Important events?

    I'm curious where you are moving to and from.

    englishtrish1NoneForUs
  • As PPs stated, there are awful people everywhere regardless of city size. Having lived in a number of different cities and states the few things I've discovered are:

    1. People like genuine people. Yes, you'll always have your racists and your grouches, but for the most part, people are friendly and just really caught up in their own lives just as much as each of us is caught up in her own life. Smiles, waves, and nods of "hello" go a long way in smaller towns.

    2. Be yourself, but also work to fit in. What I mean is, figure out the little "dos" and "don'ts" of your community and neighborhood. For example, if it's poor form to leave your garbage cans out all week at the front of your home, then don't do it. Just notice what the neighbors do and go with the flow on it. Things like yard maintenance and upkeep. Cleaning up after your pet (if you have one). Neighbors notice these things and they appreciate them.

    3. The other thing to note is that families in small towns may go back a few generations. You may think you're speaking to the local shop owner, but he may be the cousin of the man living two doors down from you. Don't hide, but just recognize that people do know one another. Just as you chat with your family and friends, so do they. This can be a good or a bad thing. I always saw it as a good thing - networking, knowing more people and how people are interrelated means being more connected.

    4. Set appropriate expectations for dining and going out. If you are accustomed to being around major night life and shopping spots with high-end dining and bars, and you go into a small town expecting it, you will be disappointed and you will offend other people. Small towns are proud of their slower, quaint, quiet ways of life. They have very warm and loving people, but be ready for a more of a "meat and potatoes" type of crowd in terms of food and dress. It isn't that they have less money than city people, necessarily, it's that they often spend their money in different ways (many times in less obvious ways) than the metropolitan people.

    5. Be ready to learn about and embrace your new place. What are the local activities? Festivals? Important events?

    I'm curious where you are moving to and from.

    All of the above is great advice, but I especially wanted to point out the bolded sections.  15 years ago, I moved from the West Coast to the South.  And, although they are both urban environments, they are VERY different cultures.

    1) In CA, it is a little unusual to smile/nod/wave to people, even neighbors...definitely odd if it is a stranger on the street.  However, in New Orleans, it is just the opposite.  And I know I've probably offended people on that score, though not meaning to.  It just isn't naturally in my nature to do those things.

    In fact, I had a former neighbor who used to make a big show of saying hello to me loooonnggg and loudly if I was heading out my door to go to my car and didn't wave at him first.  To be clear, we really liked each other and got along great.  He didn't really do it in a mean way, but I think it was his way to let me know he was slightly offended.  I even mentioned it once and said something like, "Oh, I know I'm terrible about saying hi and waving!  It's just not something we did where I grew up and I'm usually so "one track mind" about wherever I'm going when I go to my car."  And I did make an effort to better conform to this piece of cultural normalcy.  I'm MUCH better about it then I used to be and he helped "train" me, lol. 

    2)  Like anything else, there are some differences I like better here and some differences I like better in CA.  I have always really watched myself to be really light and brief if I am making a negative comparison between NOLA and CA.  And those kind of conversations will usually include positives/negatives of each.  But I make sure I don't sound like, "In CALIFORNIA, we do x,y,z.....WELL, we don't do it that way in CA.  WE find its better to do a,b,c."

    I know if I moved to a rural area never having lived in one, I would have to be doubly cognizant of that. 

    NoneForUs
  • I would rather not give an identifying details online. After what just happened on Facebook, I am trying to be a much more careful about what I share on the internet. It has nothing to do with you and I hope you understand. All I'm going to repeat is that I am leaving a city of 3 million to go to a town of 25,000. I have so many conflicting feelings about this move. It is best for my husband and I as a couple but I'm also scared and a somewhat sad to leave my city. 

    I hate change; I am a creature of habit. I know change is a constant in life but I still don't like it. 

    I love all of your points and thanks for the good advice. I am accustomed to being around small town people because of my husband's family. They often comment that I am a "real city girl" because of the way I dress. I don't set out to make them feel uncomfortable around me; I dress the same way I do at home. 

    If I want big city dining and shopping spots, I will simply get on the commuter train and go back to my city or my husband and I will have a date night. I once watched a clip of Bethenny Ever After and her ex husband was from a small town. Bethenny made so many rude remarks about the town and the locals that I wanted to smack her. She was such a snob! I completely agree that city dwellers need to manage their expectations when they come to a small town. 

    I am often told that I am a friendly and outgoing lady so I think I should be fine in that respect. Everywhere I go, people talk to me and tell me their problems. I'm told that I have a kind face. It does make me uncomfortable that generations live in small towns because I feel like I always have to guard what I say and how I say it. This feeling is even more pronounced because I am going to an area where there aren't a lot of blacks and I'm sure people will have preconceived notions when they see me. It helps that I do not fit the awful stereotypes of blacks. 
  • If you can hop a commuter train to get to the big city for a date night - you are not going too far out into rural country.  It is not like you are hundreds of miles from a city of 100,000, much less millions.
  • Sisugal said:

    If you can hop a commuter train to get to the big city for a date night - you are not going too far out into rural country.  It is not like you are hundreds of miles from a city of 100,000, much less millions.

    There are many commuter train routes near or in rural areas where I live. 


  • NoneForUs said:

    I would rather not give an identifying details online. After what just happened on Facebook, I am trying to be a much more careful about what I share on the internet. It has nothing to do with you and I hope you understand. All I'm going to repeat is that I am leaving a city of 3 million to go to a town of 25,000. I have so many conflicting feelings about this move. It is best for my husband and I as a couple but I'm also scared and a somewhat sad to leave my city. 


    I hate change; I am a creature of habit. I know change is a constant in life but I still don't like it. 

    I love all of your points and thanks for the good advice. I am accustomed to being around small town people because of my husband's family. They often comment that I am a "real city girl" because of the way I dress. I don't set out to make them feel uncomfortable around me; I dress the same way I do at home. 

    If I want big city dining and shopping spots, I will simply get on the commuter train and go back to my city or my husband and I will have a date night. I once watched a clip of Bethenny Ever After and her ex husband was from a small town. Bethenny made so many rude remarks about the town and the locals that I wanted to smack her. She was such a snob! I completely agree that city dwellers need to manage their expectations when they come to a small town. 

    I am often told that I am a friendly and outgoing lady so I think I should be fine in that respect. Everywhere I go, people talk to me and tell me their problems. I'm told that I have a kind face. It does make me uncomfortable that generations live in small towns because I feel like I always have to guard what I say and how I say it. This feeling is even more pronounced because I am going to an area where there aren't a lot of blacks and I'm sure people will have preconceived notions when they see me. It helps that I do not fit the awful stereotypes of blacks. 
    You're going to be just fine.  

    I couldn't agree more than small gestures like a nod or smile go a long way in a small town.  My neighbors and I are all like family.  That's how it was when I grew up and that's how it is in my current neighborhood.  We all chit chat when we're outside and do each other any favor.  We always wave when we drive by.  We each grow a fruit, vegetable, or raise chickens for eggs, or bees for honey, and we all share.  It's part of what makes small towns great.

    I love fashion.  I totally stick out like a sore thumb here in the country because of the way I dress.  I love it.  I started dressing like this when I lived in the city, and I continued in the country.  People look and comment and I always take it as a compliment.  I don't look anything like people around here.   I may be "white" but I'm very dark skinned and dark featured compared to others in my area.  Sticking out can be a good thing.  It gives me attention.  If it's not positive then I ignore it, and if it is then I soak it in.  You might not feel the same way, which I totally understand, this is just how I feel.

    It's awesome you can take the commuter rail into the city!  I wish it was that convenient for us, but we can drive a little over an hour and be in a city.  I get antsy to go every now to go!

    I think you may eventually let your guard down a little.  You'll find small communities where you feel totally comfortable.  Maybe your neighborhood, work, gym, or some volunteer place, etc.  
  • My point being, if you can access the benefits of the big city, you will not have a rural culture that is all "that different" from what you currently have.
    IF you were moving to a small rural town in a different part of the country where you have to travel many hours to even get to a moderately large city, much less on in the millions (yet more time travel) - you would be dealing with a much larger shift in culture and lifestyle.
    englishtrish1
  • @BlueBirdMB The commuter train takes an hour to get to the city and driving takes an hour on a good day. I know I'm going to need to be in the mood to make that trip, especially if I take the city transit which would add more time. 

    I think it's great that you are so close to your neighbours. I would love to have that kind of relationship with my neighbours. 

    Attention from strangers or large crowds creeps me out. It is one the reasons we eloped. I do love attention from my hubby though. ;)
    BlueBirdMB
  • My husband I have noticed that houses are cheaper in a small city further north. It is about 30 mins away from my husband's job, has far better transit and it is big enough that not everyone knows each other. I prefer a population of 148,000 to 28,000. Best of all, I know that city pretty well because I used to visit it all the time. We're looking there instead now.  :P
  • NoneForUs said:

    My husband I have noticed that houses are cheaper in a small city further north. It is about 30 mins away from my husband's job, has far better transit and it is big enough that not everyone knows each other. I prefer a population of 148,000 to 28,000. Best of all, I know that city pretty well because I used to visit it all the time. We're looking there instead now.  :P

    That sounds like a great idea!  It sounds like an environment you all would be much more comfortable in.
    NoneForUs
  • NoneForUs said:

    My husband I have noticed that houses are cheaper in a small city further north. It is about 30 mins away from my husband's job, has far better transit and it is big enough that not everyone knows each other. I prefer a population of 148,000 to 28,000. Best of all, I know that city pretty well because I used to visit it all the time. We're looking there instead now.  :P

    That sounds like a great idea!  It sounds like an environment you all would be much more comfortable in.
    Thanks! I'm not as nervous about moving there at all. It's a gorgeous city on a bay. 
  • I grew up in a town with roughly 500 people. It definitely has pros and cons with it. Yes, you certainly have to watch what you say as word travels fast and people love to gossip. It can be hard to break into the social circle but once you're in, you're in. Small towns are like one big family, which is my favourite part of rural living.

    I now live in a "city" of ~80,000 people (which is pretty large for Canada!) and can't wait until we can buy a rural house. You have the option of going to the big city with relative ease, so you'll be fine. If you're missing home too much, you can go. If I want to go to a city with more than a million people, I have to drive for 4.5 hours.
  • Also, I would recommend rejoining the Facebook group. People are going to know who you are and talk about you either way.
    At least if you're on the group, you can chat with locals and hear about events. In the long run, it will be easier to make friends.
  • Also, I would recommend rejoining the Facebook group. People are going to know who you are and talk about you either way. At least if you're on the group, you can chat with locals and hear about events. In the long run, it will be easier to make friends.
    I am no longer moving to that town. Thanks for your response though!
  • jeanhoward97jeanhoward97
    10 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited January 2016
    I am from the very small town in Nevada. My grandfather really loves the small town with less crowd. I have spent my childhood with my family but currently, we shifted to las vegas. I am really missing my small town days. 
    NoneForUs
  • I am from the very small town in Nevada. My grandfather really loves the small town with less crowd. I have spent my childhood with my family but currently, we shifted to las vegas. I am really missing my small town days. 



    Oh hon...I can imagine how you must miss your small town days. Our area has a small town vibe because it is in a rural part of the city and we are right next to a small town. This area is not developed. 

    I went back to our old city and I felt like a tourist there. It was way too loud and crowded. 

    Is there any chance that you can move to a suburb of Las Vegas? That might help.
  • Thanks for your reply,

    Actually, I can not move to a suburb of las vegas because of my job I have to stay in vegas only. Sometimes in my free time I went there & spend some time with the rural people. 
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