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Old 01-17-2012, 02:35 PM
 
Location: The Other California
4,255 posts, read 4,800,760 times
Reputation: 1527

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DON'T

... drive 15 mph over the speed limit just because there aren't any cars around. In small towns where crime rates are low, lawmen have more time on their hands and don't mind issuing speeding tickets all day. Barney lives.

... be frightened by the "BACK OFF, CITY BOY" decals on the rear windows of pickup trucks. (Unless, of course, you are a chronic tailgater who can't read.)

... assume your new home is Mayberry, USA. Just because everyone knows everyone else doesn't mean everyone likes everyone else: be very careful when name-dropping.

... let your new neighbors suck you into a local clique too fast. Keep your distance from feuds you know nothing about.

... expect your neighbors to roll out the red carpet for you. You are the foreigner, the stranger, the uninvited guest. Be humble and grateful, and a few of your neighbors might just take a liking to you.

... expect to make friends quickly. Unlike city people who tend to be rootless and highly mobile (and thereby more open to new acquaintances), your small-town neighbors have plenty of friends already - friends they've known from childhood.

... get involved in local politics until you've lived there for at least ten years.

... expect much in the way of privacy. A house in a suburban cul-de-sac is more private than a farmhouse on a few acres outside of town.

... obsess over your "place" in the town. It’s out of your hands. Whatever it is will be made known to you in due time.

... worry too much about those strange folks whose yards are full of barking dogs, junk cars, and broken-down farm equipment. Not everyone is cut out to be a Martha Stewart clone. Chances are they're good but eccentric neighbors whom you just might need someday.


DO

... patronize local businesses. One easy way to become "accepted" in town is to become a good customer.

… worship at a church in town if possible. Small-town community life often revolves around church.

... share your surplus with your neighbors. Fresh eggs, produce from your garden, canned fruit and homemade pies break down barriers.

... wave at strangers, especially when driving down the road you live on. A polite assumption of familiarity often results in actual familiarity. Better to wave at a stranger than to ignore a neighbor.

... be interested in your neighbors. Not nosy, but genuinely interested. Introduce yourself, ask questions, listen, and learn. People like people who are interested in them.

... realize that social class is important in a small town. If you are an educated person who listens to classical music and reads high-falutin' magazines, the working class people can smell it on you before you so much as open your mouth. There are exceptions, but most won't get too close. You make them nervous, even when you're bending over backwards to be friendly.

... realize that there is nothing wrong with social class. You can love your neighbors and be plenty neighborly without sharing their beans and barbeque.

... keep your "emotional distance" for a few years. Small towns are hard to know, and a difficult small town can really sting you.

... stick around for the reward. Once you've graduated from small-town bootcamp (and it can be brutal), you'll have something that few people these days now enjoy: a real home.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,046 posts, read 21,865,623 times
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I really enjoyed that.
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Morris, MN
133 posts, read 553,456 times
Reputation: 120
Good work on the do's and don't's. Very true.

I really think you need to drive home the "don't expect the neighbors to roll out the red carpet for you." I've moved several times in my life. My longest stay was 9 years in one place due to occupational advancement.

You are the stranger in a small town. As you mentioned, most have already made connections and truly have little time or need to expand their networks. Your job is to be the one to invite. You have to take the initiative. The previous community, the one I lived in for 9 years, was a tough one. We would constantly invite families over for barbeques, etc. No replies. My kids were not school aged at the time, but my wife would have enjoyed meeting others. Sadly, no interest.

We moved to our new community a year and a half ago. This community is more receptive, and now that my oldest is in school, we seem to be making connections easier. This community has more children the same ages as ours in the neighborhood. That has helped tremendously.

My advice is similar to your list. Go to church. Participate in (not lead) civic events. As a side note, in my previous residence, I started a petition for broadband since we had no Internet access. Doing the petition helped me meet lots of people. However, when I decided to run for a county office, I did not do well-- lost by a huge margin. Leadership, as you mentioned, comes in time. You may be in a leadership role with your occupation, but that is far different from community leadership. Let people get to know you. Let them approach you for leadership roles; however, this doesn't mean you should sit around and do nothing. Get involved with an organization as a member. Build trust first; get to know their history.
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:00 AM
 
Location: In bed with Madonna
475 posts, read 408,163 times
Reputation: 408
Quote:
Originally Posted by WesternPilgrim View Post
[b]

… worship at a church in town if possible. Small-town community life often revolves around church.

This is the reason i will never move to any small-town. If you dont go to church you will be left alone and they wont talk to you. Its a completely different world than the city. At least in the city people dont care if you go to church or not.
It seems that all the small-towns revolve around church. I'll pass, thank you.
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:22 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,589,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marce30 View Post
This is the reason i will never move to any small-town. If you dont go to church you will be left alone and they wont talk to you. Its a completely different world than the city. At least in the city people dont care if you go to church or not.
It seems that all the small-towns revolve around church. I'll pass, thank you.
Oh please, not one small town I have lived in gave two turds what church a person attended. Have you EVER actually lived in a small town, or do you just regurgitate the same tired old stereotypes all the time?
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Morris, MN
133 posts, read 553,456 times
Reputation: 120
I could care less if people believe in something or not. I can respect that. However, in most small towns in which I've lived, the church plays a strong role in organizing community events. My extended family is a collection of catholics, methodists, jews, and hindus. I think it's great. Please respect the fact that I think, if you do believe in something, that going to church, temple, mosque, etc. in your new hometown will help you make connections faster.

If church is not your thing, get involved with the Lion's Club or volunteer at the school or hospital (if you are fortunate to have one.) The point is to get out there, meet, and network with likeminded people.

I guess if you can't find any likeminded people, I feel sorry for you. You haven't tried hard enough.

I've heard this argument before: "I'd be so bored in a small town; there is nothing to do?" Stop and think about all the things to do in the city-- craft fairs, art in the park, pancake fundraiser for MDA at the firehouse. All these events happen because of plugged-in people in your community, whether through a church or organization. In a small town, there are less people, right? So, in order to make fun things like this happen in your community, you need to get involved. If you're bored in a small town it is because you are boring.

Yes, I live in a small town and proud of it!

Last edited by disneyrecords; 01-20-2012 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:58 PM
 
5,455 posts, read 6,720,363 times
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congrats, the do and don't list was great and so true. liked the touch with waving.

i grew up in a small town and left for work as most folks do. I miss home and one day would like to retire if not in my home town a similar or nearby one.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:11 PM
 
5,876 posts, read 5,358,268 times
Reputation: 17999
Well, though, Mace made a somewhat valid point untintentionally.

The two main community builders in very small towns are the schools and the churches (or, the only church in town.) Many very small towns don't have organizations such as Masons, Kiwanis, etc.

Someone without religious beliefs who doesn't attend any church or have kids in school really could be excluded from the majority of small-town community life. Especially if the wider community is very religious, which often is the case.

Fortunately, though, there are other means of feeling comfortable in a small town. These include developing friendly relationships with the neighbors, getting to know the man or woman who runs the post office, buying groceries and hardware at the local grocery/hardware store (if there is one), stopping to talk with people in their yards while walking the dog, being friendly to the kids who ride their bikes/4-wheelers/snowmobiles by your house, serving as an election judge, and volunteering with community special events.

Actually, between work and my own life stuff and doing the above, I'm busy enough that the friendliness or lack thereof of a small town just has never been an issue for me - and I'm not a church goer.

But I can see that people who need more social interaction but who aren't religious and don't attend church would be unhappy in many small towns.
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:51 PM
 
Location: In bed with Madonna
475 posts, read 408,163 times
Reputation: 408
Im not religious and im vegan, do you think i would survive in a small town ? the answer is no. I hate all type of animal cruelty and a lot of people in small towns love to hunt (which i think its a horrible thing to do), they eat whatever, dont really care about being healthy. Just imagine if i go to a restaurant to have dinner, what would i order from the menu ? i'd have to survive eating salad for the rest of my life. In the city you have thousands of options, you cant even compare.
My neighbor (23 years old) told me that she moved here (Los Angeles) because West Virginia was too conservative and she hated the fact that if you dont go to church every sunday they would gossip about you the whole week.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,410 posts, read 26,677,983 times
Reputation: 16511
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marce30 View Post
Im not religious and im vegan, do you think i would survive in a small town ? the answer is no. I hate all type of animal cruelty and a lot of people in small towns love to hunt (which i think its a horrible thing to do), they eat whatever, dont really care about being healthy. Just imagine if i go to a restaurant to have dinner, what would i order from the menu ? i'd have to survive eating salad for the rest of my life. In the city you have thousands of options, you cant even compare.
My neighbor (23 years old) told me that she moved here (Los Angeles) because West Virginia was too conservative and she hated the fact that if you dont go to church every sunday they would gossip about you the whole week.

Yeah, I guess in a big city there's a better chance that an arrogant elitist who is bothered by what other people eat could find friends. More people, but in the end, most people are probably going to be bothered with you actually caring about what they eat. Animal cruelty, you seriously have to be kidding me hahaha. What is it if a bear attacks a human?
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