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Someone Explain To Me How To Survive A Small Town

I just recently got married to a wonderful man and relocated to a small town where he grew up.  I am from a big city and have always enjoyed the diversity of the city.  I have a nice house and stability.  I have been extremely depressed here lately because of the atmosphere of this small *** town.  My husband and I were the talk of the time when I first moved here.  Seems like everyone knew so much about us without any interaction.  Apparantly, the god fearing folk were upset that we moved in together before we got married.  When I walk on the streets it is almost a ghost town and there is virturally no traffic.  Last night we went to an early dinner and no one was in the restaurant.  The bartender was on a emergeny run so I could not order a drink.  The only two stores here are two dollar stores. I took a hip-hop class and the instructor thought it was a gossip session.   I have 2 college degrees and cannot find a job even as a cashier. Customer service here is non existant and I oftten go into stores and find noone around.   I can go to the dollar store and find out all the gossip of the town in a matter of minutes.  Seems like thinking outside the box is a hard concept here.  Went to the library to use the computer and could only stay on for 30 minutes.  Even though all computers were open I was told the policy for extended time is for me to ask ahead of time and I could not get back on the computer.   Got into a tiff with the lady at the licence bureau because she was adjusting my hair for the photo ( who does that?)  All businesses shut down at 8pm.  There is no place to go for salsa or country dancing.  TEll ME what do these people do?? 

As you can hear, I am having a tough time coping with this town.  I really jumped the gun when I thought things here would be easy.  Anyone have any words of advice or encouragement.  I seemed to be angry at the lack of open mindness and if it were not for the internet, I would feel completely lost. 

Thanks for letting me vent

cindy0215 cindy0215 41-45 101 Responses Apr 10, 2010

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I totally understand. My daughter and I moved to a small town in Iowa from Los about culture shock! We moved after my parents retired back to their old hometown and I thought I'd try it out for high school for my daughter. My grandparents lived here my whole life and we visited for a week or so in the summer while I grew up, but living here is a whole different story! NOTHING and I MEAN there is nothing to do here either. Half the places are closed on Sundays, nothing is open 24 hours, except the gas station and the little store attached to it, even Denny's or Perkins aren't open 24 hours or the fast food places! Most places are closed by 5pm or 6, except the bars which are the only places people go to 'hang out'. These aren't even clubs or nice bars like you could find in a big city, these are just dives. Every female has one of 3 hair styles, no one dresses up except the little old ladies, I have yet to see anyone wear a suit for work. Most are farmers, but still, sometimes you'd think they'd dress up for a wedding or funeral, not just better jeans and cleaner work boots. The movie theater doesn't show matinees during the can't get a RX filled until after 11am on Sundays and that's if you go to Hy-Vee or Walmart, the regular little drug stores aren't even open on Sundays and they ALL close at 5pm! The weather here sucks, the kids in the school are nasty, really mean. The school system is way below par...I finally have done home school with my daughter so she'll actually learn something. You have to drive 2 hours in any direction to actually get some place for something to do or find a restaurant to eat in. NO culture, one sad 'museum', tons of bars and hotels and fast food. Everyone here is white and racists.......I'm white, but I like a variety of people and languages, these people have no ambition. There aren't any jobs, even if you have the skills....they pick people they know, unless you want to work at a factory and do hard labor. There are NO positives to this move. I'm just saving up to get out of here. We have no real friends, no one does anything here anyway. Who thought I'd be spending my vacations going back to CA, lol. Oh, and the weather is BAD! Snow for like 5 months, two good days and then HOT and HUMID w/mosqutios the rest of the time. You pay for A/C and heat, something I didn't have to do in West L.A. I'm so sad :(

I am in the same boat as all of you! I am so glad I saw this post I had been looking for some advice as well in living in a small town. I have lived in 57 places and this is the smallest town less than 700. I was downsized out of my professional job 2 yrs ago and a friend retired here and offered to let me live with her while I get back on my feet. I could only find a part-time job in a store here and it has been HELL! The people are small minded, backstabbing, gossiping and two-faced. This is in WV so they are ALL related to each other like the old saying, but it is SO true! I have tried to befriend them and show interest in them and they turn around and try and make trouble for me at work. The latest example was I left a note of a list of items we were out of in the store and that lead to my boss bring me in saying several of the staff were upset saying "Does she think we are stupid?". I mean where did that come from. It was a simple list of items we were out of, and the boss told me to leave here notes on such things. But I am the one pulled in on the carpet for making them feel stupid! I have HAD IT! I am so filled with anger all the time now and no matter what I do to try and make friends with the locals all I get is Bull Sh_t! I am blamed for their low self esteem, I mean good grief. Besides who goes to the boss saying someone makes them feel stupid? This town is a mixture of locals and artist and well educated retiree's who retired here. I get along well with the artist and the retiree's. But the locals I do not fit in and I hate it. They are so small minded and petty. I just am trying to work and find a way out of here! I know from other small towns I have lived in YOU NEVER FIT IN! Nor do I really want to fit in with folks like this, I have really tried, but I give up! I read on my breaks and I am ridiculed for that as well. God forbid someone is interested in expanding their minds. None of these folks have gone to college and have basic educations. They have a paper here of all the arrest photos of all the people arrested in WV. What amazes me is that in this town of less than 700 they all know a ton of folks in that paper. I mean I have lived in 57 places other countries and I don't know a single person in jail! But here they know tons. It is like living in the hood. The more I have thought about it the more I think I don't want to be friends with people of this caliber! I love variety and people form all walks of life and this is just crazy! I am struggling to find a way to survive long enough for me to move somewhere else. It is about 150 miles from DC and I am trying to head back to the DC area. I only pray that this new year I will find work closer and in a larger city so I can get out of this mess. I give up trying to fit in here! It is very hard on my emotions and spirit living in such a hateful place! Besides the small minds there is a HUGE problem with hard core drug usage and alcohol abuse. They buy 5th and 1/2 gals every single day. They are all poor and spend all their money on booze. These are not things I want in my life anyway.

I feel for all of you in the same boat! I guess we have to work on ourselves to feel better about who we are and know that we are not the problem these folks from small towns just have small minds and that is their problem. There is nothing wrong with us they just can't look past their own freaking noses and that is their loss! I am just going to concentrate on making myself spiritually happy and find a way to get out of this place of non-sense! LOL

I moved from a large city in the south to the mid west (Dover, Ohio) to be exact. I f***** hate it. I love my husband and moved here to be be closer to him. We were doing a commuter marriage (he travels a lot for work) and he settled on ohio for the foreseeable I came here to be with him. To be with my husband. I can take it anymore. There is no culture, no sense of community, I have to drive 2hours just participate in things that make me feel like myself. I'm wasting away. Not to mention I'm the only person of color in a 100 mile radius it seems. Which is even more isolating. I am black my husband is white...(tada!) even more isolating. I love him, but
Depressed and it's effecting our marriage. Glad to know that I'm just not going crazy. I was down playing my feelings and have been trying to grit it out. I can't any more. Even if he relocated for his job it would still be to a small town smh

I moved from a large city in the south to Dover,Ohio. I f**** hate it! Not to mention I'm the only person of color for MILES which is also very isolating. I'm so depressed. I love my husband but after 3 months I realize I can't do it. I'm just not my best self here.

I feel for you. I grew up in a small town, moved away, and then moved back after my divorce so my child could be around family. It's also in the Deep South too so everyone here is highly religious (judgemental).
I also have a job that puts me in the public eye, and I hate it. I hate living in a fishbowl. I have a great job, but I really just want to run away from here.

Look how long winded and narcissistic you are! Sorry not enough people are around to hear you all talk about yourselves... LOL maybe you all can"think outside the box.. Besides shopping to entertain yourselves.. Hobbies?

Add a response...

I know how you feel. My husband and I hit a rocky patch last December. After a year of working things through he decided that he wanted to go back to his hometown where his mother is. I couldn't understand why but he said he just had to go home and still no explanation. He even went as far as to tell me I could go with him if I wanted to and we've been married 21 yrs. So I really had no choice. I wasn't working so I couldn't say just leave so we packed up and moved from Houston to Arkansas. Right culture shock overload! At first I thought okay a chance to start over but then I realized we had been down this road before 20 yrs prior. When we moved back we had the same issue it was hard to find work. We had limited funds and we're running out took my husband 3 weeks to land a job through a temporary service and I still have not found a job. I have a ton of office experience but it still does not matter ever interview i have been on is temporary work and the highest pay is $10 an hr at the most. I have been so depressed like never before. I usually put others ahead of me and everything still works out. But this time I think it is time to jump ship and say the h*** with everyone! I don't know what to do at this point I do care for my husband and love him but this is a big sacrifice I don't think I can follow throw on.

Has this gotten any better for you? I just moved to a small town and I read your message. I completely related to you. I've only been living here for 3 months and prior to that I was commuting for a year and a half before I actually moved to Flagstaff, Az. I feel no connection here and feel very depressed. Thankfully my family and friends are only 3 hours away. I moved here for my fiancé which has a great job and loves small towns. I seeking ways to make this my home and I was relieved to read that other people struggle to connect in a small town. Thank you for posting and also letting me vent.

I wish I had advice to offer to improve the situation, but all I can offer is to work on a plan for a way out. I grew up in a small town and had a torturous experience. I wasn't from the town and even after 12 years was still an outsider. I was teased, tormented, and ridiculed from the time I moved there in the second grade through my senior year of high school. As soon as I turned 18, I left for college and never looked back. I spent the next 17 years living in a mid-sized city and enjoyed everything it had to offer. I came to realize there was nothing intrinsically wrong with me and grew into a socially confident person.

In 2013 my husband received a job opportunity that meant a move to a small town just 30 miles outside of our city. The caveat was that we had to live in the small town- looking back this should have been a red flag. He had also grown up in a small town and had a positive experience. He assured me not all small towns are the same. I also thought that since this town was close to a larger city it wouldn't be as insulated and unwelcoming as the town where I grew up which was in the middle of nowhere.

I was wrong. I may as well have moved back to the horrible place where I grew up. We have lived here for 16 months and have not received one invitation for any type of social interaction. Everyone that lives here is from here or a neighboring small town. If they went to college, they went to the very small private school 10 minutes away where they all knew each other. I have come to realize that if you didn't grow up in a small town and have most of your family still living there it is very difficult to break in and understand their social norms. My husband's positive experience in his hometown is likely due to the fact that his family had always lived there and thus he was seen as an insider by default.

In a small town you either belong or you don't. Occasionally, you may be allowed in via marriage, or through a professional affiliation (I have seen some doctors and teachers who were originally outsiders eventually gain acceptance). Sports are another possible point of entry. High school sports are the center of the small town social scene. You or child must be absolutely exceptional to be able to get playing time as an outsider, but if you are able to break in, acceptance follows. Unfortunately, my talents (and my daughter's) lay elsewhere.

Personally, I am so lonely here I am not sure how much more I can take. I have a wonderful career that allows me to work from home, but this means I also have no opportunity for interaction with colleagues on a daily basis. My husband has work meetings/events at least three to four evenings a week. So, it is just me and my daughter most of the time. The old feelings of self-doubt and defensiveness are creeping back in and I hate the person I have become (or reverted back to).

It is my daughter's well being that concerns me the most. As an only child, I know how important it is for her to have opportunities for social interaction and play with other children. But all of the kids here have known each other their entire lives, as have their parents, and don't have room for anyone new in their world. Every day when I ask her who she played with at recess and she responds "no one" it breaks my heart. She was enrolled in an exceptional Montessori program back in the city and I actually continued to drive her there last year after we had moved because it was such a great experience for her. She had all kinds of friends and was invited on play dates. I don't want my daughter to feel the same kind of social isolation and low self esteem I felt as a child. My worst fear is that my daughter will have the same kind of horrible school experience I am still trying to get over nearly 20 years later.

I escaped once and will find a way to escape again soon. I now know that the town where I grew up was not the exception, but the rule when it comes to small towns.

Glad I found these postings.
All is the same for me. I am 59. Husband retired, empty nest syndrome, and moved to the sticks/hick town in Wyoming. There is absolutely nothing here!! Cousin and her husband that were supposed to move with us baled on me, so I am all alone . I feel myself growing dumber every day. The newspaper is a total joke. I cry every day. So, I told my husband of 30 years we need to sell and move back. At any rate, I told him I'm leaving at the latest in Sept 2015, with or without him. Good luck to all of you

Hi! I think we have a lot in common. I recently moved to a small town in Wyoming too. My husband got a job he couldn't resist. We came from a large city in Alabama. I'm a social person and left all my friends, relatives and my first grand baby (born in Dec.) I do have a few new friends....wives of husband's coworkers. I've been told it takes at least a year to get adjusted. Would love to communicate with you more!

It's good to know that I'm not the only one who is dealing with the small town hostility. I do not live in the town, but I work there. When I first took the job, the people were so nice and sweet and they all kept asking when my fiancee and I were going to move to town. At first I was all for it, then after working there for about two months, the true colors came out. The gossip and rumors that get started in that town are far worse than anything I have ever witnessed, even in school. They are flat out rude, hurtful, and hateful. The population is decreasing to the point where a school is closing and the whole town whines and wonders why. They go on about how they need to bring more people to the town but then turn around and say the local businesses shouldn't hire anyone that aren't "local". There are people who have lived there for 20 years and are still considered outsiders. Overall, I'm so glad I did not decide to move there. I love my job in that town, but I am so glad to see that town in my rear view mirror at the end of the day. Wishing you luck on getting out of there!

Good for you! You are soooooooo lucky you didn't move into that town. It's like once you're in a place like that there's no way out. Sucks the life and soul out of you. Happy you didn't make that choice and you can just laugh at it from afar. :)

I am from a medium sized city, lived in a large city and am now living in population less than 1000. If you aren't from here forget it, forget you and you pretty much don't belong. My husband is from here and loves it. He works 2 blocks from our home, where as I drove 30 minutes to and from
Work in a town not much bigger.
I cannot stand it here. I yearn for people, conversations that aren't gossip and things to do. I am a mother or a 2 year old and 10 month old and I want them to have life experiences and they sure as heck won't get them here. I have no friends here and i go to work for adult conversations and I am not sure how much more I can take.

I know it's so tough. My husband also was born and grew up where we live so he knows a lot of people but everyone pretty much ignores me as I'm from somewhere else. Even though I've been here 15 years still the same situation. People here are terrible and I'm an hour away from a half way decent mall and a half hour from a decent grocery store. I don't have children but I understand what you're saying about wanting them to have a better life experiences. From what I see where I live kids don't get over the bridge much (as we say), and end up growing up small minded just like their parents never getting to know the real world that exists out there. Blessings to you and your family.

So what do you do to cope? i am so bored, I just go to bed at 8:30. I drove through cold and blowing snow just to have lunch a half an hour away with a co-worker and to go to a decent grocery store.

I've been in a small town for about 15 years. I've come to the realization that things are not going to change. We have 4 success businesses here so am stuck at least for awhile. It's depressing, the people are backstabbing, jealous, gossipy, and small minded. It's so bad here and I know it's probably the same in other places but it just feels like there's such a toxic energy surrounding this place. People are just messed up. I've decided the only way to survive is to try and change my attitude a bit and accept that I'm stuck at least for now. You never know what the future holds. If I won the lottery tomorrow I would be so out of here and not look back. Wouldn't miss it or anyone at all, isn't that sad? Prayers to all of you feeling this kind of pain. Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Hello! My name is Lindsay and I work for a Television Production company. We are openly casting for a TV show about this! Looking for someone (family, individual or a couple) moving from a big city to a small town. If you are in the process of moving I would LOVE to talk to you!! Please email me at -- Thank you!

I just moved back to Dallas (my hometown) from a tiny town in Minnesota. Moved there in April 2009, I came back because the family was impossible to deal with! I realized that I was living in the Twilight Zone. If you're a woman and reading this... Don't try to adjust! I actually lived in 4 different towns trying to find happiness in the state, every time I let people in my life through hard efforts, I was disrespected and taken for granted! You cannot change anyone but yourself... Sometimes it's best to accept this and move on. If you're a guy reading this, follow your family, your partner, your wife, your girlfriend, your children, and/or your dog, you will be a better man because you did!! Good luck to y'all, I'm finally living! Again!

You poor thing :( I'm just upset because I moved to Ardmore from dfw and this place seems so microscopic I'm seriously getting depressed. We have a mortgage and I pull in almost half our income so it's not like we can just pick up and leave. I have to drive an hour and a half in any direction just to find decent shopping. The towns that are an hour and a half away are the ones I would have formerly complained about not having anything and would have went to Dallas. Talk about a reality check. All we have is walmart and there's so much white trash here it's depressing. I want to leave so bad.

Wow, it's amazing to me just how many people are in the same 'small town' boat that I am (so to speak). I've only read a few posts, but they sound exactly like my story.. moved from the city to the hick small town for my husband that's lived here all his life; haven't made any 'real' friends or 'real' connections and we've been here over 3 years now.. trying to be sociable in fitness classes and church services, but so far, nothing. Quite honestly it's just nice to vent and realize that there are other people thinking the exact same thing! Thanks for listening! :)

I moved to a small town looking to escape from a job where I was being overworked and majorly underappreciated. I moved knowing only one other person here, and with all of my co-workers are married it’s hard to do any socializing. I feel so lonely at times and miss my family so much, that I have considered going back to that other job just to be closed to my family and civilization. I have only been at this job for a month and it feels like ages. I don’t know what to do, because I don’t want to seem unprofessional either. I am also concerned because I have dealt with depression before. I don’t want the lack of friends to make fall back to that. I just wouldn’t be able to deal with it alone.

I am also in a really backwards area--not only are they all vicious gossips but people will give you that "southern charm" while they stab you in the back. Give me some brutal northern honesty over fake sweetness any day. My husband grew up here but I am counting the days till I have been at my job for a reasonable amount of time---and then I am gone. I love him, but we met in the city and I never knew it would be like this or I wouldn't have come.

I am in the same boat..

I grew up, for the most part, in a small town. I never felt like I fit in. I yearned for travel, and did so whenever I could. If it meant simply driving 30 minutes in a direction that would give me a skyline that had more than 2 buildings in it, or a 5 mile stretch with no manure stench in the air, I would take it. My family couldn't understand why I didn't yearn for the Little House on the Prairie days like they did. My mother made the first leap years before me, and caught hell for it. I followed, and after careful planning and making connections, I took 2 years and moved to London to do humanitarian work. I always wanted to see London, and the work was a passion of mine. I don't have any kids, and the work visas are tough to come by as an American. It was the best 2 years of my life. There wasn't a day that I didn't absolutely love being immersed in the vast, albeit expensive, routine which was city life. Now every chance I get I am in the city. I was literally threatened by my uncle that If I ever tried to leave again, that he would come looking for me. My friend has a good job waiting for me in Salt Lake City; I visit him in December to get the feel of things. If I don't move soon, I am seriously afraid for my mental health lol. This place is a depression pit.

As I read your story I had to wonder whether I had stumbled upon something I had written and forgot about. It sounds like your town is even smaller than mine. I don't hear gossip, I usually get the cold shoulder as an outspoken proponent of open government. I don't really have any advice. I will say that I don't think it is you and you're not alone. I have demanded that we move. I 've been told we will move within two years. But when you start using the internet for painless ways to 'go' it's probably not a good sign. My method of choice, so far, has been 'death by hibachi.' I don't think I will make it two years. I think it might be the end of my relationship too. Sorry if this isn't helping. If you do find an answer or a way to make it work please come back and share it. Best.

I grew up in a town of a little ovr 600 people then when I turned 21 I moved away to a town of a little over 5000 people now I have been hear for almost 10 years next year it will be 10 years. the only friend I did have in town is ded and this town is verrry clicky. I have not been a citty person though and like the small town attmisfear but I am also a single guy in my 30's who has not had a gf since highschool and I can't seem to find any one in my town to date or have a ltr with. I would move since I don't work and that is nothing keeping me hear but I am not shure where iw ould go. it just sucks living in sutch a small town. add to that the fact that I am blind and don't really get out mutch and it just plan sucks. I really don't know if I want to spend another deckade hear since there is just nothing for me hear.

Dear person stuck in a small town. At least they are willing to share gossip. as sad as it seems it is better than the following. We are stuck in a small ny town where wife swapping, and bizarre switcher/wicken is the norm. No one offends the townies as they may be related. shanti irish. They make up the valley gossip. I was supposedly dead several times. Gay is the way here and they are hateful we are a monotonous couple. They led daughter astray into the arms of school old sexual deviant officials and underage sex rings. they threatened me and my animals. I have dead animals and gunshot holes in my barn. The old sherif was invested- and no matter what the call was about- vandalism, rape calls to ems went unanswered. In short we are stuck here farm will not sell as all agents for real estate are involved.
If you are able to leave- do so now!

IT is culture shock. I have found good and bad things about the experience. I just don't know what/how to do to adjust. It helps knowing others can relate

Feel your pain. If you can, get out and live your life while you are still young. People move all the time. NOTHING IS WRITTEN IN STONE. If you are not happy it won't get better. After four years in small town no mans land finally convinced my husband to move back to the city life that I love. I am a senior citizen age 68. IF YOU DIDN' GROW UP IN ONE small towns just drain your life and make you feel hopeless.

You have to be the one to make the effort. Find something you can tolerate (perhaps you will come to enjoy) doing and seek companionship of a similar mindset. For me it was the repurpose and gardening crowd. I did not fit with the hunting/fishing or church bubble crowds even though I am spiritual and do love the outdoors. I went to local flea markets, shopped local yard sales and asked for help at the hardware store on making a "raised" bed. Got the juices flowing. I too miss the culture of a University town with restaurants, theaters and something other than HS Football for a sport-but I must make do and "bloom where I have been planted". Get creative. Peace and quiet and no crime are worth some sacrifices.

I added a response long ago but my opinion still stands. Unless a small town breaks out of stereotypically insular and homogenous mold, I too feel stifled in such a place. I don't know if you are still reading these responses but I hope you had found an opportunity to leave. Believe me, the only country side I'll ever consider again is living away from any neighbors too close by and with almost total privacy. Peace quiet, and nature are nice, but many small minds take away the allure.

If it is any consolation, I think that there is something worse: being single in a small town. I am single, I live in a small town and all the people of my age (40) are married with children. So, I have no friends to go out (there is no place to go out either). The couples never invite me to go with them. So, my life is work, home and loneliness. I cannot leave the town because my work is here. I have tried to be friendly and be a people person but they are not interested at all in having a friendship with me. They have their "perfect" lives with their husbands. Anyone in the same situation?

Yes, I commiserate. I live in a small town, I'm single AND I'm a single parent (of a biracial child). Needless to say, there's not too many people in my peer group.

I'm pretty sure they are just not up to or inclusive of new people. They really make no effort to disclude anyone, it's just they are doing what they have been doing for 20 yrs and what their "daddy" did. No one thinks of inviting the new person. They are set in their ways and ideas and "foreign" is uncomfortable. We have to be the ones to put them at ease and make the extra effort. I hate that part too, because it does involve the risk of rejection and one does have to tread carefully, because you can't offend the natives and it is easy to do so without realizing it or intending it, just because we are not acclimated to the culture.

Yes and it sucks...I'm 31. according to everyone I'm supposed to be married and lots of kids. I recently moved back to my home town in ND (honestly 47 ppl) from living in mpls for 12 years everyone judges everyone, we have the hatfields and mccoys crap going on here, ppl are so juvenile here and have no clue what the real world outside this box is like. The tinyest things turn into huge drama for weeks. I just have to shake my head and laugh sometimes. wow. I try to stay as neutral as possible here with ppl...I'm not into the blame game and hate drama. howe

OMG, this is my life right now. I used to live in Washington D.C. Now I live in the middle-of-nowhere Louisiana to work for a Fortune 100 company to build up my career. Life is just so boring here and everyone has the same boring mindset. I don't like fishing or hunting. I want to go back to the city where there is a multicultural society and things are constantly moving. I literally need this to keep myself from getting depressed - call it chaos if you will.

I fell like I'll be ok, but it is an adjustment period. Phew

I grew up in a small town of about 600 people all of my life....and then when I turned 18 I went off to college to a school of 30,000. I was shocked to learn how backward my little town was, how racist people were everywhere and that was acceptable, how creative mines were considered rebellious minds and how vicious people could be to each other. Yet....all those same people went to church on Sunday and proclaimed to be good Christian folks. I'm so glad I had that experience because otherwise I would have thought that growing up in this type of town was like you read about in a book with the corner market, everyone being neighborly and how safe my kids would be...I may have moved to a small town with my family. Thank goodness I found the rest of the world and my own life. My mother takes it very personally that I don't think growing up in that town was wonderful and perfect. She chooses to see it one way because she needs to. I never want kids to have creativity squashed and I never want my kids to see racism the way I saw it ( acceptable and normal). Stay true to who you are in this little town and you may be okay. If you struggle with that you need to move on into the world you love!