City dwellers often complain about their metropolitan lifestyles: The roads are too crowded, the apartments are too expensive, and the green spaces are few and far between. At some point, most urbanites daydream about moving to a small town — but if they ever do, they are in for a huge surprise. People from small towns know all too well that tight-knit communities come with their own unique set of problems that city dwellers will never be prepared for. Here are 12 problems small town people are too familiar with.
1. You Know Everyone Around
In a small town, you get to know your neighbors on an intimate level. Even in a town of a few thousand, it isn’t hard to recognize nearly everyone by face, if not by name and favorite ice cream flavor. You get used to being friendly with those around you.
2. So Smiling and Waving Becomes a Habit
You probably don’t notice how frequently you smile, wave, and make eye contact until you move out of your town and into the city. City-dwelling strangers are more often put off by your friendly behavior than enchanted by it, and you likely receive plenty of confused expressions — as well as some downright irritated responses.
3. You Never Meet Anyone From Home
When you finally venture outside your town, you should expect hundreds of questions about where you are from. Inevitably, when you answer, you will get hundreds of blank stares. No one knows about your small town, and you just have to get used to it.
4. Except the Super Weird Times You Do
Still, every once in a while you will meet one person who knows about your small town. Usually, that person grew up in some town or city nearby, but you might even encounter the only other person from your small town to escape. It will feel surprising and strange at first, but you should embrace that person as friend and confidante.
5. You Never Have Anywhere to Go
Small towns usually aren’t known for their active nightlife. When you grow up in a small town, you get used to the fact that there are no sensible places for young people to congregate besides home and school.
6. So Going Out Becomes a Beloved Pastime
Fortunately, there are miles of empty roads just waiting to be explored. In a big city, driving around aimlessly is equal parts boring and dangerous, but in small towns, joyrides are perhaps the most thrilling nighttime activity there is to enjoy. You roll down the windows, turn up the tunes, and drive.
7. You Don’t Know About Chain Stores
You are more often than not confused by the frequent news stories anticipating the death of the small business, because small business is basically all you have. Everything from the hardware store to the grocery store (the only two stores in town, really) is owned locally; your shopping opportunities are so limited that most newcomers have to transfer credit cards because shops don’t accept every type.
8. Until One Invades the Town and Causes Equal Amounts of Excitement and Distress
You remember the day Chipotle came to your town. There were lines down the block for weeks. Then all the small business owners in town agonized over the safety of their shops and restaurants, and the hubbub died down.
9. You Never Escape Past Relationships
It seems that everyone knows when you are dating, but everyone has an outrageously hard time remembering that you broke up. You will forever get questions regarding past partners, and worse, you will regularly see those partners everywhere you go. Closure is particularly hard to attain in such close quarters.
10. And Dating Your Ex’s Friend or Your Friend’s Ex Is the Only Option
Your high school graduating class was fewer than 100 people, which means you were fishing in a disturbingly small pond. Any potential partner you seek within town is going to have close connections with your ex, whether you like it or not. In small towns, the bro code does not apply.
11. You Always Dream of Moving Away
You habitually count down the years (and months, weeks, days, and minutes) until you are a full-fledged adult, free to fly to the big city of your choosing. You will live in a sophisticated area, visit cosmopolitan places, and meet exciting people. You hate your small town so much it hurts.
12. Until You Finally Do And You Miss Your Town Terribly
Yet, it hurts to leave, too. The big city certainly does offer more opportunity to learn and grow, but your small town is home, and it always will be.
Featured photo credit: Kecko via flickr.com