Living in Small Unfriendly Town . . .

Sorry to bring this up but I have tried for more than six months to fit in. Have a few light acquaintances here. Partially controlled epilepsy. In redneck, hick, hillbilly town 70 miles north of NYC. Lost housing in NYC (2 months before Superstorm Sandy) and was happy for ten years. They are not cruel to me, just clannish. Have volunteered here but they have ten to twenty people for every volunteer spot. Don't drive, forced to walk everywhere. If you don't drive here, you are considered a loser. Public transportation is poor. No support groups. Trying to get a hobby. Am 55 year old woman living in a private college dorm (not a student). Tried churches, but not friendly there, either. Applied to all public housing, including senior housing. In June, going to Orlando, Florida (you must apply in person) to apply for public housing. March 2014, will be here 18 months and will explore going to Cuenca, Ecuador (I speak Spanish). Looking for community. Does anybody have any ideas?

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Dear Monica,
was reading your post on living in unfriendly town. I also live in a small town and a car is essential due to the fact it is a long distance to any where, unless you can find someone to taxi you around for errands and such. Anyone who lives outside NYC is considered red necks, hicks, hill billies or worse don't forget woodchucks. I figure you learned those terminologies from down state. In todays world even the sterotype version you feel are reluctant to stop and offer a ride with all the violence in society. By the sounds of it I don't think you will last until 2014 for FL. It's a different world we live in every dog for himself, perhaps Ecuador is the place for you.

Good luck and may you find happiness where ever you go.... except in rural Hillbilly country.

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Dear Monica,
It sounds like you'll be living in this town for a while so it seems prudent to keep on trying to fit in. One thing that occurred to me as I read your post is the matter of dress. It's been my personal observation that what one wears can telegraph to others a certain perception of you. Are you wearing slacks while your neighbours sport jeans? What kind and how much jewellery are you wearing compared to most women there? Hair, makeup, etc will set you apart in a small community. I realize this seems petty but it does seem to be true. You may not be able to afford new clothes but perhaps you can implement some changes with what you already own. Of course, thrift shops or a bargain store will probably have items that won't break the bank.
Listen to how the locals talk. The turn of a phrase can stamp "outsider" on you.
Are there local events you can attend? Showing interest in the activities of these people, especially ones they're passionate about, might help.
Putting a smile on your face is your most powerful tool. Being polite in all situations is right up there with smiling!
With your epilepsy you need to implant a favourable impression of yourself into the minds of your neighbours and potential friends. You may need their help at some point.
I sincerely hope you will find something in my comments that will help. You've demonstrated your willingness to keep on trying by posting this request which is admirable.
Being accepted in a small community takes time. Have patience and take comfort and encouragement in the small things as you wait. The song of a bird can encourage any heart and the beauty of a flower is available to all who choose to see it.
All the best to you,
Sharon

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Dear Humminbird1963,
Thank you for your response. Have spoken to my acquaintances about this and they have experienced this, too. Turned out they are relative newcomers, too. Trying to look at the bright side, such as that I am lucky not to be in the women's homeless shelter in Brooklyn, a very dangerous place! Grateful the college students are very kind to me! Have plenty of irons in the fire! Am getting supportive counseling and trying to keep an open mind (nothing will fall out!) and a sense of humor!!

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Dear Liiivinhope,
Thank you for reaching out to me. Am uncomfortable here. Being very cautious to not answer back on the few times they harassed me. Do not want to be like them. Worked hard to pull myself up and not willing to pay the price for friendship by lowering myself. Not being picked on or singled out. Am very kind, smiling and have a sense of humor. Think of this place as a "stepping stone." Thank God for this website and the Internet in general. Helped others at every opportunity I get, but have to be careful here because I do not want to steer people wrong. Learning a lot here. Don't think I am better than them, just different. County's largest employer has had several major layoffs in the past few years and NYC's financial community has victimized many of these people. The few that are here from NYC hate the city, but I love the city. I keep that to myself. To look like them would be phony. Found out other "newcomers" had similar experiences, but they had the resources to move out of town. Offered to start epilepsy support groups here but the few people with epilepsy begged me not to because there is a big shame factor here, and they drive illegally and do not want to be seen at such groups. To look like them would need to smoke, drug, drink and get tatoos. Presently, looking to be friends with other "newcomers."

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Forgot to mention, am exploring hobbies, because have volunteered (unsuccessfully) at four different organizations.

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Dear humminbird,
I think you are right. It was freezing, and there was no heat in the bus (in the teens Fahrenheit). Probably will have to live where most of the people use public transit, and where people who walk and/or use public transit are not seen as "losers."

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You would really do better in a place where there are plenty of transplants. I lived in Eaton, Ohio (pop 6,500) 35 years ago or more. Went to a gathering and mentioned I was new (as if they didn't know). I was approached by a woman who mentioned she was also new. I asked her how long she had been there and she said THIRTY YEARS. She was the vet's wife and still was not accepted.

I still have very strong feelings of animosity when thinking about that place. It's small here in Arizona and the people are friendly but only superficially. What the hell do they want? I volunteered for five years at the library and the only friend I have is one I knew from Phoenix. My husband is very anti social so that does not help. I tried starting a bridge club and the librarian asked me to head a mental health issue group but his sister whom he was trying to help refused to participate so we dropped the idea.

I'm surprised church didn't work. When I mentioned the difficulty in meeting people, I was automatically asked "what church do you attend."

It seems to me that you have gone out of your way trying to fit in.

Hope you find a welcoming spot. Sometimes it's heartwarming here.

Carol

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Dear Carol,
Thank you for your openness in responding to me. On Friday (yesterday), I met a woman from the Bronx who was here for THREE YEARS and hated it! I told her to take her time returning to the Bronx as Superstorm Sandy has done a lot of damage all over NYC. I have applied to every public housing in the county, and if I do not have a "nibble," I am going to fly to Orlando, Florida to apply for public housing there. On the rare occasion I use the public bus here, the people are very unfriendly. Very poor bus service, but they take it out on "newcomers." Feel like I am on the bottom of the heap, no matter what I do. Have been in Florida for 35 years (until 10 years ago when I moved to Brooklyn). Think Florida will be my best bet because it is diverse and cosmopolitan, also disabled people are openly welcomed there (they have the most disabled and elderly in the US, I am told). The only negative in Florida is that it is very transitory. "Here today, gone tomorrow." In the 35 years I lived there, saw people move in for six months, then move out. Very hard to build community there. Presently living in a college dormitory where drug use is openly tolerated. There seems to be a high rate of drug abuse in this county and the police seem to look the other way. I literally get sick breathing it in. The rare clean and sober student moves in and right back out. Am glad to NOT be in a women's homeless shelter, here or in Brooklyn. Sinking in slowly, that the lack of community in the US (excepting tight-knit communities such as Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, for example) is the epidemic/pandemic drug/alcohol abuse. Please forgive me for bashing the US. Maybe is I had money, I would have more choices. Since I am on very low income ($817.00/month), have limited choices. Thank you for listening.

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Strange silence from small town peeps. I have $585 and an expensive house which won't sell. I planned to die of a heart attack but SHE had different plans and gave me cancer instead. Seven weeks of daily driving 5 hours RT for 15 min of rads except for one ten hour day when I also had bags of chemo.

Now I hear there's a new med in Canada (started in Europe) but not yet approved here and there will be 153,000 people wanting to have it. The spouse is not user friendly or I'd invite you up. My sister is moving here in one week so that will be a break for me. I can spend the night at her condo when I have a doc appt. She is doing very well since the death of her spouse. He fell 3k feet from theMatterhorn. The Swiss Consulate kept putting her off about getting the body. She wanted him in a coffin and back in the US ASAP. They kept stalling her--asking for dental records, etc. She went ahead and had a memorial service for him attended by over 2 thousand people. No room in the church. A local TV station filmed a five minute go by and did a crowd count.

Finally, some poor underling at the Consulate had to tell her Vince was in pieces and there was no point in paying for a coffin. She broke down all over again and then again when some ass sent her a pix of him "arranged" in a bedroll.

Sorry for rambling. ADD etc.

Go to Florida and get warm, sandy feet.

Pax

Carol

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I am sorry to say this, but you moved to the wrong side of the river in the Hudson Valley. Most of the people that live there are also transports from NYC after 9/11. So they still have their connections to NYC since they still work down there. Dutchess County is not really known for that warm fuzzy feeling. The main attraction there is the Mall.

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Dear Carol,
Thank you for reaching out to me and sharing about yourself with me. I am grateful for the friends I am making at this website and thank God it is well moderated, keeping judgmental people at bay! I, too, am a cancer survivor (10 years-uterine). Am trying to see that the glass is half full instead of half empty. Really trying to stay off the pity pot! I hope there are good people in your life (nothing, not even the best websites) beats having friends in the flesh! I will be praying for you to get well. Just to let you know, both cancer and heart disease causes depression and/or depression is one of the FIRST SYMPTOMS of cancer/heart disease. Even in your terrible suffering, you reached out to me. Thank you for not diminishing me. Slowly making friends with a few other newcomers. Florida has all kinds of support groups and friendly churches. Don't regret leaving as I loved Brooklyn. Made some wonderful friends in Brooklyn, and miss them!

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Dear Annie,
Thank you for the feedback. Hear that the small towns on the other side of the river are even SMALLER than the towns in Dutchess County. Looking into starting a "meetup" group (www.meetup.com) on some interest that I haven't decided yet. Have visited the Poughkeepsie Galleria and find the staff and shoppers to be kind. Have gone to plays at the County Players (I can walk there) and enjoyed myself very much but fellow theater goers don't seem too friendly. Presently I "hang out" at a restaurant across from the library/Mesier Park, but don't want to hang out excessively around food as I have lost almost 100 lbs and I don't want to gain it back. Don't drink, but there is a bar that has live music on Fridays I can walk to and a Mexican restaurant across the street that has live music on Saturdays. Will give that a try. Presently exploring my third church (the second that I can walk to and not have to ask for rides). Committed to finding a church I can walk to. Have a nice weekend.

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Hi, I am trying to start a meet up in my small town. Ihave lived here 34 years and worked at the local bank. At first I WAS NOT ACCEPTED! Once I started interacting I had to change certain descriptions of life growing up in Chicago. What we took as ordinary, these people looked at like bragging. I learned to adapt and have been in WEST VIRGINIA by way of Chicago since 1978, wow!
Sorry you all are having these issues, but it is the truth.
What will your meetup do? Have you had one before? I am a newbie! Scared to death putting myself out there! Advice? Liver2009

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Dear Carol,
Had a friend when I used to live in Florida, who was totally blind, who went to the beach every day ALONE. Love the beach, but love to share it with others. Also, love to go to the movies, and enjoyed the movies weekly with the autistic man I took care of in Brooklyn. Here I am, and, amazingly, have a movie theater that offers movies $3.00 each, and "$2.00 Tuesdays." It is located in a mall that caters to the rich, and the movie theater is sponsored by the mall, so that parents can drop their kids off while they shop. In NYC, was amazed how many free and inexpensive activities there were. Groceries in upstate NY are much more expensive than that in the city . . . but post Superstorm Sandy, I don't know if that is still true. Praying for wisdom, asking God if I am here to rest and recover from 10 years caring for an autistic man 24/7 or if I am to be here long term. Asking God for a positive attitude in that I will consider myself a winner no matter what happens. Presently enjoying a beautiful weekend! Hope your weekend is nice, too!
Your friend,
Monica

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Dear Liver,
Thank you for responding to my post. I have followed meetups on the Internet for years (but attended only one). Enjoyed it, but be prepared most meetups are geared for young people ages 18 to 35. Visited a Puerto Rican meetup where I was the oldest person by 20 years, but felt very comfortable (am young at heart) and another Spanish speaking meetup that features karaoke that was being sponsored out of somebody's house, meant to go but couldn't, only to learn I missed a great party! Love to sing and play percussion, but my singing is not the best. Would be a better comedian than singer! From the Spanish karaoke I could tell the participants were 18 to 35, but they made me feel very welcome (although I did not attend, we had e-mail correspondence). My suggestion would be to go to www.meetup.com and look for meetups that are near you. See what already exists. If any of them are of even remote interest to you, look at their websites. If none of them interest you, try to look deep inside yourself, and see if you have any interests you want to share with others. Keep it positive and upbeat, avoid "problem-oriented" support groups. Generally, support groups are not the place to make friends. Avoid any negative connotations, as people in a small town do not want to be seen in these kinds of groups, because word does get around. Hope this helps. Hope you had a nice weekend. Enjoying the sunshine, even though it is 20 degrees outside! Am glad for this website, and even though I have been here a short while, I feel I am really healing.

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