General Etiquette > Life...in general

Hints for joining a small town

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Sophia:
Since I was 8 years old, I've lived in one large suburb or another.  (Suburb but themselves in the top 50 largest cities in the U.S.)   I am very much a suburb girl, not city not country.  My work is at the northeast corner of the developed area for this section of the state.  We decided to move 30 minutes east of work, which puts us in the near but rural area.  I am really looking forward to it.  We just bought a house with 2 acres on Main Street of a small town of 3000 people.  Our backyard neighbor is an onion field.  The house needs a lot of work, and my husband will do a great job with that.  I plan on being very clear when we meet people that we are settling in and are not flippers.  I would like to get along with my neighbors and be accepted into the community as much as possible.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.


* We plan on joining a local church, and attending.  That isn't a problem since I do anyway.  A different denomination though.
* We plan on attending the High School Friday night games.  Since it is Texas, even football-hater me understands that.
* Not talk about how wonderful previous home was, or complain about something locally
Any other ideas?

My dad grew up in a town almost precisely the same size.  My parents eloped and mom lived with her IL's while Dad was in Basic.  Mom said the gossip was vicious.  Ideally I would like people to be friendly, but for us to be below the radar enough to avoid gossip.  Also, we have a 2-year-old that we plan on homeschooling, so I realize as parents we have to try a little harder to be friendly so that our daughter isn't shunned.

Reading the post over, it sounds like we aren't happy about the move.  Really we are.  I've just never had what the neighbors thought affect my life.  Even in High School, I had so many non-school social circles that my classmates didn't really affect me.

Outdoor Girl:
I grew up in a smallish town.  We moved there when I was two.

Living there for 40+ years, we are finally considered 'locals'.   :)

I think your ideas are spot on.  But if one of your neighbours grew up in the town and complains about a local issue, commiserate.

Be prepared to be called 'that new family that bought the Smith place' for at least 10 years.  I would recommend doing any community things that come along for a while.  Block parties, holiday celebrations, all the church socials, so-and-so's open house, etc.  Sign your daughter up for community things, too, like Scouts, when she's old enough.  Once everyone gets to know you, then you can start opting out of a few things.  But if you opt out from the get go, you'll be 'snobs'.

Watch what your neighbours do as far as yard work and holiday decorating and aim for a middle of the road approach, at least in the beginning.  For example, if your one neighbour goes all out on the lights and the other neighbour only hangs a wreath, put out a few lights on a tree in the front yard or along the eaves and hang a wreath.  If one neighbour's lawn is immaculately manicured and another's is weed infested, keep yours neat and tidy but don't worry about immaculate.

sourwolf:
Shop locally if possible (ie Mom and Pop hardware store as opposed to Walmart)
Be enthusiastic but not over the top - it might come off as fake.
See if there is a local paper that you can subscribe to, they are usually great sources of information for events in the neighborhood as well as the "tone" of the community. (my town even has the paper online)
Is there a local library? They are also a great way to get to get more involved in the community.

WillyNilly:
I think you have a great plan so far.  I'd only add to be sure to smile and wave a lot (I'm a city girl, but I've noticed in more rural areas, often people wave at everyone).  And when you shop make idle chit chat - ask for a hairdresser recommendation from someone with great hair "wow, I'm sorry to be intrusive but you've got a great haircut!  I just moved to the area can you recommend a local salon?"  Stop into the local coffee shop and make conversation.  Stop in the local bar and have a few beers with the locals.  At church, after services, ask for a breakfast recommendation, etc.  Asking will clue people in that you are A) new and B) interested in getting to know the locals.

Outdoor Girl:

--- Quote from: WillyNilly on November 01, 2012, 03:03:49 PM ---I think you have a great plan so far.  I'd only add to be sure to smile and wave a lot (I'm a city girl, but I've noticed in more rural areas, often people wave at everyone).  And when you shop make idle chit chat - ask for a hairdresser recommendation from someone with great hair "wow, I'm sorry to be intrusive but you've got a great haircut!  I just moved to the area can you recommend a local salon?"  Stop into the local coffee shop and make conversation.  Stop in the local bar and have a few beers with the locals.  At church, after services, ask for a breakfast recommendation, etc.  Asking will clue people in that you are A) new and B) interested in getting to know the locals.

--- End quote ---

That was one of the biggest things I noticed when I moved to the city!  I'd try to chat with people in line in the grocery store and some people would look at me like I had three heads.  So yes, that kind of thing is definitely done in small towns.

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