Hometown movies and country music have pointed out the benefits of living in a small town. These towns come with community support, friendliness and easy commuting. Life is lived at a much slower, enjoyable pace. But what these idealized benefits hide are the downfalls every small town has.
1. Everyone knows everyone.
Seriously, you think I'm kidding, but life is like six degrees of separation in a small town -- except it's more like three degrees. For instance, today my roommates and I bought a new dryer from someone who was selling one locally.
When he came to drop it off, my roommate said, “Oh I know that guy!” and when I thought about it, I realized, so did I. I used to work with him a few years ago. Anonymity is a foreign concept to someone in a small town.
While some people might romanticize the small town charm and knowing your neighbors, it's actually pretty annoying.
If you meet someone, chances are someone you know has a friend or cousin that has dated that person and has terrible things to say about them. And since the dating pool is so small, you will very likely be asked out by a co-worker or neighbor your age, making any daily interaction with that person substantially awkward.
2. There is literally nothing to do.
Want a fun night out? Cool, you can go for dinner or a movie. If you're feeling really adventurous, you can combine the two.
If you like a life of quiet solitude, then life in a small town is right up your alley.
But for anyone who wants options, you're out of luck. My town has exactly one bar. It's literally called “The One and Only.”
3. The dating pool is almost as limited as your career options.
Good luck finding a significant other in small towns -- especially if you don't fit the “norm.” For instance, I live in a town where the majority of the population is one religion. For many of them, this means sticking to their own and marrying within that religion.
Even going on one date in a small town means you are being considered for marriage. This makes it even more difficult to find a date because you know there is no such thing as "no strings attached."
Maybe you're already married. Maybe you've got a family and you want to raise them in a place where you know your neighbors. Great!
Now what job are you going to find that will support your family? The town I live in is one of the worst for the income-to-living expense ratio. Sometimes I drive around and wonder how some people are affording their homes.
City living isn't cheap either, but at least in a metropolis you get a greater pick of careers.
4. There's a hidden underbelly.
Seriously, small towns tend to have a really high percentage of teen pregnancies and drug use. Why is this? Because there's really nothing else to do.
Substance abuse is high in rural America, and it comes from isolation and high risk behavior, among other factors.
With any difficult time, the entire community will know and you will become a point of gossip.
5. Privacy is a foreign concept.
Like I said before, everyone knows everyone, and they like to gossip. If you get laid off at work, cheated on, divorced or even pulled over by a cop, you will be the topic of conversation for the next few weeks.