Living In A Small Town? Not As Good As You'd Think

How does the offer of cash and free land sound to you? All that you have to do is live in a small town in North Dakota. Sounds good? Maybe not. Here's the story of Michael Tristani and his family:

Tired of crime, traffic, hurricanes and the high cost of living in Florida, the Tristanis moved four years ago to Hazelton, a dwindling town of about 240 that has attempted to attract young families to stay on the map.

Michael Tristani, 42, said at the time the 1,800-mile move was "an answer to our prayers."

"We don't have to look over our shoulder to see who's going to rob us, or jump out of the bushes to attack us," Tristani said. "Taxes are low, the cost of living is low and the kids enjoy school."

But the family also found a cliquey community that treated them like outsiders. "For my wife, it's been a culture shock," he said.

Rural communities across the Great Plains, fighting a decades-long population decline, are trying a variety of ways to attract outsiders. But the Tristanis show how the efforts can fail even at a time when many people are desperate.

"It's been quite an experience, 50-50 at best," Tristani said. "It hasn't been easy. No one really wants new people here."


May I hazard a completely non-PC question here? Do you think that the Tristanis' race (or nationality or ethnic background or whatever you want to call it, the Tristanis are Italian) is a factor?

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I get along with black people in nicodemus kansas better than my town of alton east of there,
I know this one girl in stockton that was really nice to me, and always said hi to me, but alot of others are cliqish or unfreindly never call you or even act like they care,
Ive got to the point of feeling like I dont need friend's or family,
i see a bum off the street and he is more friendly to me than others here in town,
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I have been reading these posts with interest and hope someone out there (mike stone, anyone?) might post an answer to my question:

If you are one of those people (me) who has moved to a small town (not a one-light town, but a smaller town in comparison where i came from) and you are feeling excluded, what do you do to cope?

The county where I was raised (pop. 1,200,000 - in florida) was a place where I could enjoy my anonymity. The place where I moved to with my husband and 2 small children in NJ (pop. 10,000) is a place where I am constantly feeling conflicting feelings about. Not only is the anonymity lost, but because of my extremely ethic "look" (hispanic) and background, I and my children have experienced what I can refer to as either racism or exclusion.

Since this is where my husband grew up, he does not experience the same things we do - he is accepted much more openly and cannot relate so much to what I am experiencing.

I have tried being involved (we have been here for 5 years now, 2 years traveling back and forth from Florida, and then 3 years full time) but what I have found is that the small town politics of being involved on even the smallest committee or club is very negative. People either flat out just don't like you, or they don't like how you are doing things. The women can be very cliquish and catty. The kids learn from their parents and exclude your children as uncool. The men align with whatever their wives are doing.

Mind you, not every single citizen of the town is like this, but it is prevalent enough and that's being generous) that I question whether this is the right place for me.

Now the positives: it is a safe town, the schools are good, most of the people who live here are not criminals and they work for a living, there are a handful of people who seem to have no problem accepting an outsider. These are all positives in comparison where I came from. But I definitely feel marginalized about 90% of the time and it is hard to feel good about being here, despite the positives.

As a mom and a human, I have been trying to create a new family here (my family is in Florida) through friendships. It is so hard. It seems people are already where they want to be and don't have room for anyone new.

Any words of wisdom that might help me as a mom, a person, a citizen would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
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Well I don't think their "race" has anything to do with it although I could be wrong - I don't know the dynamic in this part of the country. I'm from a very very small town in Oklahoma and we definitely had that fear and loathing of outsiders. The demographics of the town were mixed racially, we had black families, hispanic, white and native american, but it was like that town was one group and everyone else was another - the town might as well have been their ethnic identity. I moved away after HS and a lot of the townies have added me to their Facebook friends but never talk to me - they post amongst themselves frequently but never repsond to my posts or anything. When I go back there occasionally (my parents still live there) I see people I spent all my K-12 education with and they pretend they don't even know me!
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I live in a small town in Kansas,
Ive been here for 6 yrs and the people here are about as backward as hill people,
and not even halfway open to you, all the woman have kids all the time and and most people dont know what to do with themselves,
I have yet to have someone actually act like they care or even want to be friends,
most of them ore so mousy or intimidated or close minded its rediculous,
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I live in a very small town by the name of Jay up in North, Florida I come from the city. I love it. At first I was concerned being that I come from a Hispanic family. I was born and raised in Florida. The people in this area are true Southerners and are mostly blue eyed American's. I must say I have felt embraced by Jay. They have an awesome Southern hospitality which I have never experienced where I am from. They treat you with kindness and respect. I have the best neighbors anyone could ever wish for. I truly do love it here. It is a very small town, very rural. I have to drive 30 miles to get to the closest city, which I don't mind being that this is a very safe little town, very uncontaminated. I guess in a nut shell God has blessed me in abundance, I have never felt left out or singled out they all know I am not from here and they have accepted me. My accent sticks out like a sore thumb, I don't have their beautiful Southern Slang. It's funny because they like my Spanish accent. Figure that one out!Small towns are safer, less contaminated and awesome to start a family.
And the people watch out for you, and are EXTREMELY HOSPITABLE. This is my experience. I wouldn't change living here. I have lived in big metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, California and Miami. Nothing compares to that small town feeling.
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