Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Have you ever moved to a place where people were really awful to newcomers?

Asked by JLeslie (47096 points ) October 28th, 2012

I have moved several times and I have to say this has never happened to me. I have had experiences where a city just didn’t seem like the right fit, but never experienced neighbors or work colleagues being unwilling to get to know me to see if we get along. Never a neighborhood or town where the social cliques were so tight they didn’t let new people in.

Tell us a story of a bad experience you have had when moving to a new place. I am looking for adult stories, not school age. Was the town large or small? Where was it? What did the people do that was so stand-offish or mean? You can also include breaking into a new group of people when you start dating someone, but I am curious in that situation if where you live might typically be like that.

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20 Answers

Shippy's avatar

The city in which I live, has a reputation for being unfriendly in the sense that, if you do not belong to a certain ‘group’, it is hard to get into a group. I never experienced this, as I always had friends and was always welcomed to different groups of people.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I moved to Boston for a job, about 10 years ago.

Across the board – both where I lived and where I worked, the people were the coldest and least friendly of all of the places I have lived, which is all over the country.

They were polite and proper, but not the least bit welcoming and warm.

Coloma's avatar

IMO most bigger cities tend towards unfriendliness and keeping more to oneself. I have had the reverse experience, moving from a capital city to the country/mountains 20 years ago now.
Everyone out here is very friendly and neighborly. Most of us have an open door/open barn policy and never lock our homes.

My neighbors up the hill told me when I moved in that their fridge in the barn was always stocked with beer and wine and not to hesitate to come grab a bottle or two whenever I wanted. Everyone waves to each other on our little roads and out here we are more likely to borrow a few cups of chicken feed rather than a cup of sugar. lol
I do find the city slickers to be unfriendly and when one attempts to make small talk or joke around with strangers you are often met with a look of annoyance or bewilderment.
Everyone is always in a hurry and has tunnel vision, driving like aggressive robots and completely preoccupied with whatever their, oh so important, mission of the moment is.

I’m sure there are the exceptions, but yeah, it is a very different way of life in the concrete jungle.
Bah humbug….I’ll stay in the hills thanks.

tedibear's avatar

I lived in Georgia for almost a year, working as a teacher in a small school district. I lived in a somewhat larger town not far from the school. Everyone at school seemed friendly but I found out close to the end of the year that I (and about 4 of the other new teachers) weren’t really welcome additions by about 90% of the staff. As well, my roommate and I never met our neighbors despite a couple of attempts on our part. Everyone was fake friendly to our faces. What was that about southern hospitality?

Coloma's avatar

I’ll also add that living in a tourist community I see a lot of disrespect from the city peeps that invade our zone in the summers. They seem to think they have a free pass to push us locals out of their way and often block the gas pumps at our local little market/deli, drive like lunatics on these roads with zero awareness of how dangerous they can be with deer leaping accross the roads at any given moment. I say when in Coloma do as the Colomans do.
Slow the hell down, you’re on river time now. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ve lived all over the east coast of the US. The only place I’ve lived where the neighbors weren’t friendly was outside of DC. Too distrusting of strangers I suppose. I made efforts to just say a simple hello while walking in our gated community and was shocked when people wouldn’t respond in kind.

When we were moving to Rhode Island, I had this image in my head of how people would be and how I would be treated. I’m happy to say it wasn’t anything like I imagined. I made some lifelong friends in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

ninjacolin's avatar

Not a personal experience of mine, but I’ve heard that British Columbia, Canada is a lot like that. I had the chance to visit this summer and I didn’t get that feeling but I was only there for one night.

jordym84's avatar

I’ve lived in a few different places on the east coast (US) and, though there were some nice exceptions, NYC is by far the least friendly place I’ve lived in. Although I’ve lived in other big cities land-size-wise, in terms of population NYC was the densest of them all and boy was that a traumatizing experience.

Before moving to NYC I had been traveling outside the country, and prior to that I had been doing an internship in Disney World, so I was used to smiling and saying hi to strangers on the streets, at the store, etc, but unfortunately I soon realized that I had to break out of that habit in the city. Not only because street peddlers would take friendliness as a green light to approach you and ask for money but also because the non-peddlers would think that you were trying to ask them for money. Another thing that really bothered me is that I always held doors open for others and no one ever said “thank you” and rarely did I see anyone else hold doors open for others.

Needless to say, I didn’t last long there and now I’m back in friendly Orlando (well, compared to NYC anyway lol).

@bkcunningham whereas in RI? Do you still live there? I might’ve already asked you this a while back on another thread (or was it someone else?) so forgive me if I did. I went to high school in Pawtucket and my family still lives there.

JLeslie's avatar

I kind of differentiate between strangers on the street and trying to make friends in a neighborhood, at work, church, etc. Strangers on the street can be greatly affected by size of city, how densely populated, etc., but it does vary still from one city to the next of like size.

Neighbors and joining new clubs, or going to a gym and striking up a conversation I have had pretty good luck everywhere.

I don’t let the people on the street bother me too much if they tend to be rude, I just really care about how easy it is to create my new circle of friends and have some outlets to be able to socialize.

jordym84's avatar

@JLeslie Oh I see what you mean. For me NYC was really hard to break into in terms of making friends. People at work were fairly nice, but not much for socializing outside of work, unless you were already part of their circle. Most other places I’ve lived in I’ve never had any trouble making friends and finding people with common interests. The whole time I was in the city I only knew 1 person, and that’s because I already knew her from college.

ucme's avatar

Only fluther, back when the influx of answerbag refugees happened upon this place.
Some seriously anal folks called themselves out for sure.

wildpotato's avatar

Second for NYC. When I moved here four years ago I was not prepared for the lack of consideration for personal space and common courtesy, and the way that people can take offense at the slightest unintentional provocation. I learned to walk around without ever removing my earbuds or looking people in the face, which backfires sometimes when I encounter people who know me and I accidentally snub them. Recently a guy I have a friendly acquaintanceship with tried to get my attention at a bar and I totally ignored him without even giving it a second thought that I might know him, and he was pretty hurt. I have to move away from this terrible city – I remember a time when I didn’t automatically hate other human beings. And it’s not just that I’m a country mouse, though I am – Philly isn’t like this at all!

This is not to say that there aren’t occasional bits of extreme kindness to be encountered on the streets or trains – I’ve seen people help, and chipped in myself, when a homeless person’s cup was overturned, I’ve been let into the subway when I was obviously in a terrible hurry and fumbling for my Metrocard by a helpful stranger who was exiting the system [legal; works with unlimited cards], and had all sorts of other unexpected, touching moments with such single-serving friends. But, the city is still by far the worst place ever, as a newcomer.

Though now that I reread your details, maybe you meant a place where newcomers are persecuted in particular? NYC is not like that at all – in fact, when I want to get a little human sympathy, I like to let a bit of a Minnesotan flavor creep into my speech. It lets others think of me as a hapless out-of-towner, and they’re usually more than happy to help.

cookieman's avatar

you are often met with a look of annoyance or bewilderment.

@Coloma: Yeah, that’s pretty much me, and I’m from Boston – so I’m really sorry @elbanditoroso.

I am friendly, but (as has been mentioned) it’s surface friendly. I don’t really care to know most people (neighbors, coworkers, etc.)

I’ve had the same three neighbors for over ten years and couldn’t tell you a thing about them.

Sorry.

bkcunningham's avatar

@jordym84, I lived in Woonsocket. :~) I live in Florida now.

jordym84's avatar

@bkcunningham Funny, I live in Florida now, too haha

Correction: Whereabouts in RI and not _whereas…I just noticed my mistake =/

snowberry's avatar

When we moved to Oregon from Indiana, we were really poorly treated until we got Oregon plates on our car. Seems they didn’t like newcomers. They wanted their precious state all to themselves. I even was told so by a few people (as if I had any choice in the matter). Ha!

livelaughlove21's avatar

My husband and I just bought a home in a subdivision in South Carolina. We moved from just across town, where we spoke to our neighbors from time to time. The first night here, we had a friend of a neighbor offer to help us move a couch, but none of the actual neighbors have spoken to us. Their kids have spoken to us outside, but their parents just stand in their yard and watch.

It’s sort if disappointing, but we haven’t made an effort to get to know them either. We’re 23 with no kids, so I think people in the neighborhood think of us as babies, so why speak to us? My husband jokes that we’re building a reputation. He says they probably talk about us – “Those are the Reeds. They don’t talk much.” :)

In all honesty, I don’t mind. We’re fine keeping to ourselves. Plus, there are homes being built next to ours, so maybe the new neighbors will be more approachable.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Go over and introduce yourself! Or, invite them over for a party in a few weeks, a get to know the neighbors party.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have never moved to an unfriendly place but I have worked at unfriendly places. I went to work as a temp (long term) for an organisation and they put me in an office on my own and pretty much threw typing at me. They would talk French (I don’t speak French) with each other while I was the only other person in the room. Go off to lunch and not invite me. It was horrible. I was there for six months and never felt welcome or comfortable the whole time I was there.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Bellatrix, c’est la vie. ;~)

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