Making friends in small towns

A new friend has been through hell lately adjusting to the many strange things that go on when you move to a small town. That is not to say that you don’t also meet plenty of strange ones in cities too, but I have come to think there is something unique about moving to a town under population 1,000 where many people also come and go with the seasons.

My friend got stuck in the middle of lots of confusion and negativity which resulted in bad feelings. In talking with her about all of that, I began to recall how many beginner friendships I had in my first two years here, most of which ended quickly. So I decided to make a list and ended up with well over twenty individuals or couples where some sort of friendship began and then either went nowhere or worse.

I basically met no one worth being friends with for about two years here. Either they weren’t friendly at first, our politics were too far apart, we had nothing in common, or they started out friendly enough, but then went unfriendly fast. What I have found is that La Veta is not so much a close knit community as one with a few main cliches, where few are truly friendly when you’re new here.

A few said they were just waiting for us to leave after a year or two. Four years later that is not happening! Luckily there are enough decent people to go around, so who cares about the rest?

Friends help friends PandasWhen my friend started lamenting her recent bad experiences with new friends, I told her that I always approach this topic with the certainty that I am a great person to have as a friend, but I needed to learn how to be pretty selective here. A friend is someone who improves the life of someone they care about. Mike and I live by that code. Once we are friends with someone we will help them improve their lives in any way we can. I make an extra effort through this blog and my book about this area, to reach out to those just moving here for the first time. I call that being neighborly.

Good friendships take time. There will always be a period of  adjustment and testing in the beginning. I have found I do best with those with a similar education and background. Jealousy kills friendships. Most people here are quite nice, but I must keep in mind that some moved here to avoid relationships altogether.

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3 thoughts on “Making friends in small towns

  1. Hi Laura Lee, I think I would find it difficult at first moving to a small town. I remember moving to a new State (Queensland) from New South Wales many years ago and it was very parochial. It took quite some time to feel welcomed and that was a city. Small towns would have a very close knit community so I can see how they would be reluctant to welcome new comers. You are good to be reaching out to new comers and making them feel welcome.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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  2. Yes Sue, it has been difficult, not only making friends but building a specialized home in a rural area where just about no one knows who we are or how passive solar works. What I have found is that La Veta is not so much a close knit community but one with a few main cliches. Most aren’t particularly friendly when you’re new. A few said they were just waiting for us to leave after a year or two. Four years later that is not happening!

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  3. THIS is so true: “Good friendships take time. There will always be a period of adjustment and testing in the beginning.” Making friends seems so much more of a challenge as adults.

    Funny, I always thought you lived NORTH of me, not south. I’m in Colorado Springs. (Definitely NOT a small town… anymore.)

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