To think it's IMPOSSIBLE to make friends in some towns...

(172 Posts)
IncaAztec Wed 05-Dec-12 20:29:44

I moved here last year with DC1. Everyone has lived here since the year dot. Its very hard to meet anyone, let alone anyone who wants to go on a playdate/be friends. I won't name the town but I think my experience seems to be common in small provincial ones with few incomers.

I have tried to make friends but am foiled at every turn. An example: At a baby group (dull, but an example), I offered another Mum I had met and chatted to before my seat as she is very heavily upduffed. She took it and went off to talk with her friend, leaving me alone. Not even a Hi!

People are borderline rude at nearly all the playgroups. I go for my DC's sake these days. Anyone else in the same boat or want to name and shame their unfriendly, cliquey, rubbish town?

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Wed 05-Dec-12 20:33:05

My town is the same! You're not a local unless you've lived here for at least 50 years, and if you try to make random chit chat with someone in a shop, or even someone serving at a till, they look at you like you've just asked them for a million quid!

slalomsuki Wed 05-Dec-12 20:36:45

I agree. In my town, we have been here 15 years, it's only now that I am being accepted in a small way and that's only because I work locally. DH works about 40 miles away and he is still regarded as an outsider.

They all seem to marry someone they were at school with, have friends that they have known from primary school and live in the same road as they grew up in as moving away is too much of an adventure.

baublesandbaileys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:36:54

yup I'm pretty outgoing and have settled in well in lots of towns (moved around a bit) except one!

cannot be done there IMO as a newcommer! I did all the usual tricks which would usually land you at least one or two coffee aquaintances (EVERY playgroup, netmums meet a mum, evening classes, just generally being friendly and approachable and approaching people..)

didn't make one friend, even an aquaintancey friend

its not me! honest! I've made friends everywhere else I've lived!

Notalone Wed 05-Dec-12 21:04:45

Name and shame these towns because other posters may feel more reassured if they realise they are not alone and it is not just them. I will begin. I live in South Yorkshire and love the town I live in now, but I previously lived in some mining villages which were just hideous. I never stood a chance and all because I speak differently.

And now over to you. Where are your unfriendly towns?

1605 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:10:55

I'm from a suburb of Warrington. I left as soon as soon as I turned 18 and have never been back. Everyone is the colour of orange tango, thick as shit, married to their brother's best mate, and fiddling the social.

Pretty much the same here in Leics. Everyone seems to be from here, have extended family locally etc. I have moved around quite a bit ever since I was at uni, but have been here for 5 years. I have one or two friends here and a few acquaintances who chat to me if they see me but wouldn't be interested in socialising. It makes me really want to move back down to my hometown where I know more people!! My DC go to school in the village next to our town for various reasons, mainly DS1's SN. A couple of people have asked whether we live in the village, and when we say we don't, they stop the conversation and make no further effort to be friendly. Argh! I used to be really extrovert and great at making friends in my hometown, don't know if it's just the area or if I have changed (due to finding it impossible to make new friends here!)

3b1g Wed 05-Dec-12 21:19:13

I found this to be so true with DS1. I ended up making some friends in the next town over. Even when he started school, all the mums had known each other for ever, all had older children who were friends with each other. It made me a bit miserable, tbh.

The mums in DS2's class were much more friendly and less exclusive. I try to make an effort now if there's a new parent who has just moved into the area, because I remember how lonely it was.

emsyj Wed 05-Dec-12 21:34:53

I think some areas are definitely like that unfortunately. A friend of mine lived in [no names mentioned] for something like 8 years and managed to make ONE friend despite trying various evening classes, social groups, working at a fairly large company with lots of colleagues etc. I can honestly say she did everything she could and she is quite a friendly sort of person. Everyone she worked with had lived there all their lives and had their own friends and nobody was interested in meeting anyone new.

HullyEastergully Wed 05-Dec-12 21:37:48

that is so grim! where are these towns?!

Mandy2003 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:39:24

The first village I lived in after I moved from London was terribly unfriendly - I'm sure people there would rip your arm off and beat you to death with the sticky end if they got half a chance!

But then I moved to another village 2 miles up the road and its fantastically friendly - the complete opposite grin

nearlymerrychristmasbutnotyet Wed 05-Dec-12 21:46:21

Yanbu, Ive lived somewhere like that and loads of them were related too. Complete sh*****e, couldnt wait to move. You couldnt order a takeaway without a load of old biddys breaking their neck to see what you were getting, who is that at her door etc etc etc grin

nearlymerrychristmasbutnotyet Wed 05-Dec-12 21:48:42

meant to say terribly unfriendly wont really look at you if you walk past them but nosey as hell as who goes in your house etc

kfs Wed 05-Dec-12 21:49:52

Y'all live in my town. Suburb of Leeds.

jojane Wed 05-Dec-12 21:55:19

I think towns are the worst places to live, I have loved in cities when younger and most people are away from family etc so willing to make friends and you are always meeting friends of friends etc etc, I have also lived in small villages - 1 shop and 1 pub type places (love in one now) and find that people are very accomadating, everyone will chat to you from the 90 year old woman at the bus stop to the 15 year old waking the dog. When I had ds1 we lived in the nearby town and it was so hard to meet any friends, worked with lots of people but the already had their established friend set, toddler groups were very clichy, I hated it and am so glad we moved to this village, have made some really great friends.

ooer Wed 05-Dec-12 22:01:06

I live in a small town, around 10,000 people, interestingly in my own age group have made friends only with other "incomers". Having said that, the neighbours are all friendlier than city folk (where I used to live) and prob all think I am really standoffish!

Creamtea1 Wed 05-Dec-12 22:03:18

Yep have experienced the same, noone wants to be your friend as they've all lived here for a million years and are married to school people and still friends with school people. No room for new outsiders. But then again women here are pretty bitchy and cliquey so it could be more than just the town.

Oh god. You're scaring me. I'm about to.move to a small town. Will I have no friends?!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 05-Dec-12 22:14:57

some small towns are nice, honestly. I live in between two and have found people very friendly.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 05-Dec-12 22:15:42

sorry, that wasn't very sympathetic. It sounds grim OP

Heroine Wed 05-Dec-12 22:16:00

Read 'watching the english' by Kate someone or other - she explains how the English will stand next to the same people at the same busstop morning in morning out and won't speak to them for fear that they will never be able to stop talking to them no matter how they feel, but that if someone falls over in front of the bus stop they will all be chatting about how they nearly did that once, or practically slapping each other's backs with mirth and concern.. but then next day shut down to the usual crap nod-at-best shit social skills.

I heard recently that 'the english don't like to look up in case its raining' its more like they are afraid that they will lose a bit of their soul if two souls collide

( I am english origin by the way, just been somewhere else too!) The English think their unfriendly coldness is the correct adult way to behave and are quite shocked to find that the rest of the world is different and they are the weird ones!

The rules are relaxed in cities btw,.

gimmecakeandcandy Wed 05-Dec-12 22:16:51

Name and shame these places!

IvantaOuiOui Wed 05-Dec-12 22:17:49

It was like that when I lived in Whitehaven. Now I live in a suburb of Warrington and people are nice!

Come to Newcastle! I can't get nowt done around here for people stopping to chat / cooing over dd / asking for directions. I love it.

It was sympathetic to me Humphrey - thank you!

FWIW, I've always found that if I make the effort to talk to someone then they respond really well. Other mums in parks / walking babies in the street are particularly responsive.

<prays it's the same in new town or I'll be very lonely!>

I have moved lots (7 houses 8 years), towns, villages, middle of nowhere. Some towns I have made friends, but other places only eventually. My most recent move has been the best, been here less than a month(moved from a house in a different local authority, but only 12 miles). I'm amazed how friendly people are here, it is lovely. People say hello on the street & in the playground!

NanBullen Wed 05-Dec-12 22:28:33

I've lived in a village just outside of cambridge for the last 12 years and i'm still to make friends. the sort who you can phone for a chat and invite round. I "know" a lot of people through work but they all have ready made friendship groups and i'm just not included.

i made some friends through an ante natal group but they seemed to fade away back to their own established groups. Am trying new baby groups at the moment but as another poster said, the women there are remarkable unfriendly!

This never happened to me up north. people speak to each other there! here they look at you as if you're mad if you try and strike up a conversation. sigh.

I do have friends btw, just not here! i'm not a total sad sack....

takataka Wed 05-Dec-12 22:34:50

I have lived in lots and lots of different places in England, from small hamlets to large cities....and heroine what you describe, doesnt ring true for any of those places confused

often you get out of people, what you put in. Sometimes in insular places you have to make more effort to break in

quoteunquote Wed 05-Dec-12 22:45:36

start something,

start a choir,
start junk band,
start a play group/baby club,
start a book club,
start a surf club,
start a rambler group,
start nature photography group,
start a lantern parade,
start dog group,
start a cycle club,
start orienteering club,
start a boat club,
start conservation club,
start a guerilla garden club,
start a protest(s),
start a campaign
start litter pick,
start an outdoors art/sculpture club (see andy goldsworthy for inspiration),
start a boat race,
start a pig co op,
start an archeology group,
start an astronomy group,
start a battle of the bands day,
start a local radio station,
start event(s), invite the whole community,
start a charity treasure hunt (adult and child)
start anything that interests you,

These are just some of the things I have started,all still going strong, I want to do something, see something that needs doing, and I start it, all you need is a time a venue (local village hall, church hall, school hall) get the word out, and they will come, take over and then you sit back and enjoy, and everyone has had an introduction, you will find someone you hit it off with,

when you move to a new community or remerge into your old one, you have to bring something to the table, people always feel their lives are jam packed, they soon find a bit of space for you when they realise you are doing something they want to join in with.

so what have you started?

Cailleach Wed 05-Dec-12 22:47:03

I live in a little, very poor South Yorkshire mining village right now where most people have sod all to their name; and I tell you what, it may not be the most desirable area to live in but one thing you are never short of is friendly people and a nice conversation. Everyone in our street knows and talks to each other, we look out for each other.

I lived in Leeds for ten years and found it generally unfriendly, and I lived in quite upmarket areas when I was there.

CoolaYuleA Wed 05-Dec-12 22:51:08

Ivanta - I love Whitehaven and have no problems finding people to talk to! But then I think I am accepted because DH is from there. He left when he was five but he's still "one of us", and he has a lot of family there, so fits into the "ah, your mam is so and so's sister, the lal lass who moved away. YOU know - so and so whose Mam and Dad lived on Blah Blah Avenue!" So I'm now "Ah! You're so and so's wife, his mam was the lal lass who moved away. So and so's sister - their Mam and Dad lived on Blah Blah Avenue." Yup - that's me grin.

Mind you they don't even like people from the towns nearby (Maryport lol!) so chances of them liking unrelated incomers was always going to be slim to none.

Cailleach, it's strange how people in more affluent areas are less friendly. We live in a affluent (well, it seems affluent to us) area and most people are stand-offish, yet when we lived in a W Mids city, which appeared to be less affluent, people were friendlier confused

icclebabyjesusheave Wed 05-Dec-12 22:54:48

I lived in a small town like this. We moved there as we liked the area and we'd only come from the other side of the fecking county, but walking down the street, one of the locals said "Fucking foreigners" as me and DH as we walked past. Things only got better when we had the DCs as technically we'd given birth to locals.

There are loads of places like this, mainly in rural (but not commuter-belt rural) places.

Spero Wed 05-Dec-12 22:57:31

Cambridge was the worst place for this. People actively unfriendly and quite weird.

baublesandbaileys Wed 05-Dec-12 22:58:14

I did start things, I did organise things, I did go up and talk to people rather than wait for people to talk to me...

all the things that work a treat in every other town/village/city I've lived in... did not work in that town!

I would have been patronising to the OP too before living there and said "oh you just need to get out there, other people are shy too so make the first move" etc

Then I found out that there are places where none of that works! Some places are just unfriendly to the bone and nothing works! I tried it all! I persevered! I left and moved somewhere else where tried just a handful of the things I had been doing in the unfriendly town and people responded well and I made friends, like I usually do!

icclebabyjesusheave Wed 05-Dec-12 22:58:46

I am pissing myself that someone has mentioned Maryport and Whitehaven. I was too polite to name west Cumbria!

Its not even because you're not Cumbrian, its because you're not from that exact community. grin

garlicbaubles Wed 05-Dec-12 22:59:12

GOD, YES!!! I've lived here five years sad It's a small rural market town. Most of the residents were born in the street they now live in, or round a few corners. The only other place I've lived in that was so isolating was Pwllheli, and they at least had the excuse that they were militantly Welsh-speaking (funnily enough, I learned the Welsh for "We're closed" pretty quickly.)

Everywhere else I've lived - in England and abroad - it's never taken longer than ten days to make some friends. Here, I'm still at the "rotten weather" stage of communication. I posted in MN Local as soon as it was up ... but nobody from the entire county has posted anything else, let alone replied to me. [sigh]

NanBullen Wed 05-Dec-12 23:00:44

agree spero I'm also thinking of trying the local wi (oh the shame) i'm that fed up!

upstart68 Wed 05-Dec-12 23:04:20

Same here. Small market town. I've got two friends after 7 years of trying. It's not so much that people don't talk to you, it's more that people are all of a specific type and if you're not that type, it's hopeless. I'd like to move back to a city.

icclebabyjesusheave Wed 05-Dec-12 23:06:00

I started something very important quoteunquote. I started expanding the gene pool. <smug>

Cailleach Wed 05-Dec-12 23:07:27

FatherHankTree, yep, that's been my experience as well....Round here people are definitely Poor But Nice...('Nice', not 'naice', mind you! ;) )

Spero Wed 05-Dec-12 23:11:50

'all you need is a venue ...' hollow laugh.

I have lived in loads of different places, never changed who I am, always tried to be outgoing etc. Some places just suck.

Cailleach, definitely, at the risk of sounding like a reverse snob wink I prefer 'nice' to 'naice'.

Oh.bugger. This is not helping. It's cumbria I'm moving to.

treedelivery Wed 05-Dec-12 23:14:08

I hear ya! We are over 50 miles from the nearest larger town/city and I don't think that helps one tiny bit.

However, I have found that once you hit school age, it all improves. Maybe there is simply more choice or maybe we are all slightly unhinged when we have toddlers.....who knows. I didn't have a single 'local' numbe rin my ohone for years, until my children hit school age.

Now things are much better smile so there is hope!

ThisIsMummyPig Wed 05-Dec-12 23:17:29

I am from a small Yorkshire mining town, but DH's family are all in the home counties. I try and start up converstaions with strangers, in their local parks and they literally shield their children and move them away.

They couldn't get over that people talk to you in shops up here, or god forbid say hello when you are walking down the street.

SugarplumMary Wed 05-Dec-12 23:17:37

Yes - town in Midlands.

Nearly six years - constantly daily out and about in the local community taking part and doing stuff. I have multiple DC which also increase contact opportunities.

I now have many acquaintances – people you have five minute chat some days of which a disproportionately high number of blow ins like us then rest mainly locals who spent years living in other places.

Though increasing numbers of actual stay put locals some days acknowledge and talk to me – ones who spent years seeing me multiple times a day in various locations.

No friends though and most of the neighbours don't even say hello.

In contrast lived less than 2 years in a northen city surburb - knew whole street, loads and loads of acquaintances and many friends and several very close friends.

I could put even more effort in but TBH I suspect it would just lead to more people to have a vague hello to. It also feels like my DC also get left out a bit as I'm not in with the 'local crowd'. It's much worse than the village I grew up in - my parents struggled but us DC were considered local.

I just want to leave now - I think 6 years of daily effort is a good try.

treedelivery Wed 05-Dec-12 23:17:43

Cumbria. Hmmm. You may have a similar experience to me then, I am in similar town but t'other coast.

Best of luck grin

Seriously, it might be fine. Loads of people here absolutely love it, so I've come to conclusion I am both antisocial and unpleasant. Magic combination.

garlicbaubles Wed 05-Dec-12 23:21:18

Great. So all I need is a school-age child. Trouble is, I can't kidnap one ... they're all related one way and another, somebody would recognise it hmm

silvercup Wed 05-Dec-12 23:23:38


you've started a local radio station in a village hall? are you sure?

BudeSeaPool Wed 05-Dec-12 23:27:05


Lots of people who've never lived anywhere else.
Lots of people who slept with other peoples current partners/family so they don't mix 15 years on.
Local family take up a lot of time so they just don't need more company.

They're just not into me grin

upstart68 Wed 05-Dec-12 23:27:14

I've come to conclusion I am both antisocial and unpleasant.

Me too! I've been sitting here all day thinking that, after a particularly disastrous social event yesterday. smile

There should be a special small town for people like us.

garlicbaubles Wed 05-Dec-12 23:30:11

upstart grin It'd be fab, we can all bond over bumsex Fridays and slagging off unfriendly small towns - and exclude anybody with the nerve to move in without an invite!

treedelivery Wed 05-Dec-12 23:30:16

Actually having read some of the experiences here, my place is just fine. I've met some lovely mums and people with shared interests. People are generally friendly in shops and all that. My place of work is lovely, a really fab group of people.

But yes, moving to a small and perhaps isolated or insulated area can have initial challenges.

Liek the time a mum at a tots group asked me exactly what street I lived on, what car I had and then moved seat.

On 2nd thoughts, maybe it's just mums and tots groups that are the work of the devil.

treedelivery Wed 05-Dec-12 23:33:43

Oooo. MNborough.

Can we handpick our shops? Naice ham shops and Pombear shops. Every shop flanked with parent and child spaces (with armed gaurds). A huge pound shop cunningly disguised with bunting and ALDI would do online shopping.

MrsMushroom Wed 05-Dec-12 23:34:25

It's taken me FIVE years to make friends in this town. We didn't know anyone and I made no friends until DD began school. Then we moved to a new school and I made even more. Toddler groups are shit really. NO offence to people who enjoy them....but they're not for parents unless you're lucky enough to know someone already.

quoteunquote Wed 05-Dec-12 23:35:06


Not going to give you the details of the one I'm involved in as you will tune and listen to my ramblings,

but these chaps copied ours, and will be glad to advise you to help you set up yours, nice bunch

then you can invite anyone along to be interviewed on your show,

I warn you, you get hounded by men and teenagers wanting a DJ spot to torture everyone with their mixing.


I might have to move to MNbrough instead. Will there be wine?

treedelivery Wed 05-Dec-12 23:39:35

Even organic wine if you like.

All socks sold will be cashmere or cashmere mix.

And any scarves earmarked by Style and Beauty will be onsale by close of business.

MNborough or MNbrough? Hmm.

UnrequitedSkink Wed 05-Dec-12 23:42:14

Arf at icclebabyjesus - I started something very important quoteunquote. I started expanding the gene pool. <smug> - god knows they need it in W.Cumbria! grin

upstart68 Wed 05-Dec-12 23:45:21

It sounds lovely. I'd like a college which does free courses at times I can go. Nice crafty things. Nice neighbours (obviously with cats that don't poo in your garden). All the teachers would be like Miss Hooley. Hmm what else...

BudeSeaPool Wed 05-Dec-12 23:46:13

Treedelivery I've had the whole, car/location thing, combine that with the book band my DS is on and some website should churn out some suggestions.

It's not too bad here. Some year groups seem to be impossible harder work then others. Some cliques seem to sweep up or scare anyone off.
Some operate a restricted numbers game - a new person can't be admitted untill an old one is fallen out with in a terminal manner.

There also is n't much movement between groups, once your bedded down with one group, it's seen disloyal to invest any time with a different set of mums. This is hard for me since there is quite a big gap between my three and I had DD1 quite young so I'm on the edge of a few groups.

I'm also pretty social rather then looking for a static best friends forever thing. We're moving next year so will be pleased with a fresh start. The unspoken affliation network is too complicated for me.

BudeSeaPool Wed 05-Dec-12 23:50:35

Can we have a drop in lunchtime meet up every week, in a pub. No invites, no whispered guest list discussion, just turn up and order your own choice of beverage and crisp product. Sit down in next available seat and chat to whoever is around. Simple.

TackyChristmastreedelivery Wed 05-Dec-12 23:54:50

Gosh. Hardcore selection criteria - by bookband.

It isn't that bad here, it also isn't a very middle class area, it's firmly working class majority. So the snobby element isn't too bad - but then the shops are pants grin.

I hope you are moving to more friendly waters with a cosmopolitan edge. I have come to the conclusion I was meant to live in a capital city.

I have, however, met some seriously lovely people in the last couple of years. So I am feeling more at home. It's take 8 years to find them though!

Council tax in MNborough would include AmazonPrime.

Can the pub have a playground that I can see from the warmth of the bar?

Can we have a waitrose with lidl prices?

TackyChristmastreedelivery Thu 06-Dec-12 00:01:32

Course we can.

But don't forget we have an Aldi that does online.

And the online delivery people will bring the groceries in, unpack them, put them away and remove the 50 plastic bags as they go. After sorting out the out of date stuff in your fridge.

TackyChristmastreedelivery Thu 06-Dec-12 00:03:01

Also there will be good public loos at every street corner and in every childs play area/park. With hand lotion.

upstart68 Thu 06-Dec-12 00:06:42

Some operate a restricted numbers game - a new person can't be admitted untill an old one is fallen out with in a terminal manner

That's so true!

We moved to a small market town in Wiltshire when I was in the early stage of pregnancy with dd2. Dd1 was a toddler and so I launched myself into all the local toddler and play groups in an effort to meet people.

We knew no one in this town and so I was really keen to make new friends and have people to talk too. We lived on a small culdesac and I thought we ould be bound to strike up a conversation or two with the nieghbours. But no. No ne wanted to know.

Even when dd2 was born - no one enquired if everything was okay or gave us any congratulations. It made me rather depressed to be honest and I was very isolated as I had no family near by.

So we moved to Belgium, where I dont speak the language and knew no one. But I became part of a vibrant expat community and began to think maybe its not me!

Then we moved to New Zealand and I have made a good bunch of mates and have never been happier. So its not me! Honestly! Some areas or communities are just very difficult to break into I think. I think it is a very isolationist and inward looking way to be - it can really have a huge impact on peoples lives. I feel very sad looking back on that time now. The first year of dd2s life was quite miserable for me. So now I find I make an effort to make new folk as welcome as possible.

IvantaOuiOui Thu 06-Dec-12 07:27:30

Whitehaven was very hard work especially as a brand new mum miles from our families. The local kids set fire to our hedge and chucked a brick at our window. Was very happy when we moved away and have never been back.

BudeSeaPool Thu 06-Dec-12 07:29:09

I nominate quoteunquote with her impressive list as the Mayor of MNborough.

Our house/car loves a local Radio station, the one at Lewes Bonfire night is particularly bad in a good way.

IvantaOuiOui Thu 06-Dec-12 07:29:50

The first week we were in Warrington I had a lovely lady give me her phone number in a park because I told her I was new to the area and we had kids the same age. We're still good friends 9 years later. I couldn't believe it.

BudeSeaPool Thu 06-Dec-12 07:32:41

Who shall we twinned with?
I suggest we turn down small towns in the Franco-Belgium border region and approach Narnia or Diagon Alley.

MrsDeVere Thu 06-Dec-12 07:45:55

I moved a small town when I was a child.
It was bloody vile.

I blew that Popsicle stand when I was about 15 and came back to friendly, homely old London Town.

The only way I am leaving here is if I have a Victorian rectory waiting fr me in Brighton.

That is fairly unlikely though.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thu 06-Dec-12 07:53:59

I had the opposite experience. When I adopted my first baby I still lived in the town I was born in and raised in.

I nervously attended my first mother and toddler session and found the most unfriendly bunch of women I've ever encountered. My DS eventually took a shine to a 6 month old baby and I exchanged a few words with his mum. At the end of the session she came up to me and begged me to come back next week as she had been coming for weeks and I was the first person who had ever acknowledged her! We are still friends now 7 years later even though I've now moved away.

A year later I moved to a small town 10 miles away where I knew no one. First day at the new toddler group I was given the loveliest welcome ever. I have made so many good friends since I moved here.

I have noticed though that the mums in my DDs class are a lot less friendly than the mums I met through my DS. I'm an outgoing person but I find them hard work and they will drop you mid conversation as soon as they see one of their friends arrive at the school gate. I put it down to the fact that they are all a lot younger than me ( I'm in my 40s and they are all late 20's early 30's) but it may just be at they very wrapped up in their own established friendship group.

As for making friends outside of your children's social circle , I joined a running club and have made a nice group of friends through that .

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Thu 06-Dec-12 07:54:41

We've lived here in a village in the Derbyshire Dales for about 6 years. We were made very welcome indeed. My husband is well known in the village and everyone says hi. He is never short of company in the pub grin

I've just started to make a couple of friends. But the difference between me and my husband is he got out there, went to where the people were, was friendly and chatty, and I was not. So it took me longer.

The town I grew up in - I was never part of it. A mining village and, like someone else said upthread, I spoke differently. Didn't have the local accent and they considered me 'posh'. Our family weren't part of the town at all.

Chandon Thu 06-Dec-12 07:56:49

I find living in a village that is commutable from London great.

We are DFLers in the eyes of the locals, but there are so many of us we cannot be ignoree. We stick together, and obey the "rules", ie we buy things at the local shop, volunteer for community projects, go to the local pub, etc.

You have to give a bit, and get a lot.

Fact is though, wherever you go, nobody is waiting for you.

In one place I set up baby mornings at my house every Tuesday just to meet people. And I have joined lots of courses, invited the whol street for drinks once.

You have to FIGHT your way in, imo wink

My aunt lived in a village 60 years, brought up three children who I turn had seven children between them who all have their own kids and they ALL live in village.

But when she died she was still known as the woman who came from town!

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Thu 06-Dec-12 08:08:57


a few years ago, I lived near Bakewell.

I got talking to an elderly lady in the doctors one day. She could tell I wasn't local and she said she wasn't either. She'd only lived there since she got married half a century or more ago! grin

She was telling me about this woman whose family had probably evolved from a pool of primordial soup under where the bakewell pudding shop now stands. Apparently, this woman was talking down to her and said "well, of course, I'm BAKEWELL"

To which the only acceptable response was "Oh? Tart or pudding?"


Brightlingsea is like that, I went to school there but lived outside of it. Dp lived there until he was 21. Most of our peers from school who went to uni have finished uni and went straight back, moved into homes down the road from their parents and have settled down. Newbies to the town aren't really trusted and you need to put in a lot of pub time to get accepted if you're in you're twenties or younger! Bit boring really. Dp was never really accepted. I wasn't either. We buggered off to brighton instead ;)

GetorfsaMotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 06-Dec-12 08:11:14

I grew up in one of these local towns for local people - I was a 'local' so it was all right but it was still horrible because I was always 'x's granddaughtr, y's niece' all of that. I was very pleased to move away permanently.

I have also lived in a crappy village, hamlet really, full of miserable types, and I was considered a complete outsider and townie because I came from a (very small) town about 15 miles away. I hated every minute of the place. YARNSCOMBE - you can go to hell.

I now live in a city, which despite being a bit scummy is full of friendly, chatty people. I will never go back to living in a town or village again.

valiumredhead Thu 06-Dec-12 08:22:18

I have moved a lot and I completely agree that some places are SO much harder than others. Where I am now took probably a couple of months, when I lived in Devon I found it unbelievably difficult and actually didn't enjoy living there at all.

MoreBeta Thu 06-Dec-12 08:22:42

We live in a provincial town. I like the place but the people drive me mad.

There are 3 groups.

Outsiders: like me are from places in the South East or overseas who eventually find each other and all agree that the 'locals' are unfriendly so we all become instant friends and find we have lots in common and an interest outside the walls of the city.

Insider 'county set': who all went to local private schools and married someone they knew at school. They control all the property and business in the town and do favours for each other.

Inside 'working class': who all went to local comprehensive schools and married someone they knew at school. They all know people on the local council or local labour union and do favours for each other.

Everyone else with half an ounce of gumption and drive left years ago.

mummytime Thu 06-Dec-12 09:47:47

I live in a wealthy town outside London and its the friendliest place I think I've ever lived.

On the other hand a friend lived in a poorer small town in Wiltshire and found it very unfriendly, no one wanted to know when they discovered she hadn't gone to the local school. But then again she was treated as elderly by having a baby at 25 ish.

I visited a village for a week and was completely ignored and they were very rude. I was told by another outsider she had lived their 30 years and was still ignored.

I put pay to that by asking the snotty woman in the shop how long her family lived there and when she said 120 years i replied oh you will know my great grandad, i had traced my family back to at least the 1800s there, they only moved during WW2!

icclebabyjesusheave Thu 06-Dec-12 10:48:21

Much though I love, love, LOVE living here, despite the rain, Cumbria is very insular indeed. If you come here on holiday you will be given a very warm welcome. Tourism, after all, is very important to the economy and we enjoy your company in our many tea-rooms and National Trust properties. But deep down, we hate you.

We hate the way that you think that your North Face Jackets give you immunity from being hit by a car as you walk across the roads without looking. We hate the way that getting anywhere in the summer takes sodding ages and that unless we want to buy hiking boots, its pretty difficult to shop. We also hate the way you stop, suddenly, on the pavement to look at the same bloody mountain that was there the last time you came.

But don't take this personally, as most of all, we hate each other and regard the next town as an enemy, only finding common ground to unite together in our dislike of incommers. To help you avoid this thorny problem, here is a quick guide to living in Cumbria.

Where will I not be noticed too much as an incommer?

1. Carlisle.

Where can I live as an incommer, without being stared at in a menacing fashion?

1. Kendal
2. Keswick
3. Bowness
4. Ambleside
5. Brampton
6. Grange-over-Sands
7. Penrith (mostly)
8. Ulverston (well if you ask nicely)
9. Dalton-in-Furness (Well, it does have the most dangerous road in the UK leading to it)
10. Barrow-in-furness (so long as you avoid most of the town)

Where will I be viewed with distrust and be considered an outsider till the day I leave or die, whichever happens first?

Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Aspatria, Shap, Dalston, Appleby, Dent, Cleator Moor, Edenhall, Brough, Seascale, Egremont, Allonby, Cockermouth, Armathwaite, Haverigg, Wigton, Threkeld, Pardshaw, Orton, Millom, Silloth... Actually, just get an A-Z of Cumbria and pick a town.

<peers with distrust at Mumsnet>

BreconBeBuggered Thu 06-Dec-12 11:14:03

Oh God, this thread is so funny and bloody tragic. I've lived all over the place, and was dead smug about how easy it was to fit in in places like Newcastle, Glasgow, and bits of South Wales. You just have to give a bit, make the effort, talk to people, right? No.
Tiny illustration - when I lived near Glasgow, other mums would often stop and offer us a lift down the hill to the school. Not people I knew that well, but recognised from the school gates or nursery. This was lovely as the hill was steep and more often than not it would be pissing down. More horizontally than down, really. Anyway. We moved to somewhere near the east coast. School was up a hill. One day a few months in a car stopped beside me near the bottom of the road and a school mum I recognised wound down her window and called out 'Do you want a lift up?' I gratefully went round to the passenger seat and she looked at me in astonishment and said 'No, not you - HER', pointing at her friend who'd been walking behind me.
I slunk away mortified as they drove off up the hill. I don't live there any more, but I bet the locals here would do the same thing. They know who you are and where you live the second you move in, but they have no need to fucking know you.

CremeEggThief Thu 06-Dec-12 11:35:43

Reading these stories makes me feel grateful for what I have, in the village on the outskirts of a small city in the North East. Since moving here three years ago, I have two friends to go for coffee with (one every week or two. One every two to three weeks.); a neighbour I pop into every month or so on average; two or three mums/grandparents who give me lifts on the school run; and another two mums who don't really have time or space, but keep in touch via text.

But I am still lonely and it isn't enough... Sorry, I wish I could be truly grateful and I feel bad about it, because it's better than what a lot of people have. But for me, going through a marriage breakdown, it isn't enough. And I don't know what to do about it, as DS is happy in his school.

PropertyNightmare Thu 06-Dec-12 12:01:26

In terms of friendliness, I would say that Sheffield and Newcastle would top the polls.

upstart68 Thu 06-Dec-12 12:26:21

CremeEgg - I don't know what to do either. DD is happy at school, the childminder's, activities. But I am so unhappy living here. The trouble is it's a small place. So if you summon up the courage the try something new, the same people will invariably be there.

Would be interesting to hear experiences from people who did make a move for this reason and how it worked out.

KenLeeeeeee Thu 06-Dec-12 13:00:52

The MN local board where I live im empty apart from one post by me <wails>

I want friends, dammit! Can I come live in MNBorough? I'll bring naice wine...

LettyAshton Thu 06-Dec-12 13:09:25

I have lived in my road for 8 years. We are still referred to as "the people who live in Debbie's house".

I have stood at the school gate for 8 years. I have spoken to about 8 people in that time. I always get the darting eye look where they're peering over your shoulder for a "real" friend. One time someone invited me for coffee. I accepted in a pathetically eager fashion and then discovered she had omitted to mention it was a bloody Phoenix Cards thing and she must have been trawling round for some schmuck who hadn't already been nobbled.

I do not like this place.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 06-Dec-12 13:15:27

I live in a very small place in South Yorkshire, the people here are very friendly, I was quite surprised by how welcoming they were when I first moved here. Before this, I lived in a medium sized town in North Yorkshire, and the locals were some of the most antisocial people I've ever met. Every single friend I met there was an incomer, I didn't know one local person I would describe as anything more than an acquaintance.

I think my own home town in the Midlands would be the same, people there really don't like new people - and still consider them to be new even when they've lived there for a decade or two.

TackyChristmastreedelivery Thu 06-Dec-12 13:23:28

The north Yorkshire thing seems to he a theme! confused wonder why?

Although I'm pretty comfortable with the fact that I'm antisocial and unpleasant grin

Chelvis Thu 06-Dec-12 13:27:05

Ditto to, well, everyone! My DH is the local, so he's fine, but I am not even accepted by his friends and their partners. All his friends married girls they went to school with, moved into houses no more than a mile from where they grew up, visit their parents 3/4+ times a week and work locally. I am apparently considered very unreasonable for expecting DH to stay with my family alternative Christmases and they are all appalled that I have "pushed him" (his decision) into taking a job "miles away" (8 miles, 30 mins at rush hour in the car). I have one local friend, everyone else is an outsider. Cannot wait until we sell up and move somewhere nicer!

minouminou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:34:05

This is why I live in a cosmopolitan city - most people are incomers.
I lived in a tiny Welsh village for several years while growing up, and, bizarrely, we were reasonably well accepted. However, one incident sticks in my mind.....

Our playpark was overlooked by some houses, and, at the age of 12, maybe, I got into an altercation with another girl. This girl went to the other secondary school, and I had never really seen her before.....
Anyhoo, turns out she lived in one of the houses overlooking the park (which makes my never having noticed her before a bit odd, but never mind).
After we'd had our row and near-fight (which looking back seemed staged), her mother appeared over the hedge, screeching in Welsh.

A friend translated for me: "Well done, Gwennan (or similar). She's been a BITCH since she came here!"

I genuinely had no idea who these people were.....and I wasn't known for my bitchy nature. I think her silly bloody mother had some kind of chip on her shoulder....I had never even spoken to her before.

impty Thu 06-Dec-12 13:34:44

I've lived all over gradually moving from North to South. In a town in the midlands it took 5 years to make a good friends, then of course we had to move. People weren't unfriendly just slow at coming forward. This was highlighted when I moved as a neighbour pointed out that she liked me but thought she had lots more time to become friends confused

So now live in SE and was terrified that it would be even harder. It's been lovely. Mostly because lots of people have moved here from other places, and know how hard it can be.

minouminou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:35:43

That's it, Impty. Friends can become like replacement family.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 06-Dec-12 13:36:52

At a party DD was invited to last year, the boy's grandmother said to me that I would never be accepted in our town until I had lived here 25 years shock. So 15 years to go then perhaps people will be a bit friendlier.

poshfrock Thu 06-Dec-12 13:38:33

I'm glad it's not just me. We lived in a town in a suburban part of Leeds for 10 years ( maybe the same one as you kfs) and I only made 2 friends, both mothers of my daughter's friends and neither lived in the same town but a couple of miles away where all the kids went to school. I went to the same church for 7 years and when I turned up at the annual all churches carol singing concert I was asked which church I was from by the woman I had been sititing next to for the last 5 years !

6 months ago we moved to a village on the South Yorks/North Lincs border. My daughter quickly made friends with a girl a couple of doors down and I went to collect her one day and spent maybe 20 minutes chatting to her mum. When I saw the mum again a few days later at school she completley blanked me and has done so ever since. I work full time so don't really get the chance to speak to people in the playground. My childminder is the same age as me and whenever she mentions girls' nights out I say it would be lovely to go out but I don't really know anyone yet; there's never been an invitation to join in. People in the shops seem lovely and friendly and I've chatted to them quite a bit so I think people are generally nice but I just can't seem to find anyone to be "friends" with. I think it must be me.

neriberi Thu 06-Dec-12 13:38:41

I moved out of London back to my home town when I fell pregnant and have found it impossible to make friends and maintain friendships, it doesn't help that I work full-time. I've met a few mums who I thought I clicked with but I've only maintained contact with one of them who I now count as friend, otherwise no one is interested in being my friend, even though I have an amazing support network of close family around me I miss the escapism and companionship a decent friendship gives you. I feel extremely lonely sometimes...

minouminou Thu 06-Dec-12 13:41:28

See, Duchess, I'd put my foot in it by telling her that she needed to get out more.

I've got no tolerance for that nonsense at all.
There's several places that I think of as home, because I've lived there for long enough. A frenemy who has only ever lived in one depressing Lancashire town mocks this: "Oh, such-and-such a place is now on your list of "homes" then, now?" as if it's some kind of fey fad.
I had to pull her up and explain that I'd lived in more places than fucking Leyland in my life, and that you aren't a actually put down roots.

IncaAztec Thu 06-Dec-12 13:46:02

Pleased to hear I am not alone and want to be resident of MN town. Have taken to keeping a tally of everytime I speak with anyone in this town (north Staffs).
Will be a very low number I reckon.
By the way, am not weird or deliberatly under or over chatty either. I just cant stand the borderline rudeness of the vague nod (if lucky) and then ignore.
My mate had the same problem in a town called brandon (ipswich way) so with her permission, am going to name and shame here.

IvantaOuiOui Thu 06-Dec-12 13:46:30

icclebabyjesusheave I love your guide to Cumbria. I will never go back.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 06-Dec-12 13:46:37

The small town I live in in West Cornwall is the friendliest place I have ever lived. You would think it a prime candidate for the sort of shit described here but I love it.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 06-Dec-12 13:50:30

I wonder why all this happens? It's as though some people regard those who want to make friends as weak in some way, and therefore they assume the upper hand? It's like a power thing.

Stems from their own crappy insecurity I reckon.

CremeEggThief Thu 06-Dec-12 13:59:47

The thing is, these people who aren't friendly have no idea, as they would never have dreamed of moving away from their roots in the first place. They can't empathise, as they have no experience of being "the outsider".

CremeEggThief Thu 06-Dec-12 14:00:30

The thing is, these people who aren't friendly have no idea, as they would never have dreamed of moving away from their roots in the first place. They can't empathise, as they have no experience of being "the outsider".

CremeEggThief Thu 06-Dec-12 14:01:09

Oops! Apologies for double post!

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 06-Dec-12 14:06:25

small towns are awful. What you need is a continuous flow of new people like in a city or university town. Then there are always people needing to make new friends. I can think of some small towns esp round the NW Leics area which are truly like Royson Vasey. It's miles healthier for the gene pool too

garlicbaubles Thu 06-Dec-12 14:09:24

I discussed this with a mental health support worker. She said that, since everyone grew up here and is vaguely related to everyone else (exaggeration, but there is a "local face"!), it puts tremendous pressure on everybody to conform. When they suffer, they suffer in silence sad It is, according to her, a fear-based society. Pressure to conform is so intense that locals might risk 'shame' if they admit a stranger, who doesn't know all the unspoken rules.

The area runs on dodgy deals and backhanders - the council appears astonishingly corrupt - so there's probably a very real basis for the fear/shame dynamic. Historically, the region was cut off from the rest of the country by floods for six to eight months of the year. I imagine that led to a sort of inward-looking self governance.

It's very pretty, but I wish I could afford to get back to the smoke!

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 06-Dec-12 14:11:31

TackyChristmastreedelivery I'm sure you're lovely smile

Not sure if it's a North Yorks thing specifically, just that particular town. They didn't even like people from neighbouring towns and villages. Or even local people who'd lived elsewhere for a while - they were considered to have got above themselves.

emblosion Thu 06-Dec-12 14:17:50

I live in a smallish town in Northern Ireland & am originally from the North of England. I have to say everyone here is very friendly - friendlier than I've found in big cities in the past.

It can be hard to go past the 'acquaintance' to 'friend' stage I think - everyone knows everyone else & is already in established friendship groups - usually from primary school. You just have to keep putting yourself out there til you find someone you click with.

I think the main part of it is finding people you actually have more things in common with, rather than just the fact (for example) that you both have a baby, or are both 'outsiders', if that makes sense.

I've been here 4 years now and have a couple of lovely friends, but its taken a long time to build the relationships beyond the superficial - that's life though!

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Thu 06-Dec-12 14:18:15

"small towns are awful. What you need is a continuous flow of new people like in a city or university town. Then there are always people needing to make new friends. I can think of some small towns esp round the NW Leics area which are truly like Royson Vasey. "

I don't think small towns are necessarily awful, but I do agree about a flow of incomers. Where I live now could be a prime candidate for Royston Vasey status, but it isn't like that at all. I think because of the industrial history of the area there were influxes of new people every ten years or so as the mines and steel works expanded. So now, even if someone was born here, it's very unlikely that their parents or grandparents were.

ArkadyRose Thu 06-Dec-12 14:24:05

Even in big cities you can end up in "small village mentality" communities. It's a bit like that in Walthamstow - it's actually called the Village, and centres around St Mary's church. I've only really made one actual friend among the local parents, though since all the furore over asbestos being found at the school blew up I've found myself getting on more "nodding acquaintance & chat" terms with the other parents who also kicked up a fuss - we're the troublemakers, most of whom already knew each other but seem to be gradually accepting me into the fringes of the group. DD3 has really taken to another girl in one of the other Y1 classes, so I've been chatting to her mum recently.

Having come from St Albans in Hertfordshire where you can live for 20 years and still be the newcomer, I'm used to seeing it from the side of being one of the locals. If I didn't already have a good circle of non-parenting-related friends already I would feel very isolated.

BadRoly Thu 06-Dec-12 14:26:29

This such a sad thread to read really. I grew up in a small North Yorkshire village but escaped went to uni in Birmingham and never went back :D

I've since lived in Gloucester, Rugby, Banbury and now Cornwall. I found Banbury easy to make friends and I've found it easy here too. I was surprised here like Ariel says, as I thought it might be very "them and us".

CremeEggThief I think that is where a lot if it stems from. I haven't made many friends with the other school mums because the majority have lived here all their lives and already have their friends. The majority of my friends here are 'incomers'

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 06-Dec-12 14:30:16

OK some small towns are awful, but when I think of all of the small towns near me in the East Mids when I was growing up I would say about 70% of them were pretty awful. The ones that were OK had good geographical mobility. Many of them just stagnated with everyone being related to everyone else. Yuck.

Osmiornica Thu 06-Dec-12 14:31:36

NanBullen I also live in a village outside Cambs and it's exactly the same (same one? Are you north or south of cambs?). It's quite odd how noone wants to make friends and how miserable they are round here.

I was walking behind a couple of women the other day (women I'd tried to make conversation with in the past but was ignored) and overheard one saying how she couldn't be arsed to talk to anyone new and she had plenty of friends and didn't need any new ones. Well that told me then (I admit that it probably wasn't aimed at me - I doubt they would have given me a second though to be honest let alone have a conversation about me).

This thread is making me homesick .. I want to go back sad

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 06-Dec-12 14:32:51

and yes agree that in any community the incomers tend to make friends with other incomers. None of my friends bar one are local, however there is plenty of choice as it is a very mobile community

garlicbaubles Thu 06-Dec-12 14:50:57

Arkady, I found that in Wimbledon, too. It was my nearest 'centre' for five years but I gave up on it. Luckily there's plenty of choice in London - not so in countryside towns. It is all about mobility, isn't it; both social and geographic.

SomeBear Thu 06-Dec-12 14:54:17

I've moved a lot since having DCs - including NW Leics which was mentioned upthread and was as bad for me as it was for them - and have struggled to make any friends. Part of the problem is with me, I'm painfully shy so I just don't seem to be very good with small talk or putting myself across. I've lived in my current town in the southwest for three years and I honestly haven't got a single friend here. The usual routes in would be through the school or PTA but these seem to be closed sects with secret passwords. In some previous towns I've made friends through playgroups but now my children are at junior school or beyond, that avenue has closed. My eldest daughter is part of a group of eight girls at secondary school and she is the only one of that group who hasn't got a parent who also went to the same school. It's not that I've been deliberately shunned (I hope!), I just don't think people who have been best friends since primary school want an outsider joining them. It is soul destroying though, I would like nothing more than a drink and a gossip in a cafe - it's not the same on your own.

moonstorm Thu 06-Dec-12 17:24:28

CremeEggThief which town are you talking about?

CremeEggThief Thu 06-Dec-12 17:58:35

All I'll say is it's in County Durham, moonstorm. But, in my case, I have found people friendly, but only managed to make two friends that I confide in and have coffee with; I would love some company at night.

Someone else mentioned the divide between acquaintances and friends, which I think is a very valid point.

We lives in Newport Pagnell for 3 bloody years. I even gave birth to DS2 and tried mother and baby groups. Nothing could make anyone even acknowledge us. It was awful. Parents in the school playground would actively avoid eye contact and/or move away from me. I made loads of friends where I'd lived before - friends to hang out with, friend to share babysitting duties, friends who'd be emergency babysitters... So it can't just be me. DH had the same problem.

DS1 struggled to make friends too. He made 2 whole friends despite going to a 3 form primary school and a cubs pack in a slightly different bit of Newport Pagnell. He was bullied for not being English and the bloody teacher punished him for it.

I have never been so happy to leave a place.

bringonyourwreckingball Thu 06-Dec-12 18:13:59

We moved to Sheffield which is generally a pretty friendly place when dd1 was 9 months. It took me 3 years to make proper friends - I work nearly full time, so didn't meet anyone at baby groups, but couldn't make proper friends at work as I could never get to social occasions. So when I got pregnant with dd2 I made it my maternity leave project to make us some friends, starting with NCT. She's now 4 and at school and I finally feel we've reached the tipping point where I'd rather spend weekends with our local friends rather than heading back to visit old friends. I think it does help to be prepared to say 'yes' to any social opportunity which comes your way even if it's not really your thing - one tends to lead to another.

Ah, but social opportunities have to come your way... In some

In some places they just don't.

Ragwort Thu 06-Dec-12 18:33:54

I don't want to sound unkind but I do think you have to make a BIG effort to make friends - we have moved around a lot and I find it really easy to make friends (not 'bestest' friends grin) but people to go out for a coffee with, share childcare that sort of thing. But I am a realy 'joiner' - I always join the PTA, local organisations, support the church etc etc. As quote says, start something up. When I first had my DS there was no baby & toddler group so I started one myself, still going strong many years later even though I have moved away smile.

I see so many people who make very little effort & then complain they haven't any friends. My own DH is a typical example grin - he won't make any effort whatsoever, always finding 'fault' with any suggestion from me as to how to get involved in things, which will lead to making friends. So he sits around being a miserable git !

1605 Thu 06-Dec-12 18:39:00

Ivanta As Kerry Katona is our local 'girl done good', I'm guessing your Warrington suburb is somewhat naicer than my Warrington suburb wink

GetorfsaMotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 06-Dec-12 18:41:00

I absolutely love the guide to Cumbria. I have never been but now really want to in order to stand like a fool in the street with one of those ramblers map holders round my neck.

1605 Thu 06-Dec-12 18:41:49

Some places are just insular and don't need new blood. They certainly don't need some outsider being all gung ho about some new venture, unless it happens to be an NHS dentist.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 06-Dec-12 18:50:29

Here's a good suggestion and is what I did: join a choir. None of this "Oh but I can't sing" nonsense. Choirs welcome new members who can sing along with the others, you won't need to do solos, and singing in a group is so good for people. Sadly it's on the decline in England (not in Wales, don't know about Scotland or NI). And people who choose to be in choirs are generall a friendly bunch.

GreenandwhitePenguin Thu 06-Dec-12 18:52:09

My part of Leics is friendly ,sorry that you don't have that twolittlemonkeys. I think it is perhaps easier in the suburbs rather than in the small villages. Sort of goes against the idea of a great community spirit in villages doesn't it?

Tudge01 Thu 06-Dec-12 18:56:37


Does anyone know anything about Islip? Thinking of moving there....

MoomieAndFreddie Thu 06-Dec-12 18:58:23


there is a facebook mumsnet group for people who would like to make friends...PM me if you want one of us to add you to the group, there are loads and loads of us on there x

Tudge01 Thu 06-Dec-12 19:02:22

Yes please, what's pm?

KenLeeeeeee Thu 06-Dec-12 19:02:26

The town where I grew up (Stoke-on-Trent) is actually very friendly as long as you don't look foreign, like and I never had any trouble striking up conversation with people at bus stops, in cafes and shops or getting to know other parents at baby groups.

MoomieAndFreddie Thu 06-Dec-12 19:12:10

private message - the "message poster" button to the right of the posters name on the blue bar smile

HollyDayzacummin Thu 06-Dec-12 19:12:22

I live in Sheffield and have done so now for over 20 years. I loved it from the minute I arrived and made friends here really, really easily. I would hate to move into my home town as a stranger. My mother was convinced I couldn't get on with women for love nor money, but that miraculously disappeared when I moved to Sheffield. Turned out it wasn't me with the problem...

Can only imagine how hard that would be to move into if you didn't live in the right house, wear the right clothes and drive the right car!!

ipswichwitch Thu 06-Dec-12 19:26:10

cremeeggthief I'm in a small village just outside Durham.
It's friendly here- we moved in 2 years ago almost to the day, and as we were heading off to MILs for Xmas dinner, a middle aged couple passing in a car slowed down, wound the window down and said merry Xmas. No idea who they were at the time (think they live up the top of the estate).

We know all our immediate neighbours and they were all outside last night helping push someone's car off the ice and gritting the road (while me and DS were watching and scoffing chocolate buttons smile )

CremeEggThief Thu 06-Dec-12 19:28:31

<Waves at ipswichwitch> smile.

ipswichwitch Thu 06-Dec-12 19:54:33

<waves back at cremeeggthief>
(now I know whose house to go round when the shop stops selling creme eggs grin)

Thing is sometimes it's hard to meet people or start something up, and after months of repeated rejection you tend to give up. If, for example, you happen to work FT and commute, then there's not much time to meet people. Worse when you work FT (in a place where everyone else commutes and never comes in at that) and are a single parent. You're at work all day and stuck at home after bedtime, and the weekends get filled up with shopping and other necessary tasks so you can get through the next week. And it's surprisingly easy to find yourself having to move hundreds of miles away from everyone you know for work.

When your possibilities for social interaction are reduced to talking to the cashier at the supermarket (like one of those old ladies), you get quite lonely. Sitting being ignored (actively ignored despite your efforts to join in) at mother and baby/toddler groups is No Fun At All. There's only so long you can put up with it before you give up. Same with being avoided in the playground.

noddyholder Thu 06-Dec-12 19:55:52

Brighton is super easy! Come here smile

Ba ha ha actually snorting at laughter at the Cumbrian comments, my DH is from West Cumbria and I can relate to all the comments. Locals actually stare at my daughters and I when we're driving about when up visiting his family and everyone is related to each other, or knows someone who is!

It's a bit far to commute from Brighton though (and we'd have to live in a shoe box). Although the PILs would love it as they live very close to Brighton.

Actually, where we live now is not at all unwelcoming or unfriendly. We're not planning on moving ever again.

In fact, the PILs were amazed at how friendly everyone is up here! I think they still are.

Horsemad Thu 06-Dec-12 20:38:52

I hated Oxford when I worked there, have never met such unfriendly people!

Agree with noddy, Brighton is awesome, best place I've lived smile I've lived in loads of places too.

Most humorously named was Badger's Mount though grin

charlottehere Thu 06-Dec-12 20:50:15

YANBU. I lived in a lancashire village for five years, only started to make friends 3 years in and that was mostly other people who hadn't lived there for three generations. hmm Now live down saff, been here a year, in a village, people so friendly.

borednotboring Thu 06-Dec-12 20:53:28

Another Cambridge village incomer here, it's definitely slightly odd here. We've not been here long, although the neighbours seem nice, definitely difficult make friends.

Nan Bullen and Osmiornica hello - (tries not to look too desperate and needy)

Hobbitation Thu 06-Dec-12 20:57:38

I live in a village, but there are a lot of incomers, and people are very friendly. Probably very few people who live here now grew up here.

NanBullen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:02:34

Osmiornica I'm north west of cambridge, have been in this village for 5 years. made "acquaintances" at baby group a few years ago but they all seem to already have existing friendship groups outside of this and they seem to have just gone back to those now our 1st dcs are at school now. No one i really clicked with.

i'm from up north and i think i just seem to be a bit more working class than people round here! not that people are really posh but quite a few meet up at church (i'm an atheist) and regard having more than one drink as "a bit naughty" confused

I'd just like to go out on the lash occasionally with some girlfriends and not talk about the kids for once! I'm perhaps to lowbrow for this part of the country wink

to be fair, before having kids me and dh were away most weekends either on our own or visiting uni friends or old friends from home so i never really noticed that i didn't have friends here. it's just now that i'm more restricted in time and money that i've realised <dim>

NanBullen Thu 06-Dec-12 21:03:40

hello borednotboring

<offers gin>

Chottie Thu 06-Dec-12 21:04:26

There are some really sad posts on this thread. What a load of narrow minded, unfriendly people there are around. When I was pushing a pram (that gives my age away straightaway!!) people always used to stop and talk to me. Obviously that doesn't happen now.

Perhaps we all should look and if we see someone new joining our class, group or whatever take a moment to say hello and welcome them.

Creamtea1 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:12:23

The thing is, these people who aren't friendly have no idea, as they would never have dreamed of moving away from their roots in the first place. They can't empathise, as they have no experience of being "the outsider".


I wonder why all this happens? It's as though some people regard those who want to make friends as weak in some way, and therefore they assume the upper hand? It's like a power thing.

absolutely hits the nail on the head. I have been wondering if I am a freak for 10 yrs since living here, crying to my DH once about it and missing my best friend (who lives miles away) a lot. But the 2 paragraphs above exactly sum up what the problem is but also, sadly, explain the reason why I will never be able to change things. I will have to be glad of my acquaintances and accept this is it.

And I have never shifted the feeling they don't actually like me that much..

amillionyears Thu 06-Dec-12 21:18:16

Interesting thread this. I think when people come on to MN and say that they have difficulty making friends, we need to remember that sometimes it at least partly be because of the area they live in.

happybubblebrain Thu 06-Dec-12 21:18:17

GreenandwhitePenguin - I agree Leicester is pretty friendly, although most of the friends I've made aren't from Leicester originally. I've heard the villages can be quite unfriendly though.

Brighton is the best place in the UK that I've lived, maybe not the friendliest but I loved living there. If the southeast propery market ever takes a nose dive I will be moving back.

Liverpool is a very friendly place, you only have to sit down for 5 minutes and someone will start talking to you. Whether you want them to or not.

The most unfriendly places I've lived were London, Sheffield and Banbury - in that order.

garlicbaubles Thu 06-Dec-12 21:39:35

Agree about Brighton! I've always found London friendly. It helps that I'm a talker-at-bus-stops; for every suspicious Londoner there's another one who's happy to chat back. There's never any shortage of things to join, if you need to extend your circles, and the population's very transient, meaning most people know what it's like to be new.

Here - well, exactly as Creamtea quoted above. I hid my atheism and tried to join the choir and/or bell ringers. They hold auditions for both and charge a hefty annual fee. The one campanologist who spoke to me said she'd joined to meet people, eleven years back, and still had no interaction with the others outside of the bell tower. I put a notice up in the least stuffy bar/café, proposing a book club. No-one came.

It doesn't help that most people live in outlying villages or on farms. Just popping anywhere isn't an option for them. The villages are extremely weird!

Osmiornica Thu 06-Dec-12 22:18:46

<Waves> to NanBullen and Borednotboring smile

I don't think it's about not making enough effort. I'm not the shyest of people but I've really struggled round here. I think being out of work and not having that group of like minded people around you makes it more difficult.

Hobbitation Thu 06-Dec-12 22:50:36

When I was 17/18 and applying to university, I thought any large town city would be like Manchester (where I'm from) so it didn't matter too much where I went. Ha ha ha ha ha, oh dear. shock

JingleBellsRawSharkSmells Thu 06-Dec-12 23:08:37

I would move if I were you OP

duffybeatmetoit Fri 07-Dec-12 00:44:08

NanBullen don't knock the WI - they were the only group in my village to be genuinely friendly and welcoming, even though most were my mum's age. It has been the only thing that keeps me going. As I work fulltime and am a single parent and am the only person in my situation in the village it's really isolating.

The other mums in the village have been initially friendly but I am always being left out of get togethers and then told about how much fun they were. Followed by a "we must invite you next time" which never happens. I invited a family over for a BBQ which was declined on the grounds that they didn't have enough money to reciprocate and would feel awkward. I suggested a communal party where people brought some food but this was equally beyond their means. Roll forward a couple of weeks and a BBQ is in full swing in their garden hmm.

Resigned to being lonely.

Chottie Fri 07-Dec-12 05:37:08

This is just awful, I am definitely going to chat to any young mum at the bus stop now. I usually chat to older ladies as there are a lot of widows around here.

DuchessofMalfi Fri 07-Dec-12 05:55:40

Oh Duffy it's the old single parent thing isn't it? They think secretly you're a predatory female after their blokes, so they're running scared. Be seen with a bloke and they will be all over you. Double standards. Bitches.

Spinkle Fri 07-Dec-12 06:01:13

I have no friends here at all. I'm not a mad or horrible person but people already have a circle if friends and they don't need me. If they don't know your pedigree (am incomer) they are highly suspicious of you. I used to travel 'home' to see my old mates but it just hurt too much when I came back here. It's been 10 years since I saw them.

I have accepted it now. I have a DS with ASD so going out is tricky in any case. I work but it's not that social there.

Can't see it changing really. But I know I'm not mad, bad or dangerous.

DuchessofMalfi Fri 07-Dec-12 06:02:02

We have made some friends where we live but they are mostly outsiders like us who are just glad to find someone else to talk to.

AlienRefucksLooksLikeSnow Fri 07-Dec-12 06:10:52

I moved from Cambridge, I found it the most unfriendly place on the planet, my family still live there, and when I go,I know why I left. I moved to a very rural village, and it's taken me 3 years,but I have 3 friends, that I would call good friends, and some aquaintancy friends, it's really hard around here, and the old neighbours are unadulterated bastards!!! But the city people (Norwich now) are so lovely and friendly, anyone will talk to you, often think about moving into the city and away from this weird little village smile

AlienRefucksLooksLikeSnow Fri 07-Dec-12 06:12:08

Oh duffy that sounds shit sad

RubyGates Fri 07-Dec-12 07:41:02

garlicbaubles, When we were on a river cruise on our honeymoon we moored in Tewkesbury for a day. Never have I seen so much of a "local look". It scared the heck out of me, being a Londoner.

There was a very strange atmosphere about the place as well. But again, there are geographical/flooding reasons for their insularity as well.

I was terribly glad to get back on the boat and sale off to cosmpolitan Hereford :-)

RubyGates Fri 07-Dec-12 07:44:30

Arkady we're not that far from the Stowe, I'm in Edmonton and having travelled all the way over from Finchley so I'm an "incomer" too. Perhaps we could get an "eastish" London incomers' meetup group going?

FunBagFreddie Fri 07-Dec-12 08:00:14

I sympathise with the OP. I'm in a village, but there's no shop or pub and only a few houses. Not really even a village. However, there is nearby small town. I regret ever locating to the area and the people round here are so insular. I've definitely not been accepted despite trying to be sociable. Me and DP have only made friends with one couple in 3.5 years of living here. sad On the good side, DS is at an excellent school.

I'm self employed and work from home, so my plan to stay sane is to work my arse off and then go back home to see my friends normal non-inbred people when ever I can.

This thread makes me wonder if some one else here lives near me.

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