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

(182 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?

TapselteerieO Wed 05-Dec-12 22:19:18

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.

FatherHankTree Wed 05-Dec-12 22:51:53

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.

FatherHankTree Wed 05-Dec-12 23:12:07

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?

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