Big City vs Small City

big city vs small city
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   With this winter all around us and with Hallmark Christmas movies running in the background, I’ve start thinking about how different life is between a big city and a small one. In all those Hallmark movies, everything seems to be so much nicer in a small city compared to a big one. People seem to be friendlier one with each other and they seem to have stronger connections. Sure, they’re just movies, but does it happen in real life too?

   I grew up in a small city and after I finished high school, I moved in the fourth biggest city in Romania (based on the number of people living in it). I haven’t paid attention over the years at the psychological impact these two environments have. Yesterday I had the chance to live a regular work day in a small city again and the first thing I noticed is that it’s so much quieter than the one I’m living in. I believe this is a good thing because this silence leaves lots of room for one to be alone with his/hers thoughts. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people will pay attention to their thoughts, but it would be much easier I guess.

   In a big city we have some sort of excitement. Always. We always have something to do and places to go. Of course, the needs are the same in a small city too, but the temptations are not the same. There are so many temptations and opportunities in a big city that life looks like it’s passing by quicker compared to a small city, where things don’t seem to be that urgent. Again, I’m not saying that they aren’t, but they just don’t seem to be from a psychological point of view.

   From what I experienced growing up and from noticing how people interact in a small city, I can conclude that most of the time, the communities are much stronger in a small city compared to a big one. Of course, we can have strong neighborhoods in a big city, but it’s much harder for those neighborhoods to be strongly connected with other distant ones. It just isn’t that natural. Physical closeness is a decisive factor for the relationships that we have with people because the more we are around someone, the more we can connect that person. In a small city, we can see someone so many times that we get to feel familiarized with that person and it would be easier to have a small talk if we want to.

   Of course, not everyone can know everyone, but I bet that in a small city, at least 60% of people know each other, while that cannot happen in a big city. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Neither. If you love excitement and opportunities, a big city might be more suitable for you. Sure, you can isolate yourself in a big city too if you feel the need from time to time. If you want a more relaxed life, maybe a smaller city would be more appropriate.

   This is my opinion and I would love to see yours. How do you see the experience from a big city compared to the one from a small one?

27 thoughts on “Big City vs Small City

  1. I grew up in New York City; big city with big city problems. Then I went to college in a small city and I missed the culture and late night happenings. I moved back to the big city and I missed the quiet and easier small town life. I found a balance in Portland, Maine — small (66,000), with lots of culture, good food and intellectual stimulation. I’m now semi–retired in Faro, Portugal. I’m finding that it’s enough for me. It seems that comfort and satisfaction has a great deal to do with age and where you are in your life. For now, I need time to reflect and plan. There is something for everyone.

    1. It is. I think that sometimes we need to experience some different environments so we can appreciate the importance of any of them.

  2. I grew up in the second largest city in my country. I’m used to it’s fast paced lifestyle. Everyone is always on the go because that is what city life demanded.

    Yet I balance it out by visiting my dad’s hometown. It’s a small quiet area who’s population pales in comparison to that of the city. Everyone is so friendly and the culture is different.

    Thank you for this article. Makes me want to visit small cities for a change.😊

  3. I’ve never lived in a big city. I’ve only lived in medium sized cities in the south. I love the friendliness of it and the avoidance of traffic nightmares that I encounter when I travel to big cities. I love visiting big cities for all the opportunities that they afford, but I’m always happy to return home.

  4. I grew up in a small city in CT, then moved to a big city in NC, now I’m in a relatively bigger city in FL. What I miss about my hometown is walking distance, mass transit, and real pizza; but I wouldn’t move back there, they can keep the snow lol

  5. I grew up in big city though currently I’ve been living at a capital. And it was quite a shock at first and even these days, I still find something that annoys me in big city

    Traffic and diverging routes often the cause of my frustration since it takes time to get to one place to another. This makes me have to wake up earlier than I usually do. Even though I’m now kinda used to it, I still don’t want to if I have to choose

    While living in small city, I can actually live life and do routines at my own pace. No traffic, no annoying people, and most importantly, it’s easier to get anywhere since everywhere is not that far from where I used to live. Also, the people have a stronger sense of community and solidarity as opposed to where I currently live

    Though of course, small cities don’t really offer good working opportunities than big cities from what I’ve seen, so that’s that

    I would love to come back to where I grew up and retire there some day. Or move somewhere else that is more peaceful and quieter

      1. For the time being I choose career first since I just recently graduated. But if there’s a big city that so happens has good job opportunities (though unlikely), I wouldn’t turn it down

  6. I’ve lived in a big city for a long time, now (Fort Worth, Texas), but I live a few miles away from the major downtown portion. The area I live in kind of feels like a smaller town. As I get older, I feel like I would rather live back in a town like the one in which I grew up, a smaller town with more of a community feeling. One of our favorite places to spend weekends is even smaller than where I grew up, and we love the atmosphere and environment of it.

      1. Good question. I also like that things are closer together. It doesn’t take an hour to get across town. Also, in general, it seems that you’re always just a few minutes away from some countryside.

    1. No, thank YOU! I’m really grateful for being able to interact with so many amazing people to see their stories and learn from them. The goal for all of this is not for me to write, but for us to help each other! Also, you take your time to respond… it would be disrespectful for me not to do the same.

  7. I have enjoyed living in semi-rural areas right outside of a metro area. That gives me the best of both worlds. The semi-rural area is quiet, peaceful, and close to nature. The metro area offers shopping, activities like concerts and culture, and diverse places to eat.

    Although people may think that there is a sense of innocence about a small town, there are drawbacks. Everyone knows your business, gossip is a form of entertainment, and the lack of things to do can drive people into addictions of all kinds.

  8. I’m by upbringing a small town person (cowboy – not a lot of horses and cows to be found in the city). There were 7500 people in my county and I knew everyone of them on a first name basis. The downside as Carine pointed out is that everyone knows your business. And yes, there is a general lack of things to do which might explain why we had more than our share of drunks.

  9. I am born and raised in Bucharest. I still live there now and I enjoy being close to different cultural and entertainment places and opportunities, and also I like being close to my parents.

    I also have experienced living for 4 months in a small village in Denmark, where only children would walk by foot to their school, all the others were using their cars – to go shopping or to the bank, or to the church, which was shocking for me. Everything was only 10-15 minutes of walk away from everything.

    And for another 4 years I have moved outside the Capital in my country. It had been a pleasant experience to live in a house on the ground, with a garden filled with vegetables and fruits and flowers. I had two wonderful dogs while living there and also I have raised my daughter there for 3 years, until I moved back to Bucharest.

    My nicest memories from that time of living in the countryside are with the longs walks on the field, along with my daughter and with one of my dogs. We had some nice neighbours, and it was so good just to stop and chat with them for hours when meeting by chance next to my house or theirs. Even when I didn’t want to invite someone in the house, I would stay with them in the garden and talk. 😉 I miss this kind of unplanned meetings with people. Living in the Capital means I always need to schedule seeing my friends.

    A friend of mine, who lives in very-very small Hungarian village, next to the Austrian and Slovenian border, once told me that on a Saturday night he went out to a restaurant in a village nearby to celebrate the birthday of one of his neighbours. That neighbour had actually invited to his party all the people in their village. So, on that night, all the 23 people were away to the party, leaving their villlage completely empty. For me this sounded like something from a movie scenario! But it really did happen for my friend! 🙂

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