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?