15 Things People Do That Scream ‘Small Town Upbringing,’ Despite the Urban Hustle Appearance

There’s a subtle but noticeable contrast between those who grew up in a small rural town and those who grew up in a big bustling city- especially when they find themselves living in opposing environments (the term ‘fish out of water’ springs to mind!).

These are 15 clear indicators that you’re dealing with a small-town person.

Subways TERRIFY Them

Times Square Subway
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For a rural person, tackling a city’s metro system for the first time is like trying to crack Da Vinci’s code with a side order of fearing for one’s life.

For the small-towner, jumping on the wrong train at home could mean a multiple-mile detour – but on the subway, it’s a mild 10-minute inconvenience.

They’re Still Friends With Most of Their School Comrades

Enjoying dinner with friends. Group of cheerful young people enjoying dinner while sitting on the kitchen together
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It’s not uncommon for city kids to change schools several times or study in a different district, but for the small-town student, there’s one high school and everybody goes there.

It’s also less likely for rural kids to ‘drift apart’ from their school chums, especially if they all stay local after graduating.

Certain Conversation Etiquette

conversation of a man and woman
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For the small-towner who got away, oftentimes, a ‘go-to’ dialog is on standby for when someone asks them where they grew up.

They’re already more than expectant that nobody will have heard of their town, so a typical conversation will go “I’m from So-in-So near *insert nearest metropolitan city*”.

Busy Traffic Makes Them Nervous

Traffic jam caused by heavy snowfall
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Driving through downtown Manhattan traffic is a hair-raising experience for the suburbanite. One wrong move can result in getting screamed and honked at by every angry cabbie in the vicinity. 

They Like to Drive Everywhere

Happy woman driving a car and smiling
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For city folk, walking to the nearest supermarket/eatery/movie theatre is usually doable, or if not, is a 10-minute public transport ride in any direction.

For the country bumpkin, cars are mandatory for any kind of event.

Rural Smells Don’t Bother Them

unbearable smell
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Drive through a farming community and you’ll soon separate the Rural Roys from the City Cindys – the ‘fragrant’ smells of the country (AKA, cow and pig poop) will either generate a cacophony of retching or will go completely unnoticed. 

Being Stuck Behind a Tractor is NBD

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In small towns, nobody is in a rush. Why? Because chances are, you’ll get lumbered with a tractor on your journey. 

Everyone moves slowly and gives themselves plenty of time, which can be perplexing for the busy metropolitan urbanite. 

They’re Big on Home Cooking

Couple cooking together
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City slickers are less into home cooking than small-town souls because the take-out and dine-out culture is so rife. 

For rural dwellers, these options aren’t so plentiful, so home cooking – and eating a meal as a family around a properly made-up table – is ingrained into their souls.

Local Sporting Events are a Big Deal

people entering a stadium
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A Friday night football game can bring an entire town to a standstill because everybody will be there cheering on the local team. 

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip

two attractive girls gossiping
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There’s a less-than-flattering saying among small communities and it goes something along the lines of, “You can’t poop in this town without someone knowing about it”. And it’s more or less true. Everybody knows everybody’s business.

Teachers Taught the Entire Family

asian teacher holding chalk and book on green chalkboard background
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In small American towns, any given teacher will have likely taught several generations of every family – and will often call you by your sibling’s/father’s/mother’s/cousin’s name by accident.

Everybody Knows Everybody’s Family History

Family playing board games
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Any dirty laundry in a bloodline doesn’t stay hidden for long. In small towns, it’s common for families to stay put and have ancestors going back for centuries in the same place (and often, the same house).

This can mean any peculiarities within a family go way back: “Oh, The Jones’ have always been like that…” etc. 

Everyone Goes to Church

Young Priest praying with Rosary in hand
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Church culture tends to be more present in smaller towns, and although most towns have numerous types of churches (Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, maybe even a Synagogue, etc.), downtown on a Sunday morning is like a ghost town because EVERYBODY’s butts are stationed on a church pew.

People Go ‘Muddin’

motor sport off-road
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City-based folks will likely need to Google what ‘Gone Muddin’ even is. ‘Muddin’, otherwise known as ‘mud bogging’, is an off-road motorsport where trucks (usually) are driven through mud tracks of a set length. Sounds messy? It is. But the rural hicks love it!

They Know What a Cow Looks Like

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Picture it: you’re in a car with a city slicker and a country bumpkin. You drive past a field of cows. The bumpkin barely bats an eyelid. The slicker is wide-eyed, snapping photos of said cows to show their city buddies. 

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