A woman and her boyfriend had recently moved to a new neighborhood that, on paper, seemed like an upgrade from their previous residence. However, it would soon become clear that her honest opinion of the new neighborhood would upset the locals.
New Vs. Old
The woman explained her thoughts on her new surroundings: “On paper, it’s better than my last; the new place is well taken care of, wealthy, lots of families, safe, etc. My last place was in a poorer area, with lots of students and young single people, and dirtier with more litter, abandoned cars, or buildings.”
However, despite the new and improved neighborhood, the woman couldn’t ignore the things she missed about her old neighborhood. In particular, she missed its strong sense of community and friendliness.
A Tight-Knit Community
In her previous neighborhood, the sense of community was obvious. “If anyone was having trouble, lots of neighbors would jump to help”, the woman remembered. “Any car problems and I’d have several people stop to offer help. People would give away or swap things.”
A Different Vibe
However, the atmosphere of the new neighborhood felt notably different. The woman recounted instances of car trouble when neighbors merely observed her struggles from their front porches. It was clear that the neighborly spirit she cherished was lacking.
Lack of Help During Moves
Another contrast was evident during moves. In the previous neighborhood, neighbors readily pitched in to help with spring cleaning or moving, but in the new place, the woman felt isolated. When she put out a box of free items at the curb, a neighbor complained and urged her to use the dumpster, fearing the attention of scrappers or second-hand sellers.
Reluctance to Assist
The woman also noticed that in times of apparent trouble, people were more likely to call the police than offer a helping hand. She recounted a situation where a woman had two flat tires, and instead of receiving assistance, a neighbor called the cops.
Sharing Her Feelings
One day, the woman was at a gathering with her boyfriend and his new friends, and the topic of their move arose. The woman shared her feelings: “I said that I felt like the new place was safe enough, but I felt like people were more likely to watch and judge than go out of their way to help a neighbor out.”
However, her comments took her boyfriend’s friends by surprise. They believed their neighborhood was friendly and welcoming, and her boyfriend echoed their sentiments. The woman assured them that she didn’t doubt their experiences but was simply expressing her own feelings.
Following the party, the woman’s boyfriend expressed his embarrassment and accused her of being rude to his friends, who lived in the area she had criticized. She defended herself, asserting that she hadn’t intended to be rude, and had only shared her genuine thoughts about her new neighborhood.
The woman found herself in a challenging situation. She felt like she had just been speaking her mind after being asked. However, she also recognized that she may have been too brutally honest, considering she was talking to people who had lived in the neighborhood for years.
The woman headed online with her thoughts, writing them up for the world to comment on. Thankfully, everyone defended her statements. “Your feelings are valid too, and if details of the difference make them feel ashamed… well maybe they should be”, commented one reader.
One commenter pointed out that the locals had asked, so she simply responded. “It is not wrong to have an opinion”, they wrote. “It is also not wrong to express it when someone asks you what you think. If they only ask to hear what they want to hear, then they shouldn’t ask in the first place.”
Some readers chimed in with their own thoughts on homeliness. “Home is more than a safe building to sleep in”, one person explained. “It’s feeling like you belong there. Community is important, and going from that to a big lush area where the neighbors socially isolate probably feels cold to you. That’s totally valid.”
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