In a world built for extroverts, small cities offer everything introverts need to thrive.
Introversion was once highly misunderstood. However, thanks to the internet where introverts can be outspoken from the privacy of our own homes, we can share in the collective relief of relating to others who think and feel in similar ways. We’re in pretty good company, too. Famous introverts include author J.K. Rowling and Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.
As introverts, we need to be mindful of our needs and ready to advocate for ourselves in a society that sometimes has a bias toward extroverts. For me, that includes creating a daily schedule and overall environment that supports my need for frequent alone time to recharge.
Over the years, as I’ve lived in different places and learned more about introversion, I’ve realized that small cities are ideal for introverts. Here’s why:
1. Small Cities Offer a Strong Sense of Community
Small cities offer a strong sense of community that’s just right for those on the introverted side. After all, it’s a total misconception that introverts don’t enjoy socializing. Sure, many of us find small talk with strangers exhausting, but that’s because we prefer meaningful one-on-one time with close friends. Small cities provide ample opportunity to connect with people on a scale that feels comfortable and genuine.
The best part about living in a small city as an introvert? That sense of community is balanced with a refreshing dose of anonymity. In a small city, it’s easy to make the close-knit connections you would in a small town, yet also create enough undisturbed space to do your own thing as often as you want and need.
2. Small Cities Aren’t Overstimulating
While many introverts like myself love a brief excursion to Times Square or the Vegas Strip, too much exposure to loud, crowded places can lead to burnout and an overwhelming urge to escape to an isolated mountain cabin for a while. Smaller cities are quieter and move at a slower pace, giving introverts a reprieve from intense overstimulation brought about in big cities. Also, many smaller cities such as Knoxville, TN and Mobile, AL are situated near the sanctuary of wide open spaces where you can hike or sit in nature and feel as though you’re truly away from it all.
3. Small Cities Offer More Space with Affordable Property
Did I mention how important it can be to many introverts to get some serious alone time to feel recharged for a new workday or even a night out with friends? When worn out by socializing, having your own home with plenty of space to savor your solitude is ideal. Property in small cities is often significantly more affordable than it is in bigger cities. Since it’s more affordable, you may also be able to avoid roommates, which is sometimes a necessity in bigger cities with a high cost of living. Living alone within a larger space can translate to more uninterrupted peace and quiet.
4. Small Cities Make It Easy to Meet Up for One-on-One Time with Friends
“Me” time is easy in small cities, but they’re also great for helping introverts connect for one-on-one time with friends. Finding laid-back meet-up spots that are convenient for all is simpler when you don’t have to contend with large cities and big crowds. With more open space within the city, you also have the option to meet up in natural areas to enjoy a more relaxing environment. For example, the small city of Ann Arbor, MI has more than 150 parks, making it convenient to get the surge of energy being in nature can provide some of us no matter how introverted or extroverted we are.
5. Small Cities Offer Transportation Choices to Fit Your Mood
Don’t get me wrong, mass transit is wonderful, but as an introvert, commuting by car can sometimes be preferable. It gives you alone time to breathe and gear up for your next destination, whether that’s work or a social engagement.
Small cities often offer the best of both worlds when it comes to transportation: they’re big enough to provide some public transit options but small enough to avoid constant gridlock for people who opt to drive. This choice is key for introverts, who might not always be up for sitting next to a chatty stranger on a crowded bus. While a small town would relegate you to a daily car commute, and a big city often requires using mass transit or sitting in traffic for hours, in a small city, you can match your commute to your mood.