Nine good reasons why London can be the worst city in the world to live in.
We love London, it’s no secret. But sometimes this city can really grate on you. When those days hit, it’s good to know what it is that’s been bothering you and not just succumb to the blinding white-hot rage. A problem well stated is a problem half solved, as some clever person once said.
So in that honour, we’ve written down a few things that we feel make London the worst place in the world to live. They’re not universal, and some of them only rear their ugly head when you’re having a bad day, but they will all ring true to someone who’s spent enough time in this wonderful, dreadful, beautiful city.
Reasons Why London is the Worst City in the World
The Rat Race
Let’s kick it off with the big one. Living in London your life is very likely to revolve around a rat race of some kind. If it doesn’t you’re probably stinking rich, so congratulations.
Londoners work hard, and you’ll be expected to do the same – probably for a wage that covers your rent and overheads, and leaves you with just enough for a blow out at the weekend so you can dust off the cobwebs of the 9-5 before going back in on Monday to do it all over again.
Your life disappears before your eyes. Years fly by and before you know it, those dreams of travelling South America or starting a hostel in Vietnam have been handed over, signed and sealed, to The Man.
What a way to make a living…
Renting is a Nightmare
Probably the biggest joke of the whole rat race lifestyle is that your rent is going to swallow up most of the money you earn.
You’ll have to pay, at the very least, about 800 quid a month just for the privilege of being here – and even then you’ll probably be bunking up with some people you don’t know well, who don’t clean the bathroom and play techno way too loud at god-knows-when in the morning.
Fork out for a place of your own? Good luck. The landlord of that nice flat you managed to beat everyone on Rightmove to recently found he can charge triple the asking price and there’s still someone out there willing to pay it, so you’re out of a home.
Back to the drawing board then. Better start looking in Zone 5.
The Price of Everything Else
And while we’re on the topic. It’s not just rent that’s extortionate. There’s pretty much a silent understanding that London is priced for people that work in The City. If you’ve got a high-flying job like that, what’s £15 for a cocktail, or £50 for a cab home?
Just stepping out the door in this city can leave checking for holes in your pockets. We do our best to hit up the cheap eats and the occasional happy hour when we can, but if you want to really see all the sides of this fascinating city, you’re going to need some serious mular.
Oh, and don’t even get us started on the price of a pint…
Getting Around is a Pain
Ok, we’ll start this off by saying that we do love the underground, it’s got some serious charm. But boy does it have its faults. Have you ever noticed how they make announcements to tell you that there is a good service on all lines? It really shouldn’t be news that the service is working properly – it should just work that way!
Then you’re on your hot, sweaty tube, perhaps crammed up against the glass like cheap meat in a sausage skin, and you’ve still got to take a bus connection that’ll probably come late or be diverted.
And all this just to get to that job you hate but can’t quit because you’ve lived right on the breadline or at the bottom of your overdraft since you moved here.
This is one that only afflicts the most hardened of Londoners. A hatred of the unready comes about when you’ve been here so long you’ve completely forgotten what a normal pace of life feels like.
You’ll find it manifesting itself in a burning rage at people who dawdle at the underground gates, fumble for their wallet on a bus or stand on the left-hand side of the escalators.
You may also experience mild symptoms towards pedestrians moving at a less than satisfactory speed.
When you get to the stage of actually calling these people out on why they’ve driven you mad, seek help. A long holiday somewhere quiet may also do the trick.
London sprawls, and as we’ve already covered, the transport system here isn’t always working as it should. This leaves us in a funny predicament where there are often parts of London you never even travel to.
Believe us, we’ve got friends, good friends, we don’t see enough of them purely because they live an hour and a half’s schlep across London. Throw in the fact that you might end up too complacent to get out the house on a weekday evening and you’ve pretty much confined yourself to one neighbourhood.
Try to remind yourself there’s a whole city out there.
All the Other People
This is another love/hate one. We’ve written before about how much we love London folk. At their best they can be inspiring, interested and interesting people that quite often turn out to become good friends.
At their worst the people in London can drive you mad. If we have to listen to another drunk suit tell you about this idea for a fin-tech startup or bear a conversation with one of those people that seem to be convinced London is the centre of the world and they’re the coolest person here, and we might just have to do something about it.
But the chances are we’re just embittered. London can do that to you on a bad day. The real problem with the people here is that there’s too many of them.
Imagine a London where you didn’t have to book a month in advance for a hot new restaurant, or where you can get a good spot at the lido any time the sun shines. Sounds pretty nice doesn’t it… well, dream on.
Making Friends Can Be Hard
While we’re on the subject of people, they can also be very hard to befriend. London can be a cliquey city at the worst of times and breaking in can be difficult. Often people have come here with established friend groups or live with others that they can hang about with.
Probably too often they don’t have the time or energy to make new friends even if they reckon you’d get along.
Don’t give up though. You can make friends in London, and sometimes the friendships you make here can be among the best of your life. We’ve written a guide on how best to build your London friendship group. You can read it on the link below.
Dating Can Be Tougher
So last but not least, you thought making friends here was tough? Now try dating. Again, this is one of those love/hate things. At the best of times you have an ocean of interesting people to meet, and serious sparks can fly.
On the other hand, the dating scene can be gruelling. Chances are you’ll have to go through a lot of dates to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. It’s not your fault, there’s just a lot of very individual people here and finding the right match is hard.
There’s also the fact that people are just busy, and often aren’t willing to give a thing a try unless it seems straight-up perfect. It doesn’t all have to be this tough though, there’s plenty of ways to get out and meet people, we’ve written about many of them here.