RE: More ZEGG to cohousing
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 94 10:11 CST
Martin Tracy  mtracy [at] wrote:

|Well, it seems that one of the most destructive events in community
|building is the appearance of sub-groups like cliques.  Members of the
|group who are not members of the subgroup may feel that they're missing
|out on something, and members of the subgroup may leave the group entirely.

I would disagree with this point.  Subgroups are a natural collection 
of people who share similiar interests, hobbies, whatever.  Part of the 
balance of community life is finding ways to relate to the whole group 
(the bigger the group, the more shallow this is. Getting intimate with 
50 people is hard to do) and also finding relationships within the 
subgroup context.  At Sharingwood some of the elders get together for a 
weekly tea and card game.  Anyone of course is invited, but having been 
to one, I wasn't into it.  Was I excluded? Not really, just not 
interested.   On the other hand, some of us 30 somethings get together 
for dancing, loud music, etc. Are the elders excluded from these 
gatherings? No, again different tastes.  These subgroupings are a 
natural extension of the community, strengthen bonds etc. Granted, we 
also have several mixed subgroups of elders and younger etc, such as 
the gardenheads, so there is any number of ways people can get mixed 
together by their interests. The key is not being exclusionary. This is 
a problem for example at community dinner, which not everyone attends.  
Sometimes a thread of discussion is carried on in community dinner 
which then is referred to in a meeting. Those who were not part of the 
dinner discussion do feel left out, but they can easily get updated by 
asking a question or two.  It becomes a problem when courses of action 
are taken from dinner discussions which cause concerns from those not 
involved in dinner but affected by the action.

I would think sub-groups would only be a destructive force if the 
people in the groups were always the same and became exclusionary.  
According to Margaret Mead, for 99 percent of the time humans have been 
on the planet we have been in social groupings of 9-20.  This is pretty 
consistent across all cultures. From my experience living with 33 
people, I am close and spend most my time with about 8 other adults not 
including my family. The remaining folks I see and work with and enjoy 
but give much less of my time and energy to.  Occaisionally I find 
there is someone who I haven't spent much time with lately and I will 
seek them out or invite them over.

And yes, there are a couple people who I spend little time with because 
I choose not to.  I don't especially exclude them from anything I am 
doing, I choose not to delibrately seek them out.  We have discussed 
why I don't spend time with time and they are both clear about how I 
feel and I am clear about how they feel and it works for us.  Do they 
feel excluded? Since they are part of other subgroups I don't think so.

The social expectations of cohousing are a place where there is 
considerable variablity from member to member and is a good topic for a 
group discussion or sharing circle.  Some people want just a low-key 
sharing of tools and others expect a great deal of social commitment.  
It is a really good idea to talk about social expectations at some time 
during the development process so people understand the variations.

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