Re: Too close for comfort....maybe
From: Pablo Halpern (
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 10:01:06 -0500
At 05:23 PM 5/17/98 -0500, Tonka444 wrote:
>I am a relatively open-minded person and was surprised when I became
>uncomfortable at several different times during the weekend.

Others have spoken quite well to the need for building trust within the
group. However, as an open-minded person, you also need to trust your own
feelings about what feels right.

One possibility for why you were uncomfortable is that you were a newcomer
to a group that had already developed a certain level of intimacy. Our group
has struggled at times to integrate new people when the rest of the group
had been together for a long time. We never really did figure it out. The
group you're describing might be having a similar problem. If this is the
case, ask for help and you might develop more comfort as time goes on.

On the other hand, it is possible that some of this sharing, handholding and
singing was inapproriately intimate and forced. The group might have been
trying to skip a few steps of community building by substituting ritual for
the organic process. This "we are one happy family" thing can actually make
real connection, which includes conflicts, harder to achieve. You will have
to use your own judgement about whether this is what is happening and you
will have to figure out for yourself whether the group is genuine enough at
heart to get past it. Sometimes it takes a while for a group to figure out
its own style(s).

Cohousing shouldn't feel like a continual encounter group. On the other
hand, some days you can't help but feel that way. Our group, now living
together for over two years, is still trying to figure out how to deal with
conflicts without them turning into pissing contests. While we struggle with
specific conflicts, the community does feel a little like an encounter
group. Another way to look at it, however, is that an encounter group should
feel like a community!

p.s. We at New View do sometimes hold hands and sing, but we don't do it all
the time and we don't expect universal participation.

- Pablo Halpern

Pablo Halpern                                       phalpern [at]
22 Half Moon Hill                                         (978) 263-9095
Acton, MA 01720-2449

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