Re: Selection Process
From: Bitner/Stevenson (
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 13:51:53 -0600 (MDT)
> Liz, your anecdote about strange members is a great opening for our 
> stories. Thanks!
> We have 3 extreme people to date.  (out of 36 adults).  One  is pretty
> clearly not in
> control of her moods.  Another is a negativist with ego problems.  The
> third demanded a
> business space (which has subsequently and continually increased in size)
> as the price
> for his willingness to become a member.
>  The group took these people on out of fear of not being able to sell all
> the homes we
> were building.

This is one of the reasons that I think it is so important for groups to
actually have some difficulty in building cohousing. These are the times
that create the community, and where you find out just who has the right
stuff. Once the group can admit to itself that not everyone will be right
for cohousing, the weeding out process is easier and less gulit-ridden. I
still say, however, that most, if not all, of the difficult people you
describe will leave of their own accord when push comes to shove(so to
speak!). I would be careful that you DON'T spend alot of time as a group on
these people(which you already have). You just can't afford to hold
everybody's hand. Cohousing is not for the weak! Yes, we all came for the
support that a community gives, but it is not group therapy. You can't heal
people. Leave problems to your conflict resolution committee, so that when
they leave, you won't feel as if you have wasted all this group time.

You have to stop acting like you're going begging when people want to join
the group. This has to be an exclusive group, by it's very nature. People
have to prove to YOU that they have the commitment, energy, and
self-awareness that it takes to live in community. You are under no
obligation to give equal access to everybody, and it isn't fair to the other
members of the community to spend all your resources on high maintenance
people. You will lose good people, both potential and current members.

This sounds a little harsh, but I can't really overstate my case.

Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

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