Re: Meetings are a bad way to recruit people
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 09:12:01 -0700 (MST)
On 11/20/02 12:11 AM, "Rob Sandelin" <floriferous [at]> wrote:

> A lot of people have NO CLUE what community is  about. They see your
> brochure, they get some concepts. Yes, community has conflict involved, and
> intensity, and negotiations, and personal change and growth. And people
> should know that. But if they don't get a warm fuzzy feeling fairly quickly,
> they might not have the commitment to stick around to see if they ever do.

Depends on the person. I don't respond to the generic warm fuzzy, for
example. I relate to people through their work and their ideas about things.
My first question about a group would be how do you get things done?

One group had swim parties and pot lucks almost weekly. This was supposed to
"fix" the problem of having difficult decisions to face. "If we just have
fun together all else will work itself out." The group never got built. They
no longer having swim parties and pot lucks.

Some say "If they ask about the size and price of the units first, I know
they aren't right for us." Well, some people want to know right off whether
the project is even possible for them.  Low income people, for example, do
not want to get their hopes up and then find out cohousing too expensive for
them. If they know they can only afford a studio apartment or a home under
$100,000 and you don¹t have any, why would they want to "get warm and fuzzy"
only to be closed out.

One woman read a group's email list for a year before joining the group. She
had a reluctant husband and three children plus a job. She had to know that
this was right for her family before she could afford one hour of time
either a meeting or a pot luck.

If diversity and acceptance of differences are values in cohousing, it would
probably work best to allow people to approach the group in whatever way
feels best to them. Not all ways may be possible but rules are probably

Who would want a whole group of people who like pot lucks? Or meetings? Or
swim parties? Or book clubs? Or budgets?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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