Re: Subject: Re: [C-L]_Dealing with difficult personalities
From: Ted Chesky (
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 21:13:06 -0600 (MDT)
>To oust or not to oust.
Ahhh, vote her off the island.

However, I was reminded tonight of a logistical agreement that our
community has that might help "Chris A.'s" long-suffering group address one
problem that this person causes, namely that of constantly going back to
protest/change/negate the decisions that the group has made.

Our community agreed that once an issue has been decided by the group, it
takes a minimum of five members (not households) to reopen it in a later
meeting. So if we decide that we'll do linoleum flooring in the common
house dining room, and someone joins later and wants to switch to Carerra
marble, he has to find four other people that agree it's a good idea to
support him in revisiting the decision. Otherwise it stands as previously

We decided on five because we had about 30 households at the time (we're
building 37 units) and it seemed like a good number to us. Obviously you
could pick a number to suit your taste and group size.

We also agreed that A) if you're not there when something gets decided,
you're out of luck if you don't like the outcome, and B) unless we're in an
exceptional hurry, we make no major decisions at one meeting. We present a
proposal at one meeting, and decide at the next. 'B' helps people live with

It's great for a group to work around  people's issues and styles, but it's
a two- way street. Individuals have to adapt to the group, too. If "Chris
A.'s" group wants to build houses they need to set some boundaries and get
rid of the people that can't respect them.

Ted Chesky
Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor MI

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