Re: Disengaged households
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 16:52:36 -0800 (PST)
Sharon posted my thoughts well. In addition I would add that there are
people who join cohousing communities who do not really know what is really
expected of them, and when they find out, they are not willing to go there,
sometimes because that is NOT what they joined the community for.  Sometimes
cohousing conflict mediation itself is the problem.  After all, why should I
be willing to change my views or personalities to meet a group norm that I
don't agree with, and didn't sign up for? Nobody told me I had to do all
this stuff when I bought my unit.   

There are many hidden things about living in a social community which are
not known or advertised when people buy in. I have experienced several
cohousing sales pitches which magnified certain aspects of the community and
totally ignored others. This is normal, when you are trying to sell a
product you don't want to dwell on things which might be flaws. And somebody
with little social community living experience does not know what questions
to ask. This unknown expectations  may come as an unwelcome surprise. For
example a women moved out of a cohousing group because she was told up front
there was a strict pet policy and then she moved in to find that nobody paid
any attention to it, much to her distress since one of the most important
reasons she moved there was that she was severely allergic to cats and did
not want them anywhere near her unit. From her perspective, she felt she was
lied to and, with this mindset, she found other things to lose trust about.
She started looking for every inconsistency to fulfill her need to be right,
making the community wrong. This is a common human practice, we can choose
to see what supports our belief systems and ignore  the facts or details
which do not. 

Also, communities change over time and so the community someone joined 3
years ago is not the community that is there now.  People become
disenchanted with community living for hundreds of reasons, often involving
personal situations, and not necessarily some fault of the community. But
sometimes the group does own a piece of the situation and that can worth
looking into. 

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood resident of 18 years and who still shows mostly the positive
side during tours.

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