Re: Use of email
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:57:38 -0800 (PST)
Hi all!

Just an off the top of the head answer to the question below — CAPS not 
shouting — just for emphasis::

Because in cohousing we LIVE w/ each other.  We EAT together.  Our CHILDREN 
play w/ each other. We see each other every day.  The friction points are 

In work, your clients or vendors may be all over the world.  At the end of the 
day they go home. Regardless of flaring tempers you are organizing a group of 
people w/ a central goal or outcome.  But that’s where the “investment” stops.

In cohousing, the “investment" is very personal.  

In cohousing there’s so much sub text going on I sometimes need a program to 
figure out who’s on first.  

I’ve witnessed poor communication — digital or carbon-based —  tear apart 
communities.  It’s just that email has so much more room for misinterpretation. 
 And that’s true even for those who think they are excellent communicators on 
email.  Or in person …

Solutions?  That’s what we’re all trying to work out in our respective 
communities.  We don’t have THE answer … yet.  We’re working on it.  All of us. 

Some things I found helpful:

Conflict resolution team or 3rd party intervention

Solid training in some form of communication — my personal favorite because 
I’ve seen in work in our community is Non-violent Communication or 
Compassionate Communication.  A member of this list laid out the basic 
principles of NVC in an email which garnered a great deal of attention on this 
list.  She did not label it as NVC but all the criteria she listed were right 
from the book.

In real extreme measures … I’ve found flattening tires work wonders … :-)  

Now … just to check this out:

How many of you find the above line about flattening tires amusing and how many 
of you are offended?

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA

On Feb 10, 2014, at 6:50 PM, Philip Dowds <rphilipdowds [at]> wrote:

> So here’s my question:  Why is the Internet regarded as such a high-risk, 
> error-prone, annoying and alienating vehicle for cohousing communities?  Why 
> are e-mails seen as the problem, and meetings as the solution?  More 
> generally:  Why is our professional experience irrelevant for doing business 
> in a residential setting?
> R Philip Dowds
> Cornerstone Village Cohousing
> Cambridge, MA

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