Re: Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 04:29:38 -0800 (PST)
I am thinking that managing conflict in cohousing is like brushing your teeth:  
It’s something you must do on a regular basis, and you’re never done.  Ever.  
But if you stop doing it … things get pretty unpleasant, pretty fast.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

> On Jan 21, 2016, at 9:33 PM, Richart Keller <richart.keller [at]> 
> wrote:
> I would add disruptive behaviors, particularly actions that ignore the
> impact on the community.
> Rick Keller
> On Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 6:30 PM, Mary Baker, Solid Communications <
> mary [at]> wrote:
>> Ah, I feel your pain. I will add that to the list, thanks!
>> I had to learn a lot of things the hard way when I moved here. Since then,
>> I’ve offered to expand our welcome kit to include some basics and an FAQ
>> (the welcome team uses an out-of-date one-page handout that doesn’t really
>> say anything). But I’m not even getting enough buy-in to make it worth my
>> time. The buddy system helps. But when you’re unpacking and you don’t have
>> a friend network yet, it can be really burdensome and tiring to have to
>> keep asking about basic things.
>> I value F2F as much as the next person, but I think the Old Guard (and I’m
>> referring to cohousings in general) may have forgotten how exhausting it
>> can be to pack, move, and settle in to a new community. And—this may be an
>> unpopular opinion here—I also think that withholding basic information
>> about parking, bike lockers, guest room, workshop keys, CH policy, etc.,
>> and forcing people to knock on your door until they get an answer is a form
>> of control.
>> And storing crap in the CH? One of my big bugaboos. People drop off loads
>> of junk that no one would ever want, just because they don’t want to be
>> “that person” that throws something away. When I hosted monthly wine
>> tastings which included people from all over the city, I always had to move
>> junk out onto the patio (and clean the fridge and wash dishes and windows.
>> Whew.) So I hosted one freecycle event that was a huge hit! No torn, dirty
>> clothes or broken games. We had a TON of good stuff. Seems no one wants to
>> bring their garbage when they know others are watching. ;P
>> Mary
>> From: Sharon Villines
>> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2016 3:59 PM
>> To: Mary Baker, Solid Communications ; cohousing-l [at]
>> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?
>> A wonderful list. You might add lack of clarity in expectations. What is
>> expected or should be done in this case or that, isn’t clear. Long time
>> residents believe one thing but newer residents have been told something
>> else.
>> I want to bang my head on the wall when we have fought off bikes (and
>> other personal items) stored in the basement for years. Then one long time
>> resident who feels sorry for new young residents, says just put it in the
>> basement. There is plenty of room.
>> I had cooked the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner for years so turkey wasn’t
>> included on the sign up sheet. Then a new person made the list and included
>> the turkey. Someone else signed up and no one caught the error until
>> Thanksgiving Morning — despite emails about purchasing the turkey and did
>> people want an organic turkey, and the turkey going in the oven the night
>> before (slow cooking), a new member was cooking his at home.
>> His wife walked into the CH Thanksgiving morning and smelled turkey. She
>> was very angry on his behalf and said why doesn’t anyone tell us these
>> things. It’s hard.
>> Sharon
>> ----
>> Sharon Villines
>> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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