Re: Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?
From: Mary Baker, Solid Communications (
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2016 09:45:12 -0800 (PST)
Rick, can you provide some examples? ‘Disruptive behaviors’ is good but rather 
broad. I know people who label anything they don’t personally like, or that 
doesn’t fit their personal utopian vision, as ‘disruptive’. So some examples of 
something that are clearly, inarguably disruptive would be helpful.

Laura, I think that would fit neatly under Sharon’s suggestion: lack of clarity 
in expectations.

Also, maybe I should clarify that this is a workbook about handling real 
conflict—burning anger, repressed resentment, explosions, forms of adult 
bullying, broken relationships. 

Having said that, I know of one incident where a cohousing member was nearly 
excommunicated over a perfect storm of minor issues: a sudden change in garden 
team management, moving a fig tree, and off-leash dogs. But these are what I 
call ‘trigger events’ and they are not the actual issue.


From: Richart Keller 
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2016 7:33 PM
To: Mary Baker, Solid Communications ; Cohousing-L 
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?

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welcome team uses an out-of-date one-page handout that doesn’t really say 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


  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 

  Sharon Villines
  Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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