Re: Types of conflict in cohousing -- did I miss any?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2016 12:10:39 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 24, 2016, at 2:28 PM, Mary Baker, Solid Communications <mary [at] 
>> wrote:
> I also began to notice that my European friends are generally much more 
> tolerant of deviant behavior within a small community or neighborhood. The 
> curmudgeons, the drama queens, they’re all accepted as part of the fabric. 
> They’re even good-naturedly teased and prodded for a reaction.

When my son was about 12, I went to see his wrestling team meet. After one of 
the boys lost, the coach went yelling and stomping off the side of the floor. 
The boy went the other way. I said to my son, “That is awful. The poor boy is 
crushed and his coach does nothing to sympathize. He just gets angry and yells 
at him.”

My son said, No, no. He isn’t yelling at him. He’s just yelling because he 
doesn’t want to lose. He knows we did our best but we just lost. It’s his 
feelings but not about us.”

I wonder why adults can’t understand what a 12 year old can understand. He was 
completely unaffected personally by his coach’s behavior, and also understood 
it. The coach was expressing his own emotions with no reflection on anyone else.

I frequently use hyperbole and am often corrected by two members of the 
community who think literally and find it a source of misunderstanding. One is 
a linguist. When I say “everyone thinks about this and not that," for example, 
they start arguing about “everyone” and completely miss the point of "this and 

They also want me to say “I think” before every sentence, exactly the opposite 
of good writing. If I say it, and don’t attribute it to anyone else, I think 
it. Assumed. Don’t weaken the sentence unless you intend to weaken it. If so, 
why say it?

They can’t  impose their words on other people. “Everyone” understands what I 
mean. One day a new resident was sitting with us when they started correcting 
me. I asked her if she understood what I meant. She said "of course" and was a 
bit confused by the question.

> I think there’s a lot of pressure in American cohousing communities for 
> everyone to be very vanilla—like watching an Arlo Guthrie concert but with 
> Wonder Bread and Ivory Soap commercials.

Praise the lord and pass the potatoes. I think vanilla, Wonderbread, and Ivory 
Soap  is what most people envision as “community,” but most people I know don't 
want to be bleached or homogenized. When I mention cohousing to friends, this 
is often their first response — "I want to live how I want to live, not like a 
bunch of other people think I should live."

I actually miss the early days when people pounded on tables in meetings and 
walked out. One person even threw a chair. People had strong feelings and felt 
free to express them. Some no longer come to meetings, and others have adapted 
to some extent.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.