I’ve been thinking about “bad” neighbors. I naively believed that wouldn’t happen at cohousing because we were intentional. But people are people and neighbors are neighbors.
In my previous life I had a neighbor with a barking dog. They let it outside to bark when they had guests over so as not to bother their little gathering. What about the neighbors? I thought these neighbors belonged in the country to let their dogs bark their hearts out. They moved to another neighborhood.
In my previous life I had neighbors who were worried my dog would bark. She wasn’t a barker – I now have a Beagle and I know barking. She did bark once, because a lady was in her storage shed over the gate. They called my landlord at the condo and got me kicked out. I asked them why they didn’t talk to me first. I thought nothing like that would happen at cohousing because people ALWAYS lean into conflict. I ended up finding a better place with wonderful neighbors who became great friends.
In my previous life I had a neighbor who bad mouthed the previous owners. The other neighbors were offended – they had been friends and the house issues were not from their negligence. I thought gossip would never happen at cohousing.
In my previous life I had a neighbor who overshared on Facebook. In cohousing one neighbor overshared everything and was shocked when not everyone agreed with her life choices or opinions.
All I”m saying is, cohousing alone does not a good neighbor make. In fact, I think some people move in not realizing that everything they do is seen, heard, and sometimes bothered by everyone else. If your dog runs around and poops everywhere and bites kids, that changes the atmosphere in the neighborhood. Even when confronted about this, some neighbors don’t seem to care – even in cohousing. Gossip and cliques make it so that even when there is a learning curve, forgiveness and compassion might not have been part of the group yet. Cohousing community building takes work – not just turning the key and moving in.