There are things I learned while living in cohousing. One is my fear of conflict. Like most people, I was a little conflict averse but I went in knowing we would have to deal with it to build a strong community. I see how horrendous things can go if you try to sweep everything under the rug and that community has a huge mountain in the rug.
So, since then I make an effort to head right into a storm cloud before the rain. I met some new neighbors at the place I was renting when I first escaped. They saw my dog and made some passive aggressive jokes about hearing our dog. I thought that was odd since we were a corner away and the dog is usually in the farthest corner from them. I think they were confusing us with the seasonal renters next door to them whose big dog barked a lot. Either way, I wanted to face it right away. I think I already mentioned a neighbor who didn’t talk to me and told my landlord my dog barked (because she did one time whereas I know we now have a Beagle and they bark constantly) and next thing I knew, I was evicted. So, I bought a gift basket, knocked on their door and said I was serious. If there is too much noise from my dog – let me know. We are trying behavior classes, a contraption that makes sound when she barks, water spray, everything. Ever since cohousing, I have known that we need to stop her bark to be good neighbors. They took my gift and my word and it was never a problem.
Relationships take honesty and the will to work through everything. I am glad that I learned that lesson and won’t ever fear bumps again, but I would walk carefully on top of some rugs in some communities.
My favorite place to find gifts, from the White Earth Ojibwe Community: