Best of Communities: VI. Agreements, Conflict, and Communication

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Agreements, Conflict, and Communication

Most of us didn’t grow up learning good ways to work with conflict or strong emotional expression. For most of us it’s just plain scary, and we bring that naiveté and scarring into our community lives. Many groups mistakenly think that the frequency of conflict is a barometer of community health, but it isn’t. The litmus test is how you handle conflict; not how much you have.

The Agreements, Conflict, and Communication bundle offers a handful of articles about working constructively with distress and conflict, as well as a smorgasbord of information about agreements and communication skills that are hallmarks of mature, healthy groups. You don’t have to make it all up from scratch! These pieces showcase some of the best things that intentional communities have to offer the wider culture.

This issue about Agreements, Conflict, and Communication includes:

1. Trust, Connection, and Clear Agreements (including Wild Sage Cohousing’s Conflict Resolution Process, Shari Leach) Diana Leafe Christian, #128
2. When Some of Us Don’t Support an Existing Agreement by Beatrice Briggs, Laird Schaub,Tree Bressen, Caroline Estes, Karl Steyaert, #134

3. Problem Solving in Community: How a Group Addresses Issues Says a Lot about Its Cohesion . . . and Vice Versa Laird Schaub, #146
4. How Collaboration Falls Short:With Hints About How to Help It Go Long by Laird Schaub, #144
5. Conflict,Terrorism & Humility: The Cooperator’s Response Laird Schaub, #113
6. Ruth” or Consequences: Defining Tough Love for Groups Laird Schaub, #132
7. Once More With Feeling: Conflict as an Opportunity for Harnessing Emotional Energy by
Laird Sandhill, Directory 2000
8. Working on Your Issues with Someone (Whether or Not They Join In) by
Tree Bressen, #124
9. Nonviolent Communication: Transforming Conflict and Enhancing Connection by
Miki Kashtan, #104
10. AAA for the Heart: Sometimes You Need a Map to Navigate Emotional Territory by Laird Schaub, #117
11. The Tao of Speaking & Listening Scott Shuker, #104
12. But Seriously Folks…When to Take a Joke and When to Give One by
Laird Schaub, #113
13. Living ‘Naka-Ima’ at Lost Valley Larry Kaplowitz, #104
14. Using Email for Community-Wide Conversations? A Few Words of Caution . . . by
Laird Schaub, #125
15. “No, It’s Not a Cult”: Relating to Your Family When You Live in Community by Mariana Caplan, #96