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  • Writer's pictureAl Parrish

What about privacy?

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

We often say all roads lead to cohousing. But what if you're an introvert?

People say cohousing sounds great, "... but not for me; I need my privacy.”

I reply, “In that case cohousing is exactly for you.” Because it’s your choice and the community will help you.

There is a lot of togetherness in cohousing. Shared spaces, shared resources, and shared decision-making all create a happier and more sustainable community. While we might have 30 households, we don’t need 30 lawnmowers. We don’t need each home to have its own guest room. We can decide that we will share a big “living room” in our common house so that our smaller individual living rooms suit our needs. For all the sharing that goes on, everyone has their own home so you can certainly have privacy whenever you choose.

Cohousing is about knowing and interacting with your neighbours. Lots of meetings to make group decisions; design and architecture that enable and encourage people to run into one another; shared resources, facilities, meals… a lot of interaction. But it’s not just being in the same place at the same time. In cohousing, you also really know your neighbours.

I‘m an introvert. I need my privacy. I get my energy – recharge my internal battery – by being alone. In cohousing, I can do that. But how does that work when both the social community and the physical community are designed to encourage interaction among neighbours?

I used to have a neighbour in my cohousing village, by the name of Phil. He was really smart, thoughtful, friendly, funny, and hardworking. He loved the idea of community. He was committed to it. He was a real asset to the community. He was also a real introvert. Being with people took a lot out of him. And everyone in the neighbourhood knew that. So everyone kept an eye out for Phil’s wellbeing. Sometimes he would come to a shared meal and you could just tell that he was a bit overwhelmed being at dinner with 40 other people. Someone would quietly say, “Hey Phil, why don’t you just grab a plate and take it home.” It was wonderful that Phil would make the effort to come. It was equally wonderful that we all knew what Phil needed and would work to help him get it.

In a traditional suburb, neighbours might have thought Phil was antisocial, a snob, an unpleasant jerk. As a result, they might not get to know him. Their loss. In cohousing, we knew Phil was an introvert and we let him have his space when he needed it. But we also got to interact with him when that worked for him.

Think cohousing isn’t for you because you need privacy? Think again. All roads lead to cohousing.

Interested? Come to our September 24th Zoom Meet-up and Info Session to find out more. Email: and we'll send you the Zoom link.


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