The Difference Between Community and Family: How to get the best out of two frameworks.

We were sitting around a bonfire when the topic of discussion came up: what is community?

Both my friend and I had been staying for two weeks in this coliving space, but our understanding of community was different.

On my side, I said that we were a community, even if we might not stay together after this month is over. On his side, he felt that for us to be a community, something was missing. For him, community required the people to have a shared mission. The same way we tend to identify ourselves with our struggles, so would communities define themselves with their common cause.

In my response, I said that our common struggle was to live and grow together, but that wasn’t enough for him. He needed the cause to be something that drives us individually and that brings us together, collectively.

So the question becomes: when is a community truly a community? 🧐

Here were a few thoughts on how to get the best out of both family and community frameworks:

1. The difference between family and community is that community is about alignment: you choose to be part of a community because you share an identity with these people. If there is no more alignment, then you would leave the community freely. Family is not about alignment: in fact, you can feel that your family is not your community - and yet, even if that’s the case, there will be a stronger sense of innate responsibility and willingness to sacrifice within a family than a community. Imagine that you have a grave accident tomorrow and wake up with a 50,000 dollar bill - guess who will step in, your community or your family? The question therefore becomes: how can we create the sense of responsibility for other members within communities? As this would mean the best of both worlds.

2. Communities and personal relationships are freely chosen because people believe that being in a relationship is a net sum positive outcome - which is often is, but sometimes it's a trap or an illusion, such as in abusive relationships. Once people realize that the relationship is actually more destructive than enhancing, people break the ties. Those two statements gave me clarify about the following statement:

"The health of a relationship will be the amount of alignment,
while the
strength of the relationship will be the amount of responsibility"

I'm curious what resonates with you - do you agree? 🧐

Write me at to share your thoughts.

I'm Gui, a coliving operator, facilitator, and industry builder with one mission: to make coliving the best experience one can have.

I founded Art of Co, a global resource platform and consultancy to create transformative coliving spaces, wrote the 📘 Art of Coliving book , and am the director of Co-Liv, the global association of coliving professionals. Come engage with other passionate coliving builders in my 👉 Telegram community or join the 👉 Coliving Cocktail newsletter, where I send out recaps of everything that happens within the coliving world!

PS: Need help to create state-of-the-art coliving experiences? Write me an email here or contact me on LinkedIn 💥

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