Coliving Cocktail #32

Hello all!

It took me a month to write this Coliving Cocktail... but when it goes out, it does with a bang!

Enjoy this tasty ratatouille of coliving and connection jam 🥳

PS: Would love to read what you learned and what your highlight was!

                                                  Global Coliving News

Presenting: the faux-living movement 🏠

faux-living (pronounced: fo-living) = coliving operators that are NOT coliving but just use the term because it's “cool” to do
Discover the initiative by our dear Cate Maiolini and Matt Lesniak and why creating a term for the free-riders of the movement is important - plus, you'll learn how to spot them 😉

Updates on the Quarters bankruptcy 👋

I updated you last time on how Quarters, one of the largest coliving operators, filed for bankruptcy. This is only partly true. What I missed out on was that only the U.S. entity of Quarters filed for bankruptcy, while the European entity continues running.

I highly recommend reading the follow-up article by The Real Deal for more in-depth stories and information around this topic.

A psychological study within coliving spaces 💡

I've always pushed for the importance of onboarding, the phase in which residents get proactively integrated within the coliving culture. Walter Osika led a study, in which coliving residents were following a 6-month onboarding program. The results?

(...) improved relationship quality and communication about one’s needs regarding work-non-work boundaries, especially amongst residents at the co-living space. Moreover, programme participation significantly increased perceived work-non-work boundary control, work-life balance, psychological well-being, psychological flexibility and self-compassion.

👉if you want to improve your onboarding just hit me up!

The most-awaited blog on coliving is OUT 🔥

It's been two years that my friend Carlos de la Lama, founder of Startup Embassy, has told me about launching his blog. He's been writing and editing and writing until... it's finally out!

Check out Coliving from the Trenches, a blog with deep stories that showcase Carlos' learnings from living within a coliving space and running it for almost 7 whole years. True gold.

For example, in one of the first blog-post, he talks about coliving and technology - especially the role of sensors (IoT) and chatbots. Check out the following example:

"Another sensor measures if it starts raining. The moment it does, it alerts the House Manager via the chatbot, and it triggers an Asana template with To-Do things like cover the outside furniture with a tarp or store the BBQ in the garage."

Carlos' ability to think outside of the box, his expertise as an operator and his passion for optimizing the heck out of the coliving experience is simply leaving me with three words: read this guy.

How the pandemic is changing the coliving game 🎲

Kelsea Crawford, Co-Liv ambassador to France, shared an amazing recap of the last French coliving event, where international experts were brought to share their perspectives on the shifts within the coliving scene.

Some key highlights: 80% of health outcomes are related to housing decisions, blended-use developments are proving more resilient, and that we should fight the absence of presence instead of loneliness, which is its symptom.

OpenDoor launches a "Coliving Crash Course" 🙌

This application-only course, which only costs $30, is meant for community builders (and probably curious coliving residents) and teaches how to create a coliving culture, the important logistical knowledge, and how to find a home.

Here is the genius part: at the end, they state that "if you join an OpenDoor community within 6 months of the course end date, we will apply your course fees towards your rent". How genius is the approach of onboarding residents into the culture before they even apply to becoming a resident!

                                            Human Dynamics in Coliving

This is a new types of series, in which I am going to focus on the core of coliving: human dynamics. All learnings are my own and I hope it inspires you to see how delicate coliving can be! 

One of the biggest problems in communities - and in life - is how to deal with problems.

Problems are unmet needs that one wants to turn into met needs. The solution to a problem is therefore to find a strategy to meet one's need and to take action upon that solution.

Let's explore a scenario between two people and how it would ideally unfold:

Person A has a need and Person B does not fulfill his need.

For example, John has a need for calmness when he goes to sleep while Roberta plays music loud at night.

Person A figures out with Person B the solution to align their needs.

For example, John goes to Roberta, explains his need of calmness, wherefore Roberta explains her need of having to train for a music competition, and they come to a conclusion that Roberta stops playing music in ten minutes.

That is how problems should be tackled. But this is not the most common scenario.


Because when people experience an unmet need, they experience certain personal tensions (feelings) which will change their states. And if they're not mindfully realizing this, they might let their change of state influence their behavior negatively - which will create interpersonal tensions in trying to find a solution.

Here is how most real-world scenario look like:

Person A has a need and Person B does not fulfill his need. Let's take the same example as above: John has a need for calmness when he goes to sleep while Roberta plays music loud at night.

The state of person A changes. John is feeling frustration because he won't be able to fulfill his goal to sleep. He is feeling even more frustrated since it's the second time this happens in two days.

The new state influences person A's behavior. John is now letting out his frustration on Roberta and yells at her for being loud.

While John and Roberta can figure out a solution while John is yelling, what will most probably happen is that it will be harder for Roberta to engage with John. Moreover, John will not be in a state of listening when Roberta explains why she is playing music.

From here, two negative outcomes are possible:

  1. Person's A new behavior triggers an unmet needs in Person B. Roberta has a need for loving kindness and reacts defensively to John's yelling, calling in her roommates.
  2. Person's A new state puts the focus on more unmet needs. Because John is in a frustrated state, his attention is now put on "what is wrong" and he starts observing more unmet needs, such as the lack of cleanliness on his way to seeing Roberta.

This then creates an avalanche of triggers, frustrations and problems.

Why am I sharing this?

Because when trying to solve a problem, it is equally important to think about how to solve the need while also to notice how we are behaving while coming up to a solution.

It is harder to come to a solution if people are reactive and not listening.

It is harder to come to a solution if people see each other as threats.

It is harder to come to a solution if people are triggered and can't find the right words to express their need.

This is why changing people's states (for example from frustration to gratefulness) is often more efficient than discussing solutions per se.

By doing this, people will feel safe, will be able to express themselves with the right words and it will save time in finding the solution. On top of that, it will avoid the creation of a traumatic precedent - which would create a bitter memory and scare people to bring up their problems in the first place.

Personally, I've done this not only with communities, but in different types of relationships:

Relationship with self: my best self shows up when I'm in a loving, calm, playful and/or open state. This is when my mind focusses on solutions instead of problems, where my creativity flows and where I experience flow states.

Relationship with my partner and closest friends: most problems are often not about problems, but about frustrations that have been built up and not expressed over time. Being able to get rid of frustrations before talking about the problem has saved lots of tensions in my relationships

Relationships in communities: not only coliving, but also work communities are an example of that. This is why I like to start my meetings with music, doing emotional check-ins and saying words of gratitude before going into problem-solution-mode.

Ultimately, the process can be summarized in this simple equation:

                                                                                  SOLVING A TENSION = CHANGING THE STATE + FINDING A STRATEGY TO MEET THE NEED

Ultimately, this whole equation boils down to living life in alignment. As I thought of this weekend, alignment is a relationship between two elements that creates flow (or harmony). If needs are met, then the individual(s) are able to flourish.

It's about aligning needs with reality - solving the tensions to live in flow.

Being able to put words on this has been one of my biggest breakthroughs. I've not only been applying this approach to problem-solving as a friend, but also as a personal coach, as a community facilitator when living in coliving spaces and as a coliving consultant when creating systems to maintain these states.

In short, I can now confidently state that I help people and communities to live in flow and removing tensions by being in their best states and finding strategies to align needs with reality.

And now goes the question to you: how do you change and influence the states of your community?

If you don't have a community, you can also respond on how you change your personal state or the one of relationships with people who are close to you.

PS: I will share techniques on how to change states in coliving communities in the next Coliving Cocktail. If your answer is inspirational - and if you want it - I'd be happy to publish your response alongside mine.

                                               My Favorite Discoveries

Another super-power coliving newsletter 💥

I've had the pleasure to chat with Gillian Morris, who currently runs a coliving space in Puerto Rico and who I've met in her former space in New York City while doing my coliving worldtour.

This reminded me of sharing her own newsletter called Supernuclear - about how we can create shared living spaces that go beyond the traditional nuclear family. Like Carlos' blog, this is true juice that everyone should subscribe to!

A platform to share your house with friends

MyPlace is a tool that allows you to open up your house for home-sharing to people you curate. This initiative is needed and could lead to more people sharing each other's homes - or swapping them!

A(nother) handbook on community building ✔️

Sowebuild, a community building platform and consultancy, released their community handbook with a lot of content that personally resonates. Read it to get key insights into the foundations of community-building!

My favorite highlight: "One could say with conflict comes community: an opportunity to connect on a deeper level, create real understanding and allow meaningful relationships to grow, together."

                                                       From Art of Co

Does coliving have a hyphen? 🌇

I thought to publish a website to make this topic clear - is it clear for you?

What does coliving mean? 🧐

I asked our Telegram community on how they intepret the term coliving. Multiple responses were allowed. Here is the result:

An email that someone shared with me 🙏

"If we would think about the place less as a building and more as an attitude. And the attitude is an attitude of listening. If the host of that place would be an excellent listener who systematically pays attention to the each co-livers narrative. What influence would that have on how all personalities under that roof, would respect the people and the things at that place? What if the ultimate goal of the host would be to become superfluous. This may not sound logical, but it may lead each resident to adopt this attitude and thus contribute to the formation of the listening community."

- Walter Zueck from Steiner & Co-Liv ambassador to Switzerland

To cities with love 🧡

A sort of poetry thought piece dedicated to the importance of cities:

The pandemic will change things.  It’s not a bad thing if population is a little more evenly distributed and housing becomes a little bit more affordable. However, Government policy is not about to shift. It remains city focused. No Government will build over green fields and so new housing and infrastructure will continue to be delivered in urban areas.

                                                Some Personal Updates

I've moved to Guatemala to attend the Experience House, a one-month coliving retreat with 20 tremendous people in an absolutely stunning location in front of an active volcano 🌋

The goal? To merge talent, ideas and energies to create the most present moment synergies.

I've brought along a few friends (including the awesome Kelsea mentioned above) and we've experienced a lot - from sharing circles, scavenger hunts, soccer tournaments, breath workshops, connection evenings, silk acrobatics, philosophy nights and TED-like talks.

Being in this environment for one week has already helped me tremendously: not only in terms of personal learnings, but also seeing how my intimate relationship is fostering, how the people I love are growing (since I brought in a few friends with me) and how I went on experiences that healed me deeply.

Which brings me back to one of my favorite quotes, discovered a couple of weeks ago:

"I believe in external hazard, but not in internal randomness."

- Sigmund Freud

While the first week was very experience-focussed, I'm now going back into work mode and will crank out a lot of coliving and connection content - which I'm excited to share with you in my next Coliving Cocktail!

Wishing you all the end of February you desire,



PS: If you have any thoughts on what you just read, please share them with me. And if someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

Time to Take Action

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