Toronto-based Clinical Psychologist Dr. Shari Geller says, "Psychology developed partly because there were no more communities. People don't feel as connected to one another, causing isolation and depression. I think with these big, high-rise condos being built, there is an incredible opportunity to create communities."
"Dealing with anything in the condo is about building relationships and making contacts, first and foremost. The key, in general, to building these relationships, which might be risky for some people, is to take the first step of saying hello in the elevator or knocking on your neighbour's door. Approach people in the way you want to be approached. When you start having a relationship with someone, they will start to look out for you. If someone strange comes to your door and your neighbour doesn't know you, then they are not going to interfere and check out what is happening."
As with all relationships there are ups and downs. If you have a problem with the person living next door, Geller suggests couching your problem in the positive, choosing your battles, communicating in a way that doesn't enforce blame and not letting the problem build up. This way you won't find yourself exploding at 2 a.m. because their stereo is blasting.
"If you feel you have the time to be able to create some kind of gathering, I think that is the most effective way of building community. The event could be a potluck supper, a barbecue in a common outdoor space, tea and talk or a shared activity such as bringing in a yoga instructor. Gatherings can be held every week or once every three months depending on how busy the residents are," says Geller.
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