One of these flatmates was my partner, another a good friend, and the other one a stranger. They all liked the idea of bringing more intention and communication to our co-living journey.
We agreed that the best way to achieve that would be to have a dedicated time slot every week to come together and talk, share experiences and intentions, and listen to each other.
I have a lot of experience with holding space for deep sharing in groups, and one of the most effective formats I’ve experienced has been the sharing circle.
Sharing circles can come in many shapes and forms (one of the most powerful ones being the Circling Method, but there are plenty of other ways of being together in a circle such as Empathy Circles, the Circle of Trust, Action Circles, and a lot more — you can also create your own!), but what they all have in common is a group of people facing each other without external distractions, with full attention, giving each other space to speak without being interrupted.
So I suggested to my flatmates that we sit together in a circle once a week on Sundays, and here is what our circle ended up looking like:
- We sit in a circle in a comfortable place and switch off our digital devices
- We pass around a Talking Stick and each person can only speak while they hold it
- We share from the heart about:
- What we are feeling in that moment
- What has been feeling alive for us recently
- Things we’ve been wanting to tell each other but didn’t have the chance to say yet
4. We listen attentively, without judgment, without interrupting, and without giving unwanted advice
5. What we share in the circle is confidential
Every time we got together in a circle, we did a few rounds of sharing until no one had anything left to say, and then we closed the circle. We shared about our week, about our mood, about our personal and professional quests, about our joys and sorrows.
With each round, the sharing usually got deeper and deeper. With each week that passed, we got to learn more about each other, and our empathy grew as we got glimpses into each other’s lives and struggles.
We also addressed how we felt about each other and what was going on in the house. In one circle, we even did a round of sharing what bothered us in each other, which felt super risky but in the end, it was really liberating and bonding.
Eventually, we also started adding extras. For example, after the circle was finished, we usually used that time to discuss logistics and practical things (like planning and delegating house tasks for the week).
The sharing circle helped us understand each other and communicate tensions before they became a problem. We felt much closer, and this space also catalyzed other deep conversations throughout the week. Apart from that, by sharing openly with others every week, we became more aware of our own ups and downs and individual journeys — the circle was like a mirror, a diary that is powerful because it’s witnessed.