The Circle of Trust

My building is a mix of hotel rooms and private apartments. Since the room service needs to wash many sheets every day, the laundry machines in the basement are only open to the public after 3 PM. I went to buy tokens at 1 PM, but the concierge wouldn’t sell me any.

“Oh, I’ll wash after 3 PM. I just want to get the tokens already,” I said. She shook her head: “Unfortunately, I can’t do that. We’ve had people claim the same in the past, but then they’d wash already, and the staff couldn’t access the machines when they needed them.”

Everyone in my building lives in a circle of trust. The staff trusts the machines to be available at the specified times. The people trust the 24/7 concierge to be there around the clock. The concierge trusts the tenants to pick up their parcels soon after they arrive (so they won’t clog their tiny desk).

It only takes one person for the circle of trust to be broken. One package uncollected, one emergency at the wrong time, one round of laundry done too early.

When the circle breaks, it breaks for everyone. It doesn’t matter who did it. Now, every member of the circle has to work to re-establish trust. That’s a lot of work – a lot more work than the little bit of effort it takes each person to keep an existing circle intact.

We’re part of many circles of trust. Sometimes, you’ll break one by accident. At other times, there won’t be another choice. Most circles, however, you can maintain without much friction at all.

Play by the rules that matter. Protect your circles of trust.