After nearly 10 years since what we have called the “share economy, sharing economy, or collaborative consumption,” has come into the public eye, many of us are now closely familiar with these tools, but there continue to be fears and mishaps surrounding how these platforms and services work exactly.
Collaborative consumption has always existed. People have always borrowed and shared their goods and services, but it has never been so widespread or so accessible. We can now lend our cars, homes, and time to complete strangers, bringing many of our collective trust issues to light. These platforms were founded during the recent financial crisis, so people can own less, yet continue to use the things we might need.
We now have the opportunity to take a step back and think about whether or not we should purchase something or whether we could trade, borrow, or share with others. This opportunity has allowed us to buy less and share more. We have realised that we do not need to own everything in our lives, that in many instances it would be more effective to use something that another person owns. We have also been able to see that when we do own something, it can be well worth it to lend it to someone else when we are not using it.
We’re buying less and becoming more sustainable. In many instances, we are now putting more thought into the ‘things’ that exist in our lives and shifting our lifestyles accordingly.
What do our members think? Over 75% of people think the sharing economy is either positive or potentially positive, however, there are quite a few concerns that remain. Trust appears to be one of the biggest hurdles to being a part of this new structure of trading goods and services.
Trusting strangers has and will likely always be an incredible barrier for most of us. The sharing economy has many wonderful benefits, but without trust and a shared respect for one another, the system cannot truly work. While there are those who have broken this trust, it appears that “it’s actually surprising how little it goes wrong.”
When thinking of sharing some of the most important spaces in our lives with strangers, such as our homes or our cars, it can seem incredibly risky and daunting. However, it seem to be that the first time is always the most nerve-wracking. We have created many safety nets within the sharing economy that helps to create a safe environment for this sharing to take place. Because we use our technology for these trades, our transactions are safer than ever before, both in our money and in the people we are trusting. The platforms for sharing carry out background checks on each party involved and you can even do your own research on who you might be sharing with!
All of these things come together and allow us to build trust. It is likely be that the sharing economy will continue to be part of the mix, simultaneously fitting into and shifting other parts of our economy. With these shifts, we are being pushed to become more aware of what we are using, what we are purchasing, and how we can reach an end goal collectively. To do this, we must have trust. We can all do more to build trust in our communities and it all starts with the seemingly small actions that each of us takes every day.
How can we build more trust on a daily basis?
Be mindful of what your word means. When we become more thoughtful of what we say to others, our word becomes more powerful and truthful. “Keeping our word” carries a different meaning when we continuously strive for trust and honesty with ourselves and others.
Listen to others. When we take the time to listen to what others are saying, what they need, and how they view others, we can move forward with them accordingly, doing our best to build trust instead of misunderstanding.
Take time making decisions. Being more thoughtful in what we say yes to
Show gratitude. Treating others’ actions with respect shows those around us that we see what they do for us. When we acknowledge the
Help others whenever you can. Doing something for someone else with no benefit to yourself instills trust within others. Kindness goes much further than we think. Try helping just one person each day, however you can!
Don’t hide feelings! Trust requires openness and this includes our own feelings, both the good and the bad. Hiding how we feel creates boundaries between us and others, while sharing how we feel opens new doors we never thought possible. Everyone feels the ways we do. When we hide this, we do a disservice to ourselves and others.
Be patient. It takes time to build trust, especially when we’re looking at entire communities. Do your best, others will follow.
Get involved in the sharing! Try swapping, loaning, and sharing! See how it feels to provide a service to someone and to use something from someone else. Take a leap, trust in a stranger.
Let us know what you think about sharing in the comments below! We can’t wait to hear your voice.