I’ve been talking a lot about grit in the system lately. Grit, in the sense that it’s an inconvenience, not in the John Wayne sense; toughness, hardiness and all that.

Grit is an irritant, over time it is abrasive and it can increase wear and tear. In controlled doses irritants can be therapeutic, and abrasives can be useful too. But in the wrong place they are both pretty harmful.

When I’ve been talking about grit I’m using it as a metaphor, in the sense that it refers to behaviour, attitudes and ideas that cause friction between people.

Any mechanism that has moving parts that touch require routine check-ups and cleaning to remove grit and other irritants if it is to continue to function properly. The same is true of human relationships.

And ‘routine’ means that maintenance is scheduled; it’s carried out even when it doesn’t seem to be necessary.