It’s not easy to recover or repair (which is why it’s so important to protect your reputation).
Sometimes, the loss of your reputation is through no fault of yours, but because of lies and scuttlebutt.
Sometimes it’s your own mistakes. Getting your good name back is not always easy — but it can be done, with patience, determination, and perseverance.
Know your true friends. Don’t defend yourself against lies, especially to your real friends.
Simply say that those things are not true.
Remember that your true friends won’t believe lies about you – and those who don’t know you may believe those untruths at first, but if you are patient and willing to demonstrate your good qualities, even those who don’t know you well will doubt those lies.
Don’t defend against gossip, and don’t participate in gossiping about others.
If someone has told lies about you, unless it is a situation where you simply have to justify your action, say nothing, or very little.
If you start explaining, more people will get drawn in and take sides, and in the end you realise it’s all been made worse.
Gossip is best left to die on its own – and if it’s based on lies, it will almost always do so.
Own up to your mistakes and make them right.
If you’ve actually done something unwise and now wish you hadn’t (because your reputation is in pieces as a result), think about ways of making good.
Can you, first and foremost, do the right thing: go admit what you’ve done and apologize?
It’s hard to do, but necessary. Be humble and sincere. Afterwards, try to do nice things for people, help out somewhere, be a thoughtful friend or companion – repair your reputation by covering over the unwise thing with lots of good deeds.
That way, more people will hear good about you than bad.
Seek help. If you’ve got yourself into serious trouble, tell someone who can help.
It can be parents, a religious adviser (as long as they are not going to give you a big deal about morals and make things worse), a trusted teacher, or even a complete stranger on a helpline.
Most of the time, however bad the trouble, there IS a way out of it in time.
Know that everyone makes mistakes.
Remember that within a few weeks or months at the very most, no one will remember your misdeeds because they’ll be too busy coping with their own.
Nobody’s perfect – we all live and learn from our mistakes, and we try to do better as we learn.
Don’t beat yourself up too much, but also, don’t forget what happened, and how hard it has been to restore yourself to a good opinion in the eyes of all those people you care about.
Give yourself enough time to make amends.
Too often, we make a mistake and then want it to be immediately erased.
Unfortunately, things don’t work that way – that’s why it’s smart to protect your reputation carefully by being a person of good character.
Once you’ve restored your reputation somewhat, protect it.
Don’t allow people to spread lies about you – but rather than just telling whoever told you about hearing an untrue thing about you, go and find the person who told that person.
Root it out until you find the source of the untruths. Confront that person – usually it’s most effective to simply ask why.
“What have I done to earn your hate?
Why are you saying this about me?”
Once you know where it’s coming from, you have a chance to put a stop to it entirely.
Remember that it’s very hard to “prove a negative.”
When someone says you did something, it’s hard for you to prove that you didn’t do it, unless someone knows for certain (they were with you at the time you were supposed to have done this thing).
Rather than trying to “prove or disprove” this incident, simply state your innocence and leave it at that.
In the future, be very careful to demonstrate your good character, so that when people hear that you failed to do something, the first thing they think is, “That doesn’t sound like Jay.
Something must have come up, or there must be a good reason, if that’s true.”
You can’t make some things right.
No apology will satisfy certain types of people – instead, they enjoy playing the victim and painting you as a villain. In those cases, it’s best to move on.