How To Fix A Bad Reputation

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

how to fix a bad reputationYour name is a valuable form of currency in this world. When people have negative perceptions about you, it can be damaging.

Whether it’s a repeated negative behavior or characteristic, or a bad decision like an arrest, a public scandal, or a court case, a damaged reputation is not easy to fix or recover from. People who don’t know you will form negative perceptions about you. 

There is a lot to sort through, and you may feel many emotions, including anger, humiliation, sadness, or isolation. 

No matter how much you’ve royally screwed up, it is possible to fix your reputation, though it may take a significant amount of time and effort.

How To Change a Bad Reputation: 9 Tips

Rebuilding your reputation at work or in your personal life begins by looking inward to understand how to fix what you’ve done. Ultimately, you must accept what you did and the consequences. Remember, it’s a long road to recover once your reputation is ruined – but it is possible. Read these tips so you can get started on damage control today.

Own Up To Your Actions

The first step to fixing a bad reputation is owning up to your actions- first, to yourself, and then, to everyone affected by it. Admitting your mistakes shows that you take full responsibility for your actions.

Use This to Better Yourself 

Stupid mistakes can serve as a wake-up call that what you did to put yourself into a bad situation is not working. You can turn a negative situation into an opportunity to better yourself and get positive feedback. 

Reinvent Yourself

Strive to be a new and better person. Identify the negative patterns, values, or activities that lead you down this road, and work to eliminate them. Create realistic goals, find a role model, and know that it will take time to change.

Make Amends 

Do something positive to compensate for the negative impact you may have caused someone in the past. Addressing the issues directly can go a long way. Use positive energy and go the extra mile to compensate for wrongdoings.

Talk About It

It may be difficult, but talking through your mistakes with someone you can trust can help. Whether it’s a family member, close friend, or even a therapist, it’s always good to talk through what is happening. These people will be there to hear you out and provide guidance.

Build Trust Over Time

People may be wary of trusting you right away, depending on the situation. Trust among loved ones, family members, friends, and even colleagues was likely broken. Making amends can take a significant amount of time. In some cases, regaining their trust can take many years or even decades. 

Accept That People May Not Forget

People may forgive you and care less about your mistakes over time, but they will still remember. 

Turn It Into a Strength

Overcoming a problem or issue that caused a bad reputation can be turned into a strength.

Learn From Your Mistake

You will learn plenty of lessons from a life-altering mistake, so try to move on. There’s plenty of life left to live, and you have time to build your reputation back up again.


Signs Your Bad Reputation May Affecting You

A bad reputation may be affecting your overall quality of life. 

signs that a bad reputation is affecting your life

  • Dating – In the new landscape of online dating, your reputation can affect your ability to meet someone new and go on dates. Your potential date may check you out on social media or Google your name. While managing your online dating image can help, you’ll need more to shake off a bad reputation online. 
  • Job applications – Whether you wish to advance your career, or change careers, your reputation may also affect your career. To fix a bad reputation and put your career back on track, career reputation management can help you improve your online image. Employers are doing thorough background checks as part of an intensive interview process.
  • Entrepreneurs and small business owners – Not only will a bad reputation hurt your business, but you may also put yourself in a bind when you apply for a business loan.
  • College/grad school applications – When applying to a college or graduate school, admins will certainly take a look at your online brand. They will type your name in Google and leverage social media to get a sense of who you are. 
  • Family and friends – Despite a bad reputation, loyal family and friends will be on your side. But you may notice that, with a bad reputation, some friends and family members may disassociate from you.


Working on your reputation can improve all of these aspects of life. So, how can you recover and repair your reputation? Keep reading to learn about the reputation risk management process.

What You Can Do To Fix Your Reputation Online

The result of a public blunder of your reputation can often be taken online. There may be articles written about you, social media users sharing negative thoughts, or worse, trying to reach out to you or find more dirt on you from your profile.

Ask Publishers to Remove or Update Articles

A good starting point is to ask online publishers to remove or update articles that slighted you – particularly if the article does not have factual information. Find the author of the post, or the editor of the website, and email them, kindly asking them to remove the article.


Suppress Negative Search Results

When a publisher refuses to remove an article, it’s time to take additional action. The next step is to suppress negative search results. Suppression is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that pushes negative results in Google down by adding or creating new, positive content to be shown above it.


Clean Your Social Media

Be sure to scrub your social media thoroughly for any inappropriate or offensive content you may have. In more serious cases, you may even remove your social media temporarily.


Where To Go To Get Your Reputation Back

Working with a reputation management company like Reputation911 can put you in control of what is being said about you online.

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Reputation911 provides personal reputation management services for those looking to rebuild a good reputation and manage reputational risk. Our experts work with you to develop a detailed plan addressing your online reputation.

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