Dawson’s Blog

How To Rebuild A Bad Reputation


Maybe you’ve made some bad choices, and the gossipers are now using them against you.

Or maybe someone is making up lies about you, simply trying to hurt you.

Gossiping is such a popular way for people to spend their time, and tragically, the damage it can do spreads like a virus, until someone’s reputation is seriously damaged.

You may feel like there’s no chance to counteract the horrible things they are saying. It’s going to take some time, but trust me, you can rebuild your reputation.

Here are some ideas on how to do it:

Ignore the Negative

It is very important to stop listening to all the bad things being said about youit will only bring you down and leave you feeling discouraged and hopeless.

That was Sarah’s experience, I was driving myself crazy, listening or even trying to imagine what other people were saying about me. I had to stop. Then I could finally move on.

Plan out your Future Self

Figure out what kind of person you want to be, and then work on showing that to other people. You’re well aware of how you don’t want people to view you. How do you want them to view you? And why?

Find a Friend you can Confide in

Find one other person you can talk to who will remind you of the person you want to be, and believes the best about you. If you can’t find anyone, be that person for yourself.

Are your friends adding to, or taking away, from your reputation?

Devon commented: Until I could find a good friend, I had to keep telling myself over and over I am not the person they say I am. I’m a good person and though I’m not perfect, I’m working on getting better.

Be Honest about your Mistakes

If the source of the gossip is rooted in truth, let people (especially the people you care about the most) know what is true, but that you want to change. Then, over time, go about proving it to them!

Time will usually heal a lot of difficult situations.

A New Group of Friends?

Figure out if you need a new group of friends.  Are your friends adding value to, or taking away, from your reputation? If they are affecting your reputation in a negative way, you don’t have to neglect, or start talking badly about them, but you might want to add some new people into your lifepeople who are known to say encouraging and positive things.

Misty said: I found out from another friend that the people I was hanging out with were only hurting my reputation. I still care about them, but I need to be careful about what influence they might be having on me.

Show you care about Other People

Smile, and be nice to people you see. Take a genuine interest in what other people are doing or thinking. People always appreciate someone who seems to care. You’ll find that people will be drawn to you, and less likely to talk badly about you.

Simply being nice to others gives you a chance to feel good about yourself, win new friends, and allow existing acquaintances to, eventually, reconsider their thoughts about you.

Make a little change.

Sometimes changing something as simple as your hairstyle or your clothes will make a ton of difference in how people view you. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to conformjust a little bit to what seems to be the current looks.

Don’t ever try to turn into something you are not.

Be patient.

It takes time to build a good reputation. And even more time to rebuild a damaged one. In time, the truth about you will be known. A good reputation is hard to destroy. Who you are as a person speaks for itself. Besides, sometimes people go on with their own lives, and forget what was said about you.

David had this experience: I had people saying bad things about me. But after a while, people just kind of forgot about it. You just have to be patient and stay confident.


If you’re feeling like you need to rebuild your reputation, ask your close friends or family what they see to be your positive or negative traits. What do they think would be beneficial for you to adjust, in order to help improve your reputation?

No matter what you do to rebuild your reputation, don’t ever try to turn into something you are not. Just remember to be true to yourself, and honest to your closest friends. As you seek to live the best life you can, you will be able to hold your head held high no matter what other people say about you.

Rebuild a bad reputation also by working on your self-esteem. It’s possible to change what you and others think about you.  TheHopeLine’s eBook, Understanding Self-Worth, gives practical advice on how to increase your self-worth.

Dawson McAllister Dawson McAllister (born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania) is an American speaker, radio host, and author. He is the founder of Dawson McAllister Association and TheHopeLine and host of the national radio program Dawson McAllister Live, which is aired on Sunday nights. Dawson has been speaking to and in support of teenagers and young adults for over 40 years.
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  • Brooke Mayer

    I’ve been there. I even got fired once on the excuse that I’m “not a good fit” because all my coworkers hated me so much. I just couldn’t understand it. I seem to annoy everyone no matter where I go just by being myself.
    I’m sorry bro. I wish I had something useful to tell you, but the only thing I’ve learned after 30 years is just to distract myself with video games and avoid people as much as possible.

    • Garrison Lizotte

      I’m not alone!!!! Dude I’m 100% in the same shoes, it feels good im not the only one in the same crappy situation.

  • Thank you for reaching out for help. You are being treated unfairly and you’re not alone in this struggle. It’s important to talk to someone about what is going on. Call or chat with a HopeCoach 24/7 at http://www.thehopeline.com/gethelp.

  • The Angel of Encouragement

    Don’t worry…it will pass! Hang in there. Let them see that you can’t be broken by the mean things they say. If you want to emerge from the situation strong, focus on assignments/tasks and deliver an amazing job. Nobody will be able to deny how hard you worked.

  • Emily

    I read this because I was looking for strategies to start over after a 15 year relationship with a controlling abuser type. Everything I’ve known with him was all loose ends- we even ended up living in a town 70 miles from my hometown (isolation to continue abuse) where I don’t know anyone and after 5 years the only thing that has worked out is my concurrent enrollment to finish my BA at the university near by- which will be done this coming year! I am an outsider in this small town- many of the jobs I have been offered I had to decline or dropped because my ex would have not decided to work- instead it would be me and the state and continued charity and welfare supporting us! Or he’d wait for ways to spend my student loans- the first year I went back to school, I knew he was a total manipulator! He wanted my loans to buy music gear and get a computer. I finally got clear of him with the help of a woman’s organization and now he’s Mr. Superdad- a guy who couldn’t have given a hoot about our kids before! But while I was with him, I tried many churches, felt lonely, alone and unwelcome in places I tried to make inroads- and then I realized: I really looked sorta desperate and I’m sure quite poor! Not in rags poor, but sorta slovenly poor and I was probably emotionally unhinged around my kids and couldn’t stay focused.
    I now realize I need to try something different or change something to maybe fit in a bit better- to have people in this uptight community at least greet me more warmly! Sometimes we choose people to have in our lives that drive OTHER people away: that’s what my ex is like- people think he’s weird or “off” because he is- he’s a big arrogant man-child who has sucked me and my family dry of resources and acted like HE was being persecuted! He’s told me he is active in “father’s rights” readings and stuff like that- I always had thought he had a misogynist streak, but once I had him thrown out of here I knew that I was more than right- he’ll never own up to it! Thanks for the advice- I want to make a difference in my life and the lives of my children.

    • We are so proud of you!!! What an incredible story of survival and victory! Thank you for sharing your story and your wisdom. If you need extra encouragement or just someone to chat with anytime 24/7 we are here to cheer you on! http://www.thehopeline.com/gethelp/

  • mh

    I am under a lot of stress for several years now due to my destroyed reputation。People who were under my management started spreading lies about me which had destroyed my reputation at work. I decided to resign because i cant take the stares and criticisms anymore but it didnt stop since it went viral as well coz they talked about me on facebook, we transferred residence and yet this bad reputation followed me to a point that i am afraid to leave our house. Everytime i will go out, even to fetch my kids from school, people around the neighborhood would say that i went out to steal. This lie even spread in my sons school and i cant really take it anymore. Please help me…….

    • zilvervisje

      You are not the only one. Dont let them know it affects you ,because they will go on with it.

  • Aiden Elmoussa

    I am 11 years old and many people at school are mean to me. i am an average size and have a sturdy body. I am 5′ 4. I have no social problems but sometimes people are mean because i am not popular. I need to have them WANTING to be around me, please help

    • Garrison Lizotte

      you dont have it that bad, i used to get slammed into lockers and made fun of every single day recess was the worst part of growing up.

  • Mirriam

    I have slept with a number of men of whom most I thought I would end up dating but nothing, some of these guys I would deal simultaneously. I also had a bad friend who I had to let go of because she was also reflecting bad on me as she was worse with the sleeping around.
    I feel bad because I have since changed and in an honest relationship with someone who really loves me and I love him (despite him having 4 kids from 2 different women already and I a son). I am no longer that girl. But he was told by two people already to be ‘very very careful’ with me. I don’t know how I can relieve his fear as I have been nothing but faithful and will continue to be.
    You can call me what you want but I know deep down I am no longer so belittling of myself…. What I wanted to know though….is it too late?

    • Cornillia

      It’s never too late, I think you should be proud of yourself and how far you’ve come :).

  • Cornillia

    I had best friends for a long time until I left for college and came back. Idk what happened I kept in touch. But after one bad date in my home town and after refusing to sleep with a guy- they all took the guys side who didn’t even grow up here.

    They pretty much said they liked him better and spread Rumers about me being a hoe… it’s very hard to live in this town now. I’m literally moving away and haven’t told anyone where to be honest besides a family member where. I don’t know who to trust or who says nasty things behind my back.

  • I am so sorry you are going through this. You don’t deserve to be treated like this. Everyone makes mistakes and we learn from them and move forward. We are here for you if you want to chat – https://www.thehopeline.com/gethelp/ Chatting with a HopeCoach is free and private. Hang in there!

  • Maedros Bott

    I did some bad things recently and I overheard my colleagues talk and laugh about me – I feel as though they know something and I’m fearful that it’s the one thing that is terrible. I can’t stop thinking about it – I feel betrayed but mostly shameful. I am generally a very kind and helpful person – so I hope that by following the above advice I can restore my reputation so that the good in me can somehow cover up for the bad. I’ve decided to just keep to myself and do my job – I hate myself right now and I would that the mountains could just fall on me or that I just become extinct both mind and body.

    • walkinthepark77

      Ive felt that before. Maybe you feel pressure to be perfect? You need to give yourself a break. Think of someone you know who is medium popular. They have friends and deserve respect, right? Are they perfect? How do they handle when they’ve f’d up? I bet they don’t whip themselves. It’s hard when you take ‘being good’ so seriously, but you need to forgive yourself and then the next person who alludes to your f up, remember they are not perfect and can only make you feel bad if you let them. What’s more, they are being hypocritical. Most likely if they’re holding on to your mistake they’re using you to make themselves feel superior. They are not. Chin up. You are a worthy deserving person.

  • Alexander

    Im 16 and im very shy around girls,my classmates takes this as an opportunity and spread rumors about me around the whole town,they gossip about my family,and now my family’s reputation is ruined because of me

  • Help

    I met a female younger coworker at a retail store that I worked and now she has blacklisted me all over town.
    With her mothers help in the Christian community all over the city where I live.making up lies about and getting people to hate me.

    • Yolo Swaggins

      thats unfortunate

  • shitija

    Now i am experiancing worst conditions,
    in my school my teachers never pay attention to me,
    my frnds r the worst,
    in front of whole class they r giving bad examples of mine n insulting me in front of all,
    they r not my frnds they r my enemy,
    i just need someone to guide me

    • Yolo Swaggins

      I’ve been there, try to command respect from people, if that doesn’t work try not to take them seriously

  • Sadness

    I’m far more difficult to change.. This all because of untrusted. I was damaged by a person who think they know me very well.. but infact they wasn’t! First of all, and also my nightmare began, they secretly installed a spyware on my phone and stole all my personal data include photo, msg, call list, contact, email they can even use my phone GPS to track my actual location. Finally they share all my personal content like photo etc. To varieties of community…seriously damaged my personal life, image and broke my heart deeply.. eventually i became a weird guys from others points of view, the most importantly I lost lot of friendships, career opportunities, and respectful that every mankind should have.. I became freedom less, being watched all the time, loosing self confidence, and finally no privacy at all.. since my current situation i can’t even do any things to against the hackers.. it was incredibly harmful my life..

    • Round and Round We Go

      You can do a lot against this person. It sounds like you know who it is. The first step is to take your phone in to have it serviced. They can remove the app that was downloaded and/or replace your phone. I would have your laptop serviced as well. The second step is to take the evidence you have and file a police report for stalking and harassment. This is beyond an advice column or site. You have been personally and legally violated. You have rights.

  • walkinthepark77

    I’ve just been accused, by someone I risked my job to help, of using my position to keep people out of work, getting people sacked, stealing my former manager’s job and gossiping about everyone. The exact opposite is true! We work in a tough environment but I’ve been everyone’s defender, though sometimes I haven’t been able to help. Now that I’ve been promoted temporarily to another department and no-one’s been told (they just think I’ve gone) the knives are all out. This person texted me to say she prayed for my downfall and is glad I have finally gone! I can never defend myself to people because I’d be breaching HR confidentiality if I spoke about any of the situations where I’ve been grossly misrepresented. It sucks. It can make a person feel worthless when they put their neck on the line for people who then try to ruin their lives. How on earth do I repair my reputation with so many ‘vested interests’ adding fuel to the fire and me unable to comment??!!

    • Round and Round We Go

      Take the text messages, emails, and your side of the story to HR. In no way should you be on the receiving end of harassing text messages. HR can pull this person in and point out to them that behavior like theirs is not what gets a promotion like yours.

  • walkinthepark77

    Can you look into suing for libel or slander? Calling this person out and making them answer for their actions may be your best option to shut them down and reclaim your reputation.

  • I am so so sorry you are going through this. We all make mistakes and no one deserves to have it gossiped about and used to shame you. We are here for you to talk about it and maybe come up with some solutions. We care about you. Click the “chat now” button to start chatting with a HopeCoach anytime 24/7. Hang in there!

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond and share your own story. Your insight and encouragement is really helpful and full of hope for the future. If you ever want to submit your story for our stories page here is the link – https://www.thehopeline.com/storiespage/

  • Round and Round We Go

    Well, to be honest, there is more to this than you have put here. No promotion is rescinded without just cause. What happened in the past few days to take your boss’ opinion of you from very high to them thinking you approach the job with a casual, “meh” attitude? What made this person think you could handle a promotion to suddenly being wary of giving it to you? How did you end up on probation?

  • Anonymous High School Student

    Throughout my first three years of high school, I was a quiet, very respectful student who would normally get the highest grades in my classes. However, currently I am almost at the end of my first semester in my senior year, which needs a lot of improvement. I been getting depressed since the middle of the previous summer vacation to the point where everything is a challenge to do. I basically went from straight As to straight Fs and need to figure out a way of changing back before I end up ruining my chances of college, or even graduation.. I’m going to be in winter break after next week, and feel like this could be my final chance to fix everything. Any advice would be most appreciated

    • xx

      hi, i’m currently in a very similar situation. good to know that am not the only one.

  • dogma

    you learn’t the hard way but, it’s not a good idea to confide things about yourself to whoever you meet who seems to be interested and friendly.

  • kj

    these are soul-sucking glee-feeding dementors just looking for their victims. do you have any idea why they chose you as their target? are you the quiet one, or the one who doesn’t get good grades?

  • hazel

    I’m currently experiencing the worst that anyone could think of. I was on drugs (weed) and somehow it interfered with my studies. I dropped out last year but going back to school this year. WhIle I was ill from it I went telling people that it might have been a mental problem not knowing how to explain or describe the type of problem I have and ever since then people went around spreading the rumour that mentally I’m not okay. I’ve been attending sessions with my psychologist just to build my confidence as well as to rebuild my reputation because people be looking at me funny now that I’m headed back to school. I’ve been depressed for months but the last time I was admitted to th hospital due to treating this drug problem. I somehow recieved healing from God. I can feel it, however they don’t see it that way. People have lost respect for me, some I would greet and they wouldn’t greet back. Some would test me just to see if I’m okay and not pains me. Mentally and pysically I’m preparing myself for school. My psychologist said something about I suffer from what we call thought disorder (people constantly being on my mind). At first I would stumble in the streets but ever since I recieved healing they stumble when they see me. Not knowing whether to greet or not. What do I do?

  • Lus Simonian

    A boy from my uni, who barely knows me, talks bad things after me overtime he sees me. I never show that I hear the things he says, but the words do hurt me. He is a friend of my ex boyfriend, and now I am engaged. Actually I do not want to tell it my boyfriend, as I am afraid of my past mistakes, that can harm my relationship. What can I do?

  • LightYagamiJeager

    About a week ago I was talking to a friend on skype and I said some really disturbing things that I shouldn’t have said (I didn’t mean any of it, it was all satire), and in that message I was talking about someone and he showed her and now her and all of her friends hate me and my “friends” don’t let me forget about it and I haven’t slept for 4 days now and it really makes me feel like sh*t because I’m having random people I’ve never talked to before come up to me and say things like “how could you say something like that it’s so disgusting” and I’ve pretty much lost all of my friends. Any advice would make my year. (I apologize for the terrible grammar I’m rushing).

  • Wendy

    I, too am in a similar situation. I was in an emotional/verbal abusive marriage. I mean I was everything name except a child of God. My self esteem had dropped extremely low. After leaving him. I began to party, drink heavily, abuse drugs and also became very promiscuous. My reputation is ruined. But I know I am a great person. Guys don’t take me serious. I just sometimes feel like I can’t shake this phase I’m in. I feel like such a hoe. And I hate it. Because I was so good to my husband and he controlled me and abused me to the point I feel of no return. Slowly but surely I can shake this weakness and become a strong respectable woman. A virtuous woman that I know that I truly. Am. God bless

  • farr

    Thankyou! This msg gave me a huge relief

  • Mary-Ann

    Sociopaths who are the ones ruining your reputation are hard to get away from. I have been trying for years.

  • A

    im dead inside