3 Tips for Changing an Unwanted Reputation

Reputations are something that everyone worries about from time to time. Especially when you’re in school, it can seem like your reputation is everything. That’s why it can be so crushing if you’re given a label that is negative, hurtful, or simply doesn’t represent who you really are. In these cases, it’s understandable to be frustrated, or to feel like no one’s recognizing all your potential.  And it can be overwhelming to think about changing that.

With the new year just beginning, now is the perfect time to make positive changes that can lead to a shift in reputation. It’s also a great time to make a shift in the qualities you feel are most important, and the people whose opinions really matter most to you. Take a look at these 3 tips to find out more:

  1. Learn from your Label. Hurtful labels are never deserved, but sometimes even an unwanted reputation can give us insight into other peoples’ perceptions. Are you sick of being called the quiet one? The rude one? The one who can’t keep a secret? If so, this could give you an idea about the behaviors you need to change in order to attract the relationships you want. If you’re tired of being called shy, try challenging yourself to get involved in more conversations. If you’ve been labeled a gossip, think more carefully about respecting the privacy of others. By making some positive changes, and being consistent about it, you can turn things around in terms of how you’re viewed.
  2. Build your Reputation around What’s Important. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about who is the most popular, the funniest, the coolest, the best dressed, etc. But these kinds of reputations are fleeting and won’t necessarily help you build lasting friendships. Instead, focus on gaining recognition for being considerate, reliable, and genuine. These are the qualities that matter more in the long run, and they’re the ones that will help you to have successful social relationships. I think we can all agree that a reputation doesn’t matter much if you aren’t happy and healthy in your social life.
  3. Know whose opinion matters. In life, everyone is going to have some kind of opinion of you. That’s why it’s important to decide which opinions really matter, and forget about the rest. You want to make sure that your family and friends are able to recognize all the good things you have to offer. If you think your reputation among the people you care about could be better, talk to them about how. Focus on improving relationships, and the reputation will catch up.

It’s important to keep in mind that changing a reputation takes patience. It almost never happens overnight. Start by making small changes, and correcting behaviors that have pushed people away in the past. Use these changes to improve current relationships, and focus on building a reputation as someone who is nice and dependable. A change in how you’re viewed is likely to follow, but even if it doesn’t, you have a better chance of strengthening your relationships. And that’s really what’s most important.

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Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More