How to Shed a Bad Reputation

Reputation matters—just ask Taylor Swift.

Unfortunately, your reputation doesn't always reflect who you are. Maybe you made some poor choices in the past, maybe you got on the wrong person's bad side or maybe you just weren't as cool then as you are now. Whatever the reason may be, dealing with a bad reputation can be really difficult.

Reputation is built both by your actions and by gossip from those around you. Sadly, you can only control one of those things. If you want to shed your negative reputation, keep scrolling for our best tips.

Make Amends

If your bad reputation is the result of poor choices on your part, you have to make amends. Not only will it contribute to improving your position, it's also the right thing to do. Apologize to the people you've hurt and those who have been affected by your bad choices. Sometimes a genuine apology is all people need to move forward. Plus, word of your apology will make it around, allowing people to develop a different perspective of you and understand that you're truly sorry for past mistakes.

Caroline Forbes - Vampire Diaries

(The Vampire Diaries via The CW)


Set the Record Straight

While some gossip is based on reality, other rumors are totally fabricated. If you found yourself on the wrong person's bad side, false rumors might be the source of your bad reputation. If that's the case, it's time to set the record straight. Tell those around you the truth and blatantly clear up the lies surrounding your good name. You don't have to drag anyone else through the mud, but you should get your own story out there. Not everyone will believe you, but some people are sure to embrace your side. If there are two conflicting stories out there, both of them can't be true. With time, the lies will die out and your true character will shine through.


Be Overly Positive

Once you have a bad reputation, every negative thing you do acts as confirmation of your true character. Everyone is already looking at you through a lens of negativity, so it's much more likely that they'll interpret your behavior in a negative way. That means you have to go above and beyond to show that you're a good person. Be overly kind. Be helpful and encouraging. Give everyone compliments. Always embrace a positive attitude.

In other words, act like a total angel who could never do anything wrong. While this might be exhausting, it's also the best way to clear up the negativity surrounding you. When you treat people with kindness, they'll struggle to believe you're bad person. With a little time and effort, your entire reputation will change.

Cheryl - Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)


Ignore the Negative

If you feed into all the bad things you hear about yourself, you're going to start believing it. Not only will you feel discouraged and hopeless, you'll also be incapable of embracing the mindset you need to change your bad reputation. If you want things to improve, you have to ignore the negativity around you. Don't let other people tell you who you are—be confident in who you know you are. Once you let go of those negative comments, your mindset will improve immensely. A positive outlook transforms you into a positive person, which will help change your reputation.


Be Who You Want To Be

You know who you are, but who do you want to be? In order to change your reputation, you have to ask yourself this question. How do you want people to perceive you? What do you want people to feel when they're done talking to you? Think of what you would ideally want out of your future self, and then work to be that person. By aspiring to a defined future, you give yourself a goal to work towards. You might not become that person right away, but you'll still be taking steps to change the negative perception of yourself.

Zoey looking at something off in the distance on an episode of Grown-ish

(Grown-ish via Freeform)


Branch Out

If you're dealing with a negative reputation, you don't have to stay trapped with the same people who think poorly of you. If you struggle to change the perception of who you are, finding new friends might be the answer. Give yourself a chance to bond with people who will see who you really are, instead of believing the rumors and gossip. Finding a new tribe gives you an opportunity to escape an old reputation. You don't have to cut ties with your old pals, but you may find that you prefer people who see the real you, instead of those who are caught up in your bad reputation.


Give It Time

Altering a bad reputation doesn't happen in the blink of an eye. A few good actions won't wipe out people's entire perception of you. Difficult as it may be to deal with a bad reputation, you have to give it time to change. Don't rush things and don't become discouraged if things aren't happening as quickly as you'd like. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.


Looking for more advice? Click HERE for five tips for creating a unique Instagram aesthetic.