Not everyone’s good or bad impression matter to us. This post is for those people whose bad impressions do matter.
In the first part of this blog, we have spoken about how a Bad impression is created between friends or colleagues.
If you are like most people, you could relate to one of the stories there – The story of Angela, Anand or Andrew.
Let us now see what we can do about such situations.
The Chain Reaction
A reputation which has taken years to build can be destroyed in a matter of minutes. It can happen to the best of us, to the most honest and most intelligent of us.
It can affect us personally, like losing a friend, or professionally, like our Boss suddenly being over-critical of our jobs.
It depletes our confidence too.
When a relationship declines, it spiral downwards, no matter what we do, isn’t it?
But as they say, if Life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade!!
There are things which we can do to change that. The root cause often lie in our own minds.
If not every time, most of the time a Bad impression can be turned backwards if you know what to do and how to think.
What really happens
The eyes see what the heart wants to see.
Moreover, when we see a reaction in the other person, we also react instinctively to it. Usually this makes matters worse.
- Angela’s story: Dr. Alfred wasn’t feeling good about Angela on the first day, and he was not be his normal comfortable self, and certainly not be in a mood for cracking jokes. Now, Angela who is less confident herself, seeing this, felt depressed and reacted accordingly. Next day, even though Dr. Alfred wanted to forget about the matter and return back to his normal demeanour, seeing Angela’s cold reaction he was not able to. The cold war continued.
Once again, seeing that the Doctor is still behaving distant, Angela holds on to her reactions and to her belief that their relationship has lost the charm. This becomes a self-sustaining chain reaction.
- Anand’s Story: In the case of David and Anand, Anand knows that a bad impression has been formed. His mind will try to hold on to this fact until it can, hence turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The next day, even if David realises his mistakes, and tries to talk normally, Anand’s mind may make him defensive. Anand might act cold with him, which David, being superior in rank, may not be able to accept.
- Andrew’s story: Andrew knew Stanley was not at fault. All he wanted was a simple: “I am sorry I could not be there for you!” and things would have been back to normal. But Stanley simply did not know how to reach out. He kept thinking things will get back by themselves.Well, they seldom do. It cost them a lifetime of friendship.
A relationship which could have been mended merely by staying normal, ends.There are things we can do, though, to break this Self-sustaining Chain reaction.
5 steps to swap a Bad impression backwards!
Whether it is a personal relationship or professional, our errors remain the same usually. Hence, the remedy also is broadly similar. The following steps need to be slightly modified based on your relationship with the person.
1. Stay confident:
When you are accused by someone who was close to you, a part of you, even if a small part, loses confidence in yourself.
That may make you extremely defensive and can even make you arrogant. Alternatively you turn cold and distant. This will make matters worse.
Instead, if you think you were at fault, accept that graciously and promise yourself never to repeat it. At the same time stay confident in your own abilities. If you have failed once, that does not mean you are a failure!!
If you think you were not at fault, explain your position with minimum words. Let them get the idea that you were correct.
Do not use personal statements like: “You should have known that before accusing me!!” That is sort of a given, and it is effective only when the other person realizes it himself.
Do not try to over-explain yourself.
You cannot clear the misunderstanding in one shot and regain your place. That will happen eventually.
2. Don’t expect an Apology
For any person to apologize to you, it takes a huge lot of self-control and courage. Do not expect that from anyone ever. If you get that, you are very lucky.
Even a criminal needs a confession chamber and an absolute disclosure of secrecy before he apologizes – TO GOD!!!
So if you think you are being wrongly accused, expecting a formal apology will be too idealistic. Instead, you will be able to read from their tone whether the other person has realised his fault. Listen to those cues and then take it easy. See the other person with love and respect.
3. Wait for your time
Be patient, wait for the right time. That will come.
Eventually, you will be able to turn that Bad impression around again. Just wait for it.
Do not expect that to happen in a day. It will happen when it happens. Meanwhile, if you want to return to your natural relationship, you need to be your natural self with the other person.
4. Do not reciprocate the other person’s feelings.
Even if you think he hates you, do not hate him back for it.
He has not given you any reason to, right? Many people react to the way they are treated by treating the other person the same way. It is our inherent defence system which does not want to ridicule ourselves and somehow justifies that by ridiculing them back.
This does not build a healthy relationship.
Instead, think of the reasons why you liked him in the first place and maintain the same feelings. Be your normal self and have the same idea about the other person as you had before. Your thoughts about the other person, positive or negative, gets reflected in your actions all the time!!
5. The opportunity
There will be a day when you will be needed. One conversation that day, one meaningful assistance when the person needs it, or one display of excellence, can swap the entire bad impression into a good one!!!
You do not know when that will come, but it always does. Do feel positive about the relationship, wait for an opportunity like that. Even if your assistance is not sought, be a bit proactive to extend that helping hand, and you will see things will get back to normal again. Do not claim any credit for it.
Your real achievement is in turning the relationship around.
A number of small gestures can also accumulate into a pleasant impression over time. Be your natural self and you will find ways to do them automatically.
I don’t care what anybody says, relationships going bad, is not a one-way street!!
A Bad impression Can be turned inside out!!
I have seen changes happening in my own life and in the lives of others, for the bad or for the better. You just need to be positive about it!!
If Angela smiles at Dr. Alfred every day and wishes him the same way, the good Doctor will one day start a conversation himself again saying :”Hey, you look happy Angela!!! What’s up!!??”
If Anand stops explaining himself and stop sending defensive emails to his Bosses, instead concentrating on his job, he will return to performing like he did before, and eventually, all eyes will turn towards him again! If Stanley simply tells Andrew how sorry he felt for not being there when he needed him, they can get back to being the same old friends they always were.
Do not lose hope. If you have created an impression, it can be recreated again!!
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