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Basic Repair Principles

There are four principles or guideposts that may assist you in repairing a damaged relationship.

  1. See the connection between repairing relationships and career success. A damaged relationship left unrepaired between you and a coworker or superior may reduce support you need at a later date. As a result, your upward mobility may be impeded. You have victimized yourself.

  2. Try to see behind the cause of the falling out. When one takes the time to study the causes of breaks in human relationships, it becomes obvious that often one party was under unusual pressure, which precipitated the rift. It is easier to forgive when such causes can be identified. Through your own perception, try to see behind misunderstandings. Once you see why misunderstandings occur, your attitude toward rebuilding damaged relationships may be more positive.

  3. Develop a willingness to rebuild damaged relationships. The more you nurse a resentment, the less effective you are in restoring a relationship. Some give-and-take from both sides is usually necessary for a satisfactory repair job. If one person is unwilling to listen, the process may never get off the ground. That is why some relationships are never repaired. Until you reach a point where your mind is open to the possibility of repair (regardless of who did the damage), you have not reached the effective level of willingness.

  4. Design your own rebuilding techniques. As you ponder just how you might initiate a rebuilding process, many questions will emerge. Can both people save face? If hostility and resentment are present, can they be dissipated through open communication so that the repair job is permanent? As you consider such factors, ask yourself these additional questions:

    • Can you insert some humor into your approach?

    • Can you be a better listener than a talker?

    • Can you “give” as much as you expect from the other person?

    • Can you forgive a little white lie so that the other person can save face?



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