How To Rebuild Your Reputation After A Bankruptcy Lawsuit
Bankruptcy is a very stressful ordeal. There’s a reason filing for protection from creditors should be treated as the process is intended – a last resort to get out of financial trouble. It’s a very unpleasant experience that’s sure to anger a lot of people and create a generally negative perception of you in the community. In the long run, however, bankruptcy may be the only way to get out from under burdensome debt and get back on the right track. Even so, filing for protection will most assuredly be a black mark on your record for quite a while. What’s more, it can be extremely difficult to shepherd your reputation through a bankruptcy and start rebuilding on the other side. For this reason, many people choose to hire experts to improve their public image. Whether or not you choose to work with a professional, here are some tips that can help you rebuild your reputation.
- Get out of the headlines. During your bankruptcy and the time directly following, it’s best to avoid the spotlight. Being publicly visible is tricky because you often can’t control how you’re presented or perceived; and you certainly don’t want to compound any negative perceptions that people may have of you due to your bankruptcy. Make sure that you stay out of trouble and avoid associating with anyone who might get themselves in trouble and hurt your reputation indirectly. Go quietly about your business for a while. Avoid making any major announcements, don’t break the law, and try to lead a quiet life while you put more time between you and your bankruptcy. People tend to forget things as they fade into the past, so time is your friend.
- Don’t be confrontational. Regardless of the situation or whether you’re in the right, people generally develop very negative perceptions of those who are argumentative or boisterous. After your bankruptcy, don’t argue with people publicly or on social media. In fact, try not to argue at all, most especially about your bankruptcy or anything leading up to it. Adopt an air of humility – it will go a long way toward negating any harmful ideas people might have about you. It can be difficult to swallow your pride and let people keep their misconceptions, but in the long run it will be even worse for your reputation if you argue with them.
- Be conservative and forthright in your business dealings. After your bankruptcy, you should make sure that all of your bills are paid in full and on time. If there were any creditors who incurred losses as a result of your bankruptcy, you may want to try making restitution when and where you can – even if it’s only a fraction of what they were owed. Going forward, don’t be too aggressive in your business or personal lifestyle. Avoid frivolous spending. Instead, be conservative, thrifty and responsible. People will begin to take notice and the perception that you’ve learned lessons from your bankruptcy will go a long way to improve your reputation.
- Explore opportunities to get involved in philanthropy on a small scale. Awhile after your bankruptcy, look for one or two local charities that you can help in some small way. Don’t go throwing money around – that will make people think much less of you. Instead, volunteer your time. Look for lower-level, humbling tasks that you can take on to help local causes. You want to be seen as being helpful, rather than trying to take control. Make sure these are causes that you care about or hold some genuine attraction for you. Otherwise, it can seem like you’re only associating with charity to rebuild your image, which will be counterproductive.
Rebuilding your reputation after a bankruptcy is no easy task. After undergoing the stress and unpleasantness of bankruptcy, and finally getting through it, most people just want to move on. Unfortunately, other people aren’t always as quick to follow suit. For those who are patient and persistent, it is possible to rebuild a reputation after emerging from bankruptcy. This process will be made much easier by staying humble, keeping calm and giving people time to come around. To help rebuild your reputation quickly, be sure to follow the tips above.
Michael Lawson is a specialist bankruptcy attorney who has helped many clients in the past move past their bankruptcy. He currently writes for Blclawcenter.com. In his spare time, he likes to enjoy some downtime traveling with his family.