5 ways to destroy someone's reputation

A post about public reputation on iBenedictine's blog yesterday got me thinking about how easily someone's good name may be destroyed by unfounded rumours or distorted facts. 

Here's 5 ways to destroy someone's reputation:

  • Believe what you're told without questioning who's saying it, why and on what evidence.
  • Pass on what you've heard 'in confidence' to a few people.
  • Add a few thoughts from your own ignorance, prejudices, jealousies etc.
  • Use social media to pass on rumours or allegations: tweet, retweet, post on Facebook, blog etc.
  • Do nothing to challenge what others are saying when you know the truth is being distorted.

Easy isn't it?

It's always been easy, but with today's communication systems the damage can happen quicker and affect more people. Public figures are particularly vulnerable. I am certainly not saying that people in the public eye should not be accountable for their words and actions. They should be and where there is wrong it should be addressed in the appropriate ways, through the criminal justice system if necessary.

Most of us are private rather than public people, but the damage when a reputation is sullied by the spreading of lies or distorted truth can be devastating. James wrote that

"the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest fire is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire." (James 3: 5 - 6). 
Even so, an ill-considered tweet may be only 140 characters maximum, but its words can be passed on and on and on until it goes viral. Easy isn't it?

My next post ought to be about how to build up someone's good name. What are the best ways to do that? I'm looking for at least 5. Suggestions in the comments will be very welcome.

PS. Update March 2015.

I eventually got round to doing a post about how to build up someone's good name. Here is the link to '5 ways to avoid destroying someone's reputation'.


  1. How about simply reversing the five processes you have listed,
    Name one good fact (true or untrue) about the person in question, and follow recipe as above.?

  2. 'Keep going-there are people who believe in you'. Does that work Nancy?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks - yes I think that's helpful.


Post a Comment