Living life online means that when serious conflict occurs, you have one of two choices: you can end the relationship and make a clean break (unfriend, un-link, stop following, block) or you can stay connected.
I typically choose to stay connected, although I will occasionally take someone off a Twitter list. I have had people unfriend and un-link from me, and even if I understand why, it still stings.
When business relationships end uncomfortably, you may be tempted to disconnect on social media.
- Wait for the happy ending! Even if you feel bad now, your ire will likely dissipate with the passing of time. You connected/worked with that person for a reason, likely because they added value to your life and work in some way. If you stay connected, your story could have a better resolution. Earlier this week, a former business connection reached out to me with an apology. This friend and once-partner apologized and took responsibility for his “stuff” related to our parting. He told me he would have made the same choice if the tables had been turned. I have had many moments of second guessing my choice to end our partnership — staying connected allowed for this re-connection and healing of our friendship. Now we can move on to a stronger connection — which would not have been possible if I had disconnected.
- Look for the value you can add. If you stay connected, you may find ways to make a difference, ways that heal your previously uncomfortable relationship. After choosing to step away from working with a client, I kept retweeting her. I truly enjoy her as a person and am glad when I can find ways to help her. By maintaining a positive outlook instead of focusing on difficulty, you can and will add value for others, even after troubles.
- Be open to how others can give to you. By staying connected, even after conflict, you are leaving a door of opportunity open to receive from others. Even if it seems impossible now, you may be amazed by the benefits of staying connected, even to people who have disappointed or hurt you.
Tell me something! What benefits do you see in staying connected when relationships sour? How have you been surprised by happy endings?
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.