There is going to come a time in your career when you do something that burns a bridge with someone in your professional circles. Because we are loath to confront people or know it can be hard to eat humble pie and apologize, we just let the relationship drop.
Journalism is a big business, but it’s also a small business. I always advise never burning a bridge because you never know when you might need to cross it again. I’ll give an example.
Those who know me know that I do free resume reviews for journalists of color. I’m tough, but fair. I always tell folks that they’d rather hear it from me than wonder why no one is calling them for interviews. I had a young lady referred to me and I did her resume. It was brutal because not only did she have sparse details on her work history, but what she had was riddled with spelling and grammar errors.
The young lady took extreme exception to my edits and suggestions, and decided to curse me out. Lucky for her, I had just come home from church and I explained to her that one, I did this for free and two, I have a job, and wished her good luck. Six months later, she contacted me and asked me to help her again. I did, but others would have hung up.
But I decided to help her because she was contrite. She apologized profusely for her previous behavior, took responsibility for it and asked for forgiveness and help. And the fact that she was still jobless probably contributed to her calling me back. But I felt she was genuine, so I helped her, and she’s doing well in her career.
And even if your efforts to repair a relationship don’t have a happy ending, you still should pat yourself on the back for making the effort. You should also learn from the experience and not damage a professional relationship in the future.