Got Screwed? Think twice before burning the bridge!

screwed over

Getting screwed over sucks, but it happens to the best of us. I can’t express how many times I have been screwed over and the sad part is it usually could have been avoided if I made the other party sign a contract.

If you are like me and have been screwed over, the first feeling that goes to your head is anger. I know it is hard to control, but keep in mind that you can’t let emotions get in your way. All it will do is cloud your judgment.

Instead of letting the anger get to you, try and end the relationship on peaceful terms. Even if that means you are going to end up with the short end of the stick, at least the other party won’t be able to say anything bad about you. And once the relationship is over, you also don’t want to say anything bad about the them.

For example, when I first started out in the business world, I would curse people out who screwed me over. This lead to burned bridges and sadly it lost me future consulting deals because some of those people wrote negative comments about me on the web. Later on I learned to swallow my pride and I apologized to those individuals, which lead them to remove their nasty comments about me.

Now if you fast forward a few years, I am still getting screwed, but I have learned to end relationships on good terms. For example, the last company that screwed me caused a loss in revenue of around $19,000, but a few months later they referred me to another client which led to a revenue increase of $240,000.

Now granted, most things will not work out in your favor, but if you don’t burn bridges sooner or later things will come back to you in your advantage. (just like Karma)

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  1. Good advice Neil šŸ™‚

    (I lol’d at the picture, too)

  2. I have actually done this very same thing with being screwed and being the bigger person. Turns out the company ended up coming back to me later on and made up for all the initial loss.

    Great article and great points Neil.

  3. Great stuff, Neil. This post applies to something I’m going through currently; it’s been a test of my diplomacy but I’m a better professional for keeping myself in check.

    I think at the end of the day, we all know this, but it’s a good reminder. Thanks!

  4. Seriously though, how’d you find that pic? Anyway, good post as I have lived this. Got screwed over big time but I was cool about it and I got a lot of respect as a result down the road.

  5. I think that is a pretty rare case but I do like the thought process. Submitted to Stumbleupon šŸ™‚


  6. I disagree. So the person who screwed you gets away with it? Well that’s no way to live your life. You take their blows and they feel no remorse? You need to fight back, so what if you burn bridges, there are lots of them anyway, and people have short memories. I say, stand your ground, be strong and screw them back if possible.

    • I am not too sure on the fighting back approach. I have tried it and haven’t been successful. Maybe I was doing something wrong.

      Either way, I like the idea of being the bigger person. From what I have experienced, things come back around to your advantage.

      • The fighting back approach is difficult after being screwed over. The person who screwed you over knows they have broken the trust, and they are on their guard. It makes it harder to get payback. It may never come from you, but if they play that game with people long enough they usually get burned as well. Some people are masters at manipulation and keeping an upper hand. Its best for your own well being to let it go and practice forgiveness. Who has the time to be thinking or plotting revenge on somebody anyways?I can think of a million things id rather do.

    • I have to agree with nick, there are some people in this world that don’t get their “karma” and sometimes its best to let them know that what this or that person did is inexcusable. Being the bigger person after being screwed badly just makes you out to be weak especially if other people are around to witness it. I believe it all depends on the situation and in certain cases it deserves to be met…

      • You need to be able to let things go else they’ll destroy you in the long run.

        • The voice of reason :

          Neil…you need to learn that you are a sucker. If you just let it go, you have no place in business. Man up and stop slinging bad advice just because you have no balls. Learn the lesson before dispensing. It’s yours to learn.

  7. Neil,

    I know people hire you but did you ever hire someone for getting something done? And if that someone has screwed you, what are you going to go about it?

    Will you give them another chance? I wouldn’t because you don’t want to be bitten by the same snake twice.

    Your thoughts?

    • I have hired people for getting stuff done. In multiple cases when they screw me, I usually give them another chance. In these cases, most of them are 9 to 5 employees and there are a lot of legalities involved with firing them.

      As for contractors I usually end up giving them a second chance and if that doesn’t work out, I fire them.

  8. Wherever possible, I always try to emerge from a negative situation by keeping my own dignity intact.

    If the other party screws with me, that highlights more their poor business approach than it does mine.

    As much as positive word-of-mouth is the best source of recommendation for any business, so any unethical behaviour will have a detrimental impact on their reputation.

    As business is all about building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, I can’t see many people wanting to work with any individual or enterprise who habitually screws people over.

  9. Well put Christopher. In some cases, as you mentioned, it is probably wise to stand your ground while keeping a professional demeanor.

  10. you live and you learn, getting screwed is just part of business. how to limit your risk to unfavorable outcomes can only be learned through experiences in which you lose out. Not every relationship can be profitable, you win some you lose some, but in the long run, if you stay patient and respectful you will get the gold.

    Contracts can’t always protect you either because if the party breaches a contract, its hell trying to enforce the terms, who wants to end up in court?

    • And if the contract is with a large corporation, you are really screwed. They know they can take it to court and drain all of your money, which means you are better off letting it go.

  11. You are a very smart man.

    You know, I just got done posting about how Market Leverage screwed me over on my blog but now I am thinking it was not such a great idea. Hahaha…

    Tomorrow I’ll write a followup post or something talking about that.

  12. hmm, starting to believe in this, i got screwed just a few days ago, and in some way i clicked your feed again for the first time in 2-3 months.. šŸ™‚

    You are right on this one!

  13. The pic made me LOL!

    Getting screwed over also happens in personal life and that hurts even more. It’s not just one’s pride and wallet that got trampled. It is so much harder to take the high road and not burn bridges. Kind of hard not to pray they’d grow warts. However, the rules of Karma still apply.

  14. wow – it continues to amaze me that common sense is not so common. Duh – think twice indeed DA

  15. I too can speak from experience, about getting screwed, it came down to the mistakes i made, the biggest one, like you, was not having them sign a contract, and then when i did, the contract wasn’t specific enough to address the real issues or “Fatal Flaws” of a partner.

    • The problem with contracts is that people still try to break them. For example I recently had a client who canceled, but in the contract there is a $50,000 fee for canceling early. Problem is the lady is trying to get away from it, claiming that it is my fault.

      I guess getting screwed happens to the best of us. All you can do is try and protect yourself with things like contracts, which “hopefully” helps.

      • I feel you here dude, In our business we have to watch out for shady customers who abuse the return policy. Every customer you take on can be a risk, i’ve learned, figuring out a process to filter the good ones from the shady ones is the challenge.

        • That’s really good… I think I will come up with a process that screens potential customers. Usually when customers tell me they revenue amounts like 10 or 20 million I assume they have money. But they could be losing money even at those revenue levels, which means they are a risky client to take on.

          Thanks for the tip!

  16. Great advice! Keeping things on the up-and-up and being straight-forward are always the way to go.

    • Yea, when you go the other route things won’t go well for you. If you get screwed and you can’t fix it, ruining the other persons life won’t solve your problem.

  17. The picture of Rex Grossman was not needed haha but I think anyone who has been in business has probably been screwed over at some point. It is just a part of learning and many have to get screwed a few times before they start protecting themselves.

  18. Karma is good…forgiveness works really well too. I’m sensing a theme!

  19. This is especially true when a situation arises between 2 friends. I failed to use a contract with my friend and when we butted heads over our business, I got screwed. I settled with him in a peaceful way however, and to this day we are great friends. We don’t discuss business to each other though. LOL

  20. Grudges take WAY too much energy to maintain. Let it go. Negative emotions almost always hurt you more than their intended target. Unless you are an arsonist.

    • Yea, I have had a few grudges over the last week. But after letting things go I feel much better. Fighting back usually makes things worse.

      • Yep I have fought back earlier in my business career and it usually does nothing but just make it worse because if they are going to rip you off they are going to do it there is usually no remedy for getting them not to so better off just letting it go after doing basic things to protect yourself.

  21. Nice article, I can definitely say I’ve been screwed over at a young age too many times, but I never hold a grudge. I try to be peaceful, not resorting to public anger and just let things go.

    Sometimes, people just screw me over out of jealousy and that just seems wrong. I still don’t bring myself down to their level.

    • If that is the case, then you should be proud of yourself. If people want to screw you over because they want what you have, then you should be happy that you have accomplished something great.

  22. So much optimistic, wise and tactful approach Neil. Brilliant advice. Thanks.

  23. Well put Christopher. In some cases, as you mentioned, it is probably wise to stand your ground while keeping a professional demeanor.

  24. That is good advice I know that there were times when I got screwed over and I just wanted to punch them right in the face but I held back because… well I didn’t want to get in trouble. However for those events, I think I’m still waiting for my karma but I know it won’t happen right away.

  25. Nice stuff, Neil šŸ™‚ Truely speaking, i hve never screwed anybody… i feel its nt good 2 screwed any1..

  26. cash loans uk :

    To add to your great advice, I would say many a times, people you think screwed you over were only acting rationally and in their best interests and even if you yourself were there in their position, you wd have behaved the same.
    But it takes a lot of reason and experience to realise this. Till then its best t shut up and not say anything to any one.

  27. I think that comes in with that saying, always smile at those who is thought to be your enemies. It works every time. Getting screwed over does come in a lot of responsibility of how you react to the situation. I think everybody overreacts the first time. It’s all about development.

  28. Getting screwed over just makes me want to succeed even more. Your advice is good – carefully distance yourself from the arrangement/relationship but don’t be rude or confrontational.

    It’s an amazing feeling to surpass those who screwed you over – even more so when you know they are kicking themselves for doing it to you in the first place.

  29. 2 weeks ago i was at the mall and this women came up to me and said can you go into gamestop and help me? She tells me i just need you to sell these items because i have reached my limit. I go ok so i do it and im in there doing what she asked i found out they are stolen and my mom came by and got upset and we called security and i got cleared and i was let go. she then stocked me thinking i stole the items after i told her they were back in gamestop then i pulled a james bond got out of the place then ran. Come to find out from my mom she had a knife ect.

    Now what did i learn be weary but dont always think everybody is a scammer.

  30. Your advice is very helpful. I wish I would have read a few years ago…and maybe I would have done things in some other way. I had altercations at some past workplaces and I couldn’t stand and I opened my mouth and that led me to leave those place not in very friendly conditions.

  31. Hey Neil!
    Totally been there.
    I had a client who came to us with work for a development service. We completed the job way ahead of schedule in total perfection. 90 days later we were still sending him overdue billing notices. Finally I got an email saying “We don’t remember signing a contract that says that’s what we’ll pay you.” I wanted to hurt them – Hurt them baaaaad. I initially thought about taking them to court because between the emails and the Skype chats, I had enough to prove my case AND WIN. But their balance due wasn’t enough to get myself dirty rolling with pigs and wasting my time getting my case together. Once you decide to take someone to court for hurting you, you’re in combat-mode ALL THE TIME. I had to look inside myself and find out exactly what it was I was trying to prove and was it worth it? In the end I decided they weren’t worth another second of my time. If it was a larger sum I probably would have pursued them till the ends of this earth.

    One huge takeaway – NEVER work without a contract. We’re much more a business now so we never made this mistake again. But the lesson learned – just because someone sounds nice over the phone does not mean they won’t screw you over. We went on to serve many awesome clients – but all with full legal agreements attached.

    Keep doing your amazing work!


  32. Passive Income. I like the sound of that. I seem to be working hard trying to get my business going. I think I need to discover my direction and stay focused. Lots of ideas but not enough time.

  33. A client tried to lie to my wife about her daughter’s scores (my wife runs a tutoring business), and I was upset enough that I wanted to have some pretty straight talk with the client. I thought the relationship was over, but my wife kept her cool and responded professionally, and the next thing you know the client was signing up for another session with my wife.

    Just got to keep your cool.

  34. People who screw other people have to live with what they did. I firmly believe it comes back to them one way or another. I recently was screwed and was really angry, but learned that it did not do me any good. It was not going to change the fact that it happened. All the anger in the world would not make this person give me the product or the payment. The best thing I could do was cut my losses and move on. It could have been so much worse if I had stuck around longer. But I found out early enough to not have to endure major financial damage. Everything in life is a learning experience and there are people out there who are truly evil individuals posed as ncie people. I guess the trick is to learn how to navigate in the world with these types of people.

    • We all get burned in some way shape or form, but the difference between the people the people who end up still making it and don’t comes down to their ability to let it go.

  35. Sometimes there is nothing you can do though. I had no idea that this person would screw me. I trusted him implicitly and in the end he says “you chose to work on the project willingly” and says he does not have to pay me. He also still won’t send the work to me (this was a music project). I pressed for a written agreement and he refused. Perhaps I never should have proceeded without one, but that was my mistake. Anyway since he is from the other side of the world I cannot force him to send me the work. So this scumbag stole my time, my money and my talents and walked. I will be damned if he now takes up space in my mind when I have so many other great thing to focus on. This is what I mean by just letting go.

  36. Interactive Mary :

    Christopher, I agree 100% with your statement: “…there are truly bottom-feeder type people/companies who scrape by consistently screwing other people as a business model.”

    I was the victim of one of these companies and then one of their sister companies (unbeknownst to me!); both run by a former used car salesman.

    Not only do these types of people not feel remorse, the power they derive from screwing people over is so overwhelmingly gratifying that they almost can’t contain their smugness after they have manipulated, screwed, lied, cheated, stolen etc. etc. They will find out what makes a person tick and then say anything to get what they want. It’s disgusting.

    It’s like a good old boys club reminiscent of “Dinner for Schmucks” or “Trading Places” where the corrupt place some type of ridiculous bet at the expense of the “weak” for pure entertainment value.

    I, for one, am fighting back against these bottom-feeders and would suggest the same to anyone else in a similar situation.

  37. The picture really caught me eye and the content drew me in. I can’t count the number of times I have been screwed over. Every time I put money in the bank I feel like I am being screwed over. Well there’s winners and losers šŸ™

  38. This article fucking sucks and so do you, you shithead.

  39. you live and you learn, getting screwed is just part of business. how to limit your risk to unfavorable outcomes can only be learned through experiences in which you lose out. Not every relationship can be profitable, you win some you lose some, but in the long run, if you stay patient and respectful you will get the gold.

  40. If there could be more such blogs.

  41. I was working for this company that let me go. He said he would pay me my last commission which he has not. How do I go about getting paid, or getting back at him since the BBB doesnt help with employee/ employer problems? Besides taking this company to court? any suggestions?

  42. Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the challenges.

    It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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