‘Don’t burn bridges, don’t burn bridges’ … what does this cliche really mean?
It is commonly accepted to be when one ends relationships in a way that makes it difficult and almost impossible to work together again, or enter into business dealings with each other again, or seek or offer help in the future, in other words, people have ill feelings towards each other.
I can’t help but question this cliche because this cliche assumes that one has complete control of relationships when the truth is, it always take two.
I can’t help but also have a concern about it as the reality is that those who are so afraid of burning bridges, tend to break the core values of integrity and even if intact, those bridges remain on shaky ground and falter over time.
Knowing what we know today about the workplace, organizational behavior and the need to embed integrity in practice, instead of ‘don’t burn bridges’, I say, ‘treat everyone fairly, with good character, know who they are and uphold values of integrity’, and if relationships still break, nothing much can be said.
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