If It’s Broken, Do You Fix It or Throw It Away?

When you have something that’s broken, do you fix it or throw it away? Many of the products we buy today, especially electronics, have become disposable commodities that are more cost-effective to replace than repair.

Unfortunately, this same attitude has transferred over to many other areas of lives, particularly relationships. If a relationship no longer works for us, we’re quick to throw it away and look for another one to replace it. In describing the generational attitude of her parents who recently celebrated their 35th anniversary, an acquaintance said “they are of a generation that when something broke, they fixed it instead of throwing it away.” She was specifically talking about their view on relationships, not possessions.

It got me thinking about the value we place on relationships at work. When a relationship needs repairing in the workplace, what’s your instinct? Do you try to fix it or just throw it away?

Relationships have an inherent value that goes beyond the surface-level, transactional nature of workplace interactions, and each exchange you have with a co-worker is an opportunity to enrich or degrade the relationship. My friend Jon Mertz recently wrote a blog article about the importance of understanding the type of “wake” you leave behind in your interactions with others. People interested in building high-trust relationships understand the importance of leaving behind a wake of integrity, sincerity, and authenticity in their associations with colleagues.

When it comes to repairing a broken relationship, if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

Granted, it takes two people to be in relationship, and if one party isn’t willing to fix what’s broken, it may not be possible to fully repair it. However, the only thing that each of us ultimately controls is our own actions. Leading with trust means reaching for the greater good that exists within us, placing a premium value on our relationships, and making the effort to repair what’s broken rather than throwing it away. Relationships aren’t easily replaced.

8 Comments on “If It’s Broken, Do You Fix It or Throw It Away?

  1. Great article! Thank you for posting. Until we learn to monitor ourselves, it is hard to be in a productive relationship – home, work or otherwise. Try to make relationships work, but knowing when it’s time to let go is important.

    • Hello Diane! I agree that self-monitoring, or self-awareness, is key. Until you are in tune with yourself it’s hard to be in tune with others.

      Thanks for your comments,


  2. A great point, Randy. There is another type of wake we leave and that is one of broken or un-addressed challenging relationships. We let issues fester, rather than take them on and fix them. This hit me hard this past week, and I vowed to not let things slide anymore. It is not personal; it is about the issues. Until we identify the correct issue, we cannot solve it. We cannot afford to let things slide, as it will just multiply in intensity the next round through.

    It takes trust in ourselves and others to take-on these issues with people who may be challenging. However, if we do not, it ultimately reflects back on us and what we leave behind. Un-addressed, we leave behind unanswered challenges and issues. Addressed, we leave behind an example of how to work with people and resolve challenges.

    Thanks for taking this another step. I appreciate the mention! Grateful for the work you do!


    • Thanks for your comments Jon. Your post, combined with the sermon from church yesterday, were the inspirations behind my article. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me something?!

      Take care,


  3. Randy – this is a great post and true both personally and professionally… Clearly there are times when we should throw away relationships but it should be a rare thing versus what we see today. I am personally on a crusade to change this and revolutionize relationships on planet Earth. Thanks for your contribution to accomplishing this goal! Be well and I’m spreading this post….

    • Hi Denise. I’m glad you found this article helpful and I’m glad that I could play a small part in your crusade!

      Take care,


  4. We can alsovquestion the saying ” if it aint broken, don’t fix it”. With the proper maintenance, attention and fixing “smaller” issues an irreparable damage can often be avoided.

    • Great point Carl. Periodic maintenance is the key to keep smaller issues from becoming bigger ones. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Best regards,


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