As we mature, saying 'shut up' would not be couth, good manners. So, we learn proper rejection etiquette.
1. No, by itself, can be curt and dismissive. Always add 'sorry' before or after rejection.
ex. "Sorry, but you can't..."2. Always thank the 'reject' for something.
ex. "Thank you for submitting your application...."
3. Always end making the person feel as if you care.
ex. "Good Luck in your..."
By the time you are 30, most folks are experts in rejecting, being rejected...many times both. We have rehearsed the relationship boiler plate "it's you, not me" and discovered the unwritten code of what clubs and groups you are 'uninvited' to be a part of. Professionally, when rejecting someone, we carefully weigh out the pros and cons of the decision, bottom line, competition, and attempt to forecast all possible consequences. After critically thinking through the issue, a deliberate decision is made to invite or exclude each idea, person, project. In either case, a deliberate exclusion is made.
Sorry. Reject. Deny. Not Accepted...True, the words of rejection we hear as adults have a softer edge...but they still have an edge! When on the receiving end, we are supposed to accept our rejection graciously and thank the person rejecting us for being rejected. That's the rules...even if it hurts our feelings. You must play by the rules. Right? Not. If you are feeling hurt, even a little, by the rejection I think you should do something about it. No matter how politely stated, another person or organization is returning back something we wanted to share that belongs to us. And, in a deliberate way. Whether the person or organization returns that idea, employment, love back to you used or unused may or may not affect your emotion. But if does hurt your feelings and you respond in the same boiler plate fashion you are denying your own emotions.
"Emotion: The human spirit experienced in the flesh." - Jerry Tucker, The Experience of Politics: You and the American Government
Why You May Need To Address Your Rejection:
- Rejection is often treated as a superficial, flesh wound. We reject others by routine. We accept rejection as natural. However, if it something that you cared deeply about, rejection can affect your spirit. It can be spiritual. That is why something needs to be done about it. An injured spirit can affect your confidence and future decisions by seeding doubt and fear.
- If you don't validate your emotions, who will?
- So your emotions don't 'leak' onto other people or projects.
- Write a thank you letter to the person or organization that rejected you. Let them know of your disappointment but respect for the decision made. Doing this leverages your emotions in a way that honors how you feel but doesn't make the other person feel bad or responsible for your feelings. If you can, find a way to discreetly ask something about the idea or person that was accepted. Maybe the job description was not written to speak directly to the consummate needs of the organization and the selected candidate just had the right je nes a quois. It may be nothing you could have done differently.
- Reflect on the idea, situation, or application you presented. Try to understand the decision from the lens of the person who rejected you. Maybe the guy you designated as your 'perfect man' is not really sure about his future as you are. Maybe your confidence overwhelms him, makes him feel like his options are lessened by being with you. Or, maybe dating someone with kids translates into more responsibility than he wants. Knowing that won't change you or the situation, nor should it, but it may create peace.
- Adjust. Once you address your emotions, you can think critically about the decision. Maybe just a part was weak and the rest is really good. Or maybe more is weak. Either way, there is something to take from the rejection. Adjust, but don't start from scratch.
- Plan your next move. Think about what new space was freed up in your schedule, life, or career now that you have been rejected and prepare for it. New opportunities often outshine old possibilities.
- Recycle the Rejection Responsibly. Start rejecting a few ideas, situations, and people of your own that are not a good fit. Sometimes, we get rejected because we had no business being in that situation anyhow. The other person or entity was just being realistic. When you do start pushing the reject button, be sure and think about the other person's feelings while honoring your own.