'No' is a very discouraging word, but there are a few ways to handle it graciously:
Well, this is our opportunity to make a classy exit. Offer a kind 'thank you,' and be appreciative this individual took the time to consider your proposal and respond with an answer. Receiving no response is the worst kind of rejection; it's better to know that door has been closed rather than being left to wait and wonder, realizing you've been more than rejected; you've been ignored.
It's okay to ask questions about why they came to this decision; this feedback may offer constructive criticism to improve for the future. However, lashing out, being sarcastic, or even outlining all the reasons why they made a mistake and will be sorry is not leaving a good impression on your character.
Be gracious and you'll be remembered for just that.
Take a Moment
After you've chosen to remain kind and to hold yourself together, give yourself a moment to cry it out. It's okay to use this time to internalize the decision and make the choice to move past it and on to the next one. You may break down to yourself, so long as you pick the pieces right back up and walk away stronger.
Remember You're Not Alone
Everyone experiences rejection. Even people who are very successful; it happens to the best of us. Out of every one hundred emails you send, you might receive only a handful of 'yes'.' That small percentage of "yes'" will be the only ones you really need.
It's Not Always Personal
It's important to take chances and accept challenges often. Rejection hurts, but it's not always personal. There's a lot of competition in the world and a lot of the people are out fighting for the same dream. Naturally, there might be others who fit the part better or who showcase the right talent for what was sought out for. We must also remember, the deciders who tell us 'yes' or 'no' are people. They might like Applicant A today, but Applicant B tomorrow. It's not always the case that 'you must be better.' Sometimes the case is it wasn't meant to be with that particular instance, and you actually don't need to stress about changing something and making yourself 'better.'
The lesson here is to apply, and to apply for things regularly:
- You'll get rejected much more often, which as a result after time, no longer feels as painful.
- You will better your chances on receiving many more 'yes'."
- You'll always stay on your toes, be focused, and in a constant motion for improvement.
- Or, you'll learn that it wasn't for you, and there's something or someone that's a much better fit for you on the horizon.
It Can Refuel Your Fire
Rejection is like a big wake up call. When everything is always going great, we may often get comfortable. Rejection keeps you on your toes and also lights the fire to push even harder for the next one. Use this to motivate yourself and as a friendly reminder for what else might be out there. When we try at something with all our efforts, we get attached and block out all other options. We get stuck and put our hopes in only one possibility. Rejection allows us to clear our heads and look for more possibilities we didn't believe were possible.
Whether it's being turned down for a job, missing the opportunity on a creative project, receiving a rejection letter from a dream college or hearing back from a crush who doesn't feel the same way about you, rejection is part of life. We learn from it in two ways: getting better for the next time, or realizing it wasn't right for you after all. There's a chance, unless you really made a mistake in a job interview or was blatantly rude during a date, the rejection may not have been your fault. The match (whether professional, creative, academic or romantic) simply wasn't meant to be for you. Don't dwell on it, and certainly don't regret it.
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