How to Handle Rejection: 9 Helpful Strategies to React to It

Опубликовал Admin
26-04-2023, 12:10
Any kind of rejection, whether it’s related to love, your career, friends, or even a book proposal, isn’t the greatest feeling. While rejection is a fact of life and you’ll eventually be turned down by someone somewhere, we’ll teach you how to bounce back. Here, we’ll walk you through the emotional impact of rejection as well as ways to handle it with a healthy attitude. So, review our guide to weathering rejection like a pro and you’ll shine no matter what!
  • Dealing With the Immediate Aftermath
  • Dealing With Rejection Long-Term
  • Why does rejection hurt?
  • Can rejection be a good thing?
  • Rejecting Someone Else
  • Expert Q&A
  • Warnings

Dealing With the Immediate Aftermath

  1. Give yourself time to grieve. It’s totally normal to feel upset after a rejection, especially if you had your hopes up. Accept that an outcome was important to you, whether it was the idea of publishing a book, landing a job, or scoring an SO. Give yourself some time to process the disappointment—acknowledging your emotions is an important way to cope with sadness.
    • When you embrace vulnerability, you’ll discover what matters to you. For example, say, “It makes sense that I’m bummed the book deal fell through. Creativity and storytelling means a lot to me.”
    • Make time to enjoy yourself, too. Even though you might not feel like your best self, part of grieving can involve vegging out and watching your favorite show.
  2. Share your feelings with someone you trust. Right now, you might feel too tender, so it’s probably best to avoid broadcasting your rejection on social media or to people you aren’t close to. Instead, reach out to the people closest to you, like friends or family. Help your support system support you by telling them what you need—you might want to vent, or you might want to think about solutions.
    • If you just want to let off some steam, make a comment like, “I just need a shoulder to cry on. I really liked that guy! I thought our dates were a blast, too.”
    • When you’re interested in fixes, ask a question like, “How do you think I can find a better match? Is there a different app I should use or a way I should write my profile?”
    • Steer clear of posting about a rejection online. Who knows—you might land a fab job or attract a possible SO with your social media, so you want to look upbeat.
  3. Picture your next goal after grieving a rejection. Once you’ve had time to process your emotions and vent, pick yourself up and embrace that a missed opportunity will lead to an even better one. Be optimistic and visualize what’s in store for you, like a more compatible partner or a more profitable business venture. When you develop your resilience and accept change, rejection can actually be your motivation to start a new chapter.
    • For example, make a resolution to grieve over a job you didn’t get for just 1 day. That way, you can look for work right away. You may even land a good job sooner than you think.
  4. Don’t take rejection personally. Remember—rejection says nothing about you as a person. At one point or another, everyone gets rejected, and it’s never a reflection of your worth as a human being. If you do get turned down, keep in mind that the cute person you were dating, publisher, or recruiter wasn’t interested in a particular thing. Their decision wasn’t a personal attack on you.
    • Just tell yourself—people just turn down what doesn’t work for them, like mismatched schedules or visions.
    • Respect that most people reject situations that don’t work for them and don’t mean to put down people.
    • If someone only knew you for a short period of time, like a few dates, remind yourself that they just didn’t get to know you at a deep level—someone else will, though.
    • Practice positive reframing. For example, instead of saying, “She thinks I’m worthless,” tell yourself, “Another person will see how spectacular I am!”
  5. Try not to overthink about the situation. While it’s definitely important to take note of feedback, stop ruminating—obsessing—over the reasons you were turned down. Once you’ve taken note of areas of growth, like the way you wrote your resume, avoid picking yourself apart for any “mistakes.” Instead, take on new action items, like drafting an updated resume and cover letter.
    • A great way to shift your focus from rejection is to find a different way to empower yourself. For example, if you want to get your mind off that resume, spend the weekend kickboxing because it always recharges you.
  6. Don’t try to change the person’s mind. It’s tempting to try to get your foot in the door, but pleading your case won’t win you any favors. Whether you were turned down for a job, a date, or an event, show how confident you are by accepting someone’s choice. It’ll leave a positive impression and boost your reputation.
    • Be brief but polite in professional situations—“Thank you for your time and consideration.”
    • Remain upbeat but straightforward after a date—“I understand. I know you’ll find what you’re looking for! Thanks for letting me know.”
    • Stay warm with a close friend— “I totally get that the rehearsal dinner is a small gathering. Maybe we can catch up next week!”
  7. Don’t let go of important connections, like a possible friendship. Even if you weren’t the right fit for a job position, project, or relationship, there might be a situation that’s just as promising. So, if a company offers to keep your application on file or a date asks to stay buddies, stay open. You never know what might blossom down the line.
    • For example, if you interviewed for a job as a designer for a sci-fi video game but were rejected, you might get a callback for a fantasy title that’s more your style.
    • Another fun “what-if” scenario—a romantic interest that fell through might introduce you to a friend who’s just perfect for you.
  8. Focus on what you enjoy to get your mind off things. In order to give yourself a little space and allow yourself time to heal mentally, pursue your passions and enjoy fun hobbies. By living your life to the fullest and expanding your horizons, you’ll see there’s so much more to the world than that one moment in time when you got rejected. In fact, you might get so swept away that it becomes a faint memory.
    • Try to mix things up instead of going right back to whatever got rejected. For example, if you sent off a novel manuscript that got rejected, then try your hand at a different piece, like an anthology of poetry.
    • Celebrate one small rejection as a gateway to a whole world of adventures. Now, you can go out dancing, buy that new book that you really wanted, or take the weekend and go to the beach with a friend.
    • Find a way to unwind after a rejection. Some people turn to their faith, others to a hot bath and meditation. Clear your mind, release negative emotions, and restore your inner balance.

Dealing With Rejection Long-Term

  1. Re-frame the rejection. Remember that rejection is not about you as a person. Turn your focus away from any self-criticism and concentrate on a situation that someone turned down. When you remove the spotlight from yourself, you “re-frame” the rejection. With this clever trick, you reclaim your value and refuse to take the blame for someone else’s preferences.
    • One of the best ones to use is "it didn't work out" because it removes the blame from them and from you.
    • For example, if you ask someone out and they say no, re-frame the thought, “They rejected me,” by pointing out to yourself, “They rejected the idea of going on a date.”
    • If you aren’t hearing back from a friend, you can always re-frame by telling yourself, “We just grew apart. It happens!”
    • If you didn’t get that job you had your eye on, just re-frame and shake it off with a comment like, “We had different priorities—onto greener pastures!”
  2. Keep your eyes on the next prize—a new opportunity. To save yourself a ton of time, cut your losses and move on. No need to see it as giving up. When you redirect your focus from the past and toward the future, you’ll boost your chances that your next “at bat” will knock everyone out of the park.
    • If one person didn’t end up being the right match for you, keep up your faith that you’ll find love again.
    • If your manuscript gets rejected by one publisher, shop a new story around by reaching out to other publishers or agents.
    • Basically, for any situation, remember that a rejection is just a stepping stone to the best case scenario for you.
  3. Think about what you’d like to improve about yourself. Sometimes, rejection is a blessing in disguise because it motivates you to better yourself and be the best you can be. Maybe you want to be a good writer, be more attractive, or have a good job interview. Make a to-do list of ways you can level up so you’ll measure your personal growth and experience an incredible new version of yourself.
    • If you can, ask for feedback from anyone who turned you down. For example, maybe your resume didn’t mention some key skills the employer was asking for. Apply whatever you learned the next time you make a resume so you can really shine and get your dream job.
    • If you were romantically interested in someone, ask why they didn’t think you two were compatible. For example, maybe your goals for the future were really different. In that case, you can seek out someone with similar ambitions.
  4. Forget the rejection after you’ve learned from it. Once you’ve gleaned all the lessons you can, it’s time to let that rejection go. You've already given yourself time to grieve, you've talked it over with a trusted friend, you've gathered all your feedback, so you’ve done all you can and are doing amazing. Now’s a great time to accept who you are and enjoy each day.
    • If you find yourself really and truly unable to let go of the rejection, it is a good idea to seek professional help. Sometimes thought patterns (i.e., "I'm not good enough,") become a negative feedback loop. A good professional can help you break this pattern and build your self-esteem.

Why does rejection hurt?

  1. Our brains are wired to compare rejection to actual pain. Rejection activates the same areas in our brain that physical pain does. Because of this phenomenon, even a tiny rejection—like not getting an invitation to a party—can sting. Evolutionary psychologists suggest that we evolved to react dramatically to rejection so we’d fight for a sense of belonging in society.
    • Rejection can also affect your self-esteem, impact your mood, and cause you to believe you don’t “fit in” with others.
    • It’s natural if you criticize yourself after being rejected, but this habit worsens your self-image.
    • Even though your brain might initially react negatively to rejection, if you train yourself to build a positive thinking mindset, you can soothe hurt feelings and strengthen your self-esteem.

Can rejection be a good thing?

  1. Rejection helps you embrace self-acceptance and support networks. If someone turns you down—whether it’s a romantic interest, friend, or interviewer—use their “no” as an opportunity to find a “yes” somewhere else. Prioritize anyone who gives you positive feedback. Ultimately, rejection invites you to seek out places where you’re valued and cherished.
    • Find people who love you unconditionally so that you never doubt where you stand with them.
    • Meet new people to connect with folks who embrace what you find important, from volunteering to video games.
    • Search for jobs until you’ve found the perfect match in a company that celebrates the skills you have to offer.
    • Love yourself and celebrate everything that makes you uniquely you—you’ll definitely find “your” people and opportunities that are a great fit.

Rejecting Someone Else

  1. Remember you are allowed to say "no." This can be a hard one for a lot of people, especially if you just want to be nice, but you’re never under any obligation to say "yes" to something you don't want to do. When you establish boundaries learn to politely assert yourself, you’ll create a stress-free situation for yourself.
    • If someone asks you on a date and you don't want to go with them, you can tell them in a straightforward manner that you’re not available. Say something like, “I really appreciate you, but I’m not romantically interested in you.”
    • If your friend really wants to go on a trip and you’re not up for it or can’t afford it, let them know ASAP with a remark like, “Hey, it’s just not in my budget and I’m feeling like a staycation. I hope you have fun though! Take lots of pictures!”
  2. Be direct. One of the best ways to communicate effectively and get your message across that you’re not interested is to be straightforward. Instead of talking around the situation, be nice but express your feelings. To strike the right balance between good manners and total honesty, check out these “what-if” scenarios for inspiration:
    • If you’ve already turned down a date but someone keeps trying to get your attention, say something like, “I feel confident about what I’ve said. I know you’ll find someone great, but I really need to focus on doing my own thing.”
    • When you don’t want to pursue dating but still enjoy someone’s company, suggest keeping your friendship—“I’d still love to stay in touch and hang out. I think you’re fun to be around.”
    • If you’re interested in an idea, but you’re just not ready right now, then say where you're at—”Thanks for thinking of me! I’d love to go on a girl’s trip to Napa eventually! I’ve got a ton of finals this month, though.”
  3. Be specific with your feedback. While you're definitely entitled to your privacy and don’t owe anyone an explanation, give someone pointers if you feel up to it. When you criticize constructively, you’ll help a person identify areas of improvement, like their writing or communication style. Your kind honesty will lift you both up because you’ll move on to a brighter future.
    • If someone wants to date you but you aren’t interested, guide them toward a better match. For instance, say, “I’m not ready for a long-term commitment. I bet if you write that you want to settle down with someone in the next 5 years, the right person will come along!”
    • If you’re rejecting a person’s work, like a poem for your magazine, explain what didn’t match your publication’s style—like their theme, structure, or use of clichés. They might be able to adjust their approach to match your needs or find a platform that embraces their unique voice.
    • The more quickly you gently turn someone down, the faster they'll be able to overcome rejection and focus on self-growth.


  • If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues due to a rejection, you may need support from a therapist to re-frame situations. It's nothing to be ashamed or afraid of––every person needs a compassionate guide in life now and then.
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