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How to Respond to a Rejection & Handle It the Right Way Even If It Hurts

When you put yourself out there and get shut down you may be sad, angry, or worse. But knowing how to respond to a rejection is a part of life.

how to respond to a rejection

When you’re in shock and hurt, how do you control your reaction? Well, it may take some time to learn how to respond to a rejection, but you can remain calm, cool, and collected.

In the face of a rejection your emotions can take over, causing you to do or say some things you’ll later regret. But if you can take a rejection with class and poise you’ll not only feel better, but also come off as both mature and respectful. [Read: How to handle rejection without making a fool of yourself]

We’ve all been rejected

Rejection is a part of life. If it isn’t a romantic rejection it is a professional one, and learning how to handle that in the best way is an important life lesson.

We have all been turned down a time or two. Maybe we were broken up with or perhaps you got a no to your first date proposal. You could have just offered to buy someone a drink or asked for their number without a positive response. But learning how to respond to a rejection like that will make you a more confident person.

How to respond to a rejection

When it comes to being rejected, there are some things you want to do and others you definitely want to avoid. Embarrassing yourself after a rejection will only make the entire situation a whole lot worse. No matter the level of rejection you just endured, here are some dos and don’ts to makes the situation a bit smoother and easier.

#1 Don’t be passive aggressive. It is human nature to avoid confrontation. So when you are rejected but upset about it, instead of blatantly confronting the person as to why, you are passive aggressive. And the thing about this behavior is that you are not always aware that you’re doing it.

Whoever you asked out, if they reject you your behavior might change. Perhaps you are less likely to do a favor for that coworker, give a big tip, or you may even avoid eye contact. You may be polite and cordial in plan sight, but that underhanded rudeness will fester.

Just because you didn’t get the outcome you were hoping for doesn’t give you the right to be rude, even in a minor or subtle way. [Read: How to stop being passive aggressive and get out of the toxic state]

#2 Do be respectful. If someone rejects a date, a marriage proposal, or even refuses to give you their number, no matter the situation, be respectful. Of course, if this is a request for a first date being respectful should be easy. Say “oh, okay no problem,” and walk away.

But if you are rejected after having a serious connection, you probably want answers and reasons. You deserve them. But there is a way to get those answers while being respectful. Even if you are furious, take a breath, calm down, and talk. You can cry and scream later, when you are alone. [Read: This is how to be classy in different situations]

#3 Don’t dwell on why. In a serious situation, dwelling on why you were rejected is human nature. And although it is usually more complicated than something you did, but rather the relationship as a whole, no matter how much closure you get, it will fester for a bit.

Now if someone rejected you after a first date, some flirty texts, or just wasn’t interested in talking at a bar, let that go. There could be a million and one reasons why. The majority of them probably have nothing to do with you. So don’t think you did something wrong, that you’re ugly, or the like.

And whether they provide a reason or not, if you want to know how to respond to a rejection the right way, respect their decision and walk away. They don’t owe you anything. Even if you are the nicest person in the world, they have the right to reject you. A rejection is not a personal attack on you. Try not to take it that way.

#4 Do remember you tried. Be proud of yourself for taking a risk and putting yourself out there. Yes, the outcome may not be what you wanted, but you gave it a go and that is something to celebrate.

Asking someone out is not easy, but you did it. You didn’t know how it would end up, but you took the risk. And now you have been rejected, but so what? Life goes on. [Read: How to bounce back and get over rejection in no time]

#5 Don’t make it about you. As I said earlier, being rejected although it feels like it, is not usually about you. Often someone had a bad day, is getting out of a relationship, or even is in a relationship. And whether they told you that or not, rejection is not about you.

Think of it like this: If you don’t get a job you applied for, it probably isn’t that you were lacking something, but that there was just someone else that was a better fit. That does not mean you won’t get any job, just that that one wasn’t right for you. So you move on and apply again.

#6 Do accept it. This person rejected you. Accept it. If you’re wondering how to respond to a rejection, do not try to convince them otherwise. Don’t try to change their mind. Yes, some people will come around, but unless they continue to flirt or show signs they are interested, accept that they are not interested and move on.

It may sound harsh, but sometimes a big part of responding to a rejection properly is taking a hint.

#7 Don’t drink or wallow. Just because you’ve been rejected does not give you an excuse to have a pity party. So don’t drown your sorrows in alcohol or complain to your friends all night.

A rejection is not the end of the world. It is a passing speed bump that you have gotten over and now you don’t have to look back. [Read: How to end your pity party and move on]

#8 Do learn from this. Although you likely did nothing wrong, you can learn from every rejection. When I was younger I would be rejected after a while and didn’t know why. But once I analyzed my behavior, I realized I was coming on too strong. I would get excited to be seeing someone, and it would freak guys out.

Now I’m not saying to hide how you feel, but just take your time. If you are always getting rejected after the third date or after making a specific move, consider changing things up moving forward. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own breakups and rejections]

#9 Don’t let it discourage you in the future. Once you get rejected so many times, it can feel like it is time to give up. Trust me I’ve been there. You ask yourself what the whole point of putting yourself out there is if you are only going to be let down.

But if you want a relationship, you can’t just wait for your perfect person to come along. You have to take a risk and put yourself out there. You may be scared of being rejected, but without taking that risk you won’t be able to be accepted either.

#10 Do watch The Bachelor. This may seem like an odd one, but if you are worried you are taking rejection badly, just binge a season or two of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. When the contestants are rejected, they react in all sorts of ways. And sometimes watching those responses is like looking in a regretful mirror.

Some men and women leave with grace, a few tears, and a kind, “I wish you all the best.” But others get angry, spew rude comments, and even refuse to say goodbye or be walked out. Take notes. If you are cringing at how someone responds to a rejection try to avoid that behavior. [Read: How to handle rejection without making a complete fool of yourself]

#11 Don’t be rude. Yes, I have already touched on this, but it is an important one. You never know when you will cross paths with someone in the future. Ending things on a positive or at least polite note is always best. Not to mention, it leaves you feeling like the air is clear and no one harbors bad feelings.

Being rude to someone because of their feelings is not fair. And although you may feel like the victim, rudeness in response to a rejection only proves to them that they made the right decision. How someone reacts to a rejection says a lot about who they are. And if you are nasty in response, it shows you cannot handle the harder parts of life. [Read: Simple ways to avoid being rude in any situation]

#12 Do move on. One thing that comes with learning how to respond to a rejection, whether it happened once or repeatedly, is expectations. You get used to a pattern and expect people to reject you. But all this does is set you up for failure. If you go in anticipating the worst, the worst will happen.

Plus, if you expect everyone you introduce yourself to, get to know, or date to reject you, you tear down your own self confidence.

[Read: 16 ways to realize you’re worth it and build your self-confidence]

If you want to know how to respond to a rejection, you take it with a grain of salt. Know that being rejected is not a knock at you. Respond with respect. Remember there is someone out there that will not reject you.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...