I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat. — Sylvester Stallone
Most (all?) of us have been rejected at some point in our lives, so we know we can look back at those moments for motivation and strength. Whether for a job, a relationship, or a sports team, we have learned that sadness and anger can be just as beneficial to personal drive as happiness.
And although the underlying rejection stings, often what makes it worse is how the rejection is delivered, so when it’s our turn to do the rejecting, most of us would rather not hurt feelings or burn bridges.
Here are a few tips to help make rejection a bit easier for the other person:
Give a compliment to soften the blow
It might take some doing to find, but everyone has a redeeming quality you can use to begin the conversation. Start with a compliment to show that you at least appreciate his/her efforts.
Go straight to the point
This means be brief when you soften the blow! If you go on about how wonderful they are, you mislead others about where the conversation is going. By being straightforward with what you say, you communicate to other people that you value their time and that you respect them enough to be honest.
Be brave and do it in person
Do not reject by email or text. It is disrespectful and signals that even you cannot defend the decision to reject.
Practice what you are going to say
If you want to leave on the best terms possible, practice what you’re going to say. Out loud. Do you words ring true to you? Do they sound harsh?
Make it a two-way conversation
It is not a conversation if you are the only one speaking. If you will continue to have an on-going relationship, let the other person talk as well. Yes, it can be hard to listen to their frustrations and disappointments, but it will help the relationship going forward. Even if it is a personal relationship that you do not wish to continue, letting the other people have their say will help them move forward.