How to Deal With Rejection…Politely

Posted on August 3, 2016

It’s no secret that I get rejected all of the time – my followers are aware. But with every rejection – typically comes a new opportunity. Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace rejection and I understand that getting rejected usually means I’m on the right path.

Recently, I got rejected (surprise) from a company that I’ve worked with for the past two years (ouch!). Sometimes you think that you only get rejected at the beginning of a relationship but what about getting rejected two years into the relationship?

Clearly, it was an awkward situation. But here’s how I handled it:

First, I made sure I was hearing them correctly. I said something like, “just to make sure I understand, you are saying that we are no longer going to work together?” It was an uneasy statement to make but I wanted to make sure I heard them correctly. Second, I tried to find out the reason. I said something like this: “Would you mind explaining how you came to this decision?” Typically, when there are more than 2 reasons stated it sort of means “there was no reason.” But I listed anyhow. Thirdly, I tried to save the situation and see if the company fancied working with me in any other capacity. I said, “Even if this event doesn’t work out, I’d love to work with you in other ways, do you plan to engage the college market by doing other forms of marketing?” The answer I got was ambiguous. After I realized I wasn’t going to get much from this person, I wanted to make sure and end the conversation on the right note. I thanked the company for their support, told them we had a great run together, and I said that I still wanted to be in touch – regardless of us working together in the future. I assumed this was an uncomfortable situation for the person and tried to make her feel as comfortable as possible.

In terms of next steps, I really do plan on staying in touch with this person and this company. Afterall, you stay in touch with your professional contacts three times per year – remember?