Rejecting Is Not Easy
(Note: Content in this article DOES NOT by any means constitute as legal advice or professional advice. This is purely my own opinion that I’ve gained through my own experience. Please use your discretion and will. Also, I highly encourage you to seek professional advice or coaching if you need help, anytime!)
Rejection in general is not easy. For any party involved in such a scenario, whether that’s the rejecting party or the rejected party, I think it’s not easy. I’ve been on both sides — rejecting and being rejected. So I have thoughts for both sides, but today’s topic is about rejecting someone in a business context: rejecting a human in professional life. This human could be anyone from a potential client, potential hire, to any type of prospective partnership.
Humans are highly analytical creatures encoded with a lot of emotions. To most of us, rejection can mean that we’re not worthy and that we lack some sort of talent or skill. So it’s about confidence level. Of course, this is one way of looking at it. However, usually, this is not the objective frame of reference. I have rejected people, not because they are underwhelming or overwhelming, but because our “common ground” is not so big to the level I want. By this, I mean, for me to achieve my goals I’m looking for people within a certain criterion that works for me. From a common ground perspective, if they are looking for someone like me and if I find out their criteria highly overlap with mine, then that’s a match! If not, I will keep looking and probably they will do the same.
With this mindset, STILL, rejecting someone is not easy. It may arouse a lot of emotions from both sides. As the rejecting party, I used to always feel bad and anxious about the place the other party will be in after I bring the news to them. I almost felt and internalized what they are going through. Today, I still empathize when bringing such news to anyone, but with a different perspective — how big is our common ground.
I believe if you’re reading this article, you may have rejected someone in your professional life, or was rejected by someone. If you’ve been there, that’s a part of professionally growing up and I feel you! But don’t take any of this personally. You’re rejecting the person because the common ground is not so big, and it doesn’t make sense for you to financially invest in such an engagement. In business, everything always boils down to RoI (Return on Investment). If an engagement isn’t financially sound for your company, then you shouldn’t invest in such an engagement. I believe they will do the same if they were in a similar position. For example, if the person is a prospective hire, and if the salary they’re looking for isn’t a match, they will reject you, but they will potentially, still keep looking for an employer with a more common ground.
I have given you the WHY — why rejecting isn’t easy but why we should still do it when necessary. Now I want to give you the HOW as a tip — how you could potentially reject someone, or say no to a person. If you think it’s potentially going to be huge news for the party receiving the rejection, I highly encourage you to speak with them through phone or in person, rather than just sending an email or text. Check-in with their emotional state first. Ask them how they are doing, and then build their confidence, and that you’re only another opportunity for them, and the world is their oyster. Let them know the issue is not them, but the common ground. Also, if you think you both will be a potential match in the possible future, mention that too. And if possible, you’re here to help in other ways if they need it. And you could also refer them to someone else if you think they’re going to be a good fit — this is guiding them to alternate options. End it on a positive note.
After all, we’re all humans, but we all have different experiences in life. Whether you’re the rejecting party or the party receiving the rejection, please keep in mind that the other person is human too, just like you. This will help a lot!
Thanks for reading my article!
Talk to you soon. ❤