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How to Handle Rejection Gracefully

crossing-crossroad-businessman-fashionI’ve been there. I’ve asked girls out on dates and they said no. I’ve asked for raises or applied for new jobs and have been shut down.

In each instance it’s important to remember to be graceful about how you handle the situation.

I realize it can be extremely hard to hear that something you had hoped for is not going to happen. But how you conduct yourself when you’re faced with an ending that didn’t go as you’d hoped shows what kind of character you have. Your behavior can set the stage for future encounters with employers or love interests.

The first thing you have to do when faced with these situations is to maintain control. Take several deep breaths — or sigh if you have to — but keeping your composure is essential. If you get angry or disappointed it’s important to maintain control over your behavior. Don’t say something you’ll regret, or do something out of your normal character. If you have to express your disappointment do it in a way that is still kind and understanding of the person that you’re interacting with.

Another thing that’s important is to refrain from trying to force the issue. Stay calm and collected and bow out gracefully. It will save you an incredible amount of embarrassment.

Learning to handle yourself gracefully in the midst of rejection is a valuable skill to have. It comes in handy not only in moments of rejection but also in heated situations like arguments and debates. Conceding, while it may be against your nature to do so, shows that you remain unfazed by extreme emotional fluctuations.

I personally have had to keep my lid on in moments of extreme delusion and paranoia. Staying cool and calm has really helped, especially when I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening.

Another piece of advice is the value of letting go. Whether it’s an argument or a delusion, holding on to these things long after they’ve passed doesn’t benefit you. Letting go of the issue is important not only for your own mental health, but also keeps your friendships, work relationships, and other kinds of relationships intact.

When a situation doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, I know how easy it is to sit and obsess about it for hours or even days. Releasing the anxiety also releases the burden of the situation, which help you maintain stability. Simply say, “I accept that this is the way it is,” and move on.

Letting go and not fighting your inclination to hold onto things can be extremely beneficial in helping you maintain stability. It can also set the stage for future interactions. Forgive the other person if you have to. Harboring ill will towards someone isn’t good for either party, and it can contribute to stress which is an automatic light switch for future symptoms related to mental illness.

Knowing the reality of a situation and handling it well can serve you well in every area of your life. Rejection is a part of life and learning to handle it gracefully is extremely important.

Remember that everybody has difficult moments and you are never alone in feeling the way that you do.

How to Handle Rejection Gracefully

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). How to Handle Rejection Gracefully. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 11 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.