How do I handle rejection??

Some background, some drama

Do you remember how you felt when you failed that math test back in school? Or when your application for inclusion in that sports team was rejected? Or more recently, when that job application didn’t work out? Even more recently, when you felt rejection in your relationship as your last girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you? We’ve all been there. Rejection has been, and will be, as normal a part of your (or anyone’s) life as your daily mail. Still, it hurts. Even though we’ve experienced it a hundred times, each rejection is a new wound.

Do’s and Don’ts

Rejection hurts and it’s real. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide you and help you handle rejection.


  • Have an appropriate grieving period. You are going to feel upset because of a rejection. It’s healthy for you to give yourself some to time to process and grieve.
  • Talk to a trusted friend.
  • Accept the rejection early. The earlier you accept the rejection and attempt to move on from it, the easier a time you're going to have. It will also mean that you won't let rejections in the future absolutely flatten you.
  • Do something else. You need to get your mind off the rejection after the appropriate grieving time. You need a little space and time from it.
  • Re-frame the rejection. Remember that rejection is not about you as person. Focus on learning from the rejection.
  • Know when to quit. When something doesn't work out, that doesn't always mean you should give up, but it's important to recognize when it's time to give up and move on.
  • Use it to improve. Sometimes rejection can be an important wake-up call and can help you improve your life.
  • Remember you are allowed to say "no." This can be a hard one for a lot of people, especially women, but you are under no obligation to say "yes" to something you don't want to do.
  • Sometimes thought patterns ("I'm not good enough," etc.) get entrenched in your psyche and each rejection only furthers the entrenchment. If you find yourself really and truly unable to let go of the rejection, seek professional help.


  • Do not take rejection personally. Remember that the rejection says nothing about you as a person. Getting rejected is part of life and it is not a personal attack. Rejection isn't your fault, per se. The other person was rejecting something particular that didn't work for them. They were rejecting the request, not you.
  • Don't allow it to control your future. Rejection, as has already been said, is a part of life. Trying to avoid it or dwelling on it will make you unhappy. You need to be able to accept that things don't always work out the way you want them to and that's okay! Just because one thing didn't work out, doesn't mean you're a failure or that nothing will work out.
  • Don’t get a free rein to shout your pain; it only shows that you're whiny and dramatic and can't handle life. Get a trusted friend/family member and talk it over with them.
  • Don’t dwell on it. It's time to let that rejection go. Keep yourself going forward. Dwelling on the past rejections are going to keep you mired in the past and won't let you enjoy the present.

Last words

Any kind of rejection, no matter if it's in love, your career or friends is not something that should affect how happy you are. Rejection doesn't feel great and sometimes it feels unfathomable but it shouldn't be something you permit to take away happiness from your life. It is a healthy attitude to accept that rejection is a part of life and to acknowledge that what really matters is finding the way to bounce back and try again.

Sources and citations