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The How-To Lounge: Rejecting Someone

No matter which end you’re on, rejection is an unpleasant experience. Though in some ways rejecting someone might be easier than being rejected, it can still be difficult to negotiate, especially if you want to do it nicely. So if you’ve got to let someone down easy, I have some tips to share. To see them, please


  • Always proceed with kindness. Even if you don’t feel like being nice at the time, later down the road you’ll be thankful you kept things friendly.
  • Don’t treat anyone in a way that you wouldn’t want to be treated. Yes, we learned this one back in grammar school, but it’s incredibly true.
  • Avoid hollow sentiments. It’s easy to throw out all the clichés in the book, but your rejectee will appreciate hearing the honest truth. Applicable to breakups only: never use the “it’s not you; it’s me” line. Even if it’s true, no one believes it.
  • Consider your words carefully. Just because you’re being honest, doesn’t mean you can’t phrase things to sound gentler.
  • When people are being rejected, they’re likely to demand answers and get angry. If you encounter a situation like this, try to take their accusatory questions in stride. Their anger is normal, and it won’t help anything to get defensive.


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