How To Say 'No' Compassionately

Posted on December 15, 2015

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Of course, every rejection is different. Declaring that you want a divorce is not the same as sending rejection form letters to hundreds of candidates not hired. Still, there’s a general art to saying clean compassionate “no thank you’s” that runs through all rejection communications. It's an art, not a science, since there’s no perfect formula for ending things. Here are nine tips for how to think about that art:

1. Concentrate on honoring them, not you: We often feel guilty about having to say no, and end up rationalizing to comfort ourselves, not the rejected person. Don’t. Keep your rationalizations to yourself. Own your decision. Don’t add insult to injury by saying “I’ve decided not to engage with you any more. Now indulge me while I monologue to comfort myself.” That’s tacky.

2. In relationship we share; out of relationship we don’t: In a relationship, there’s an “us” to manage by giving and taking feedback. Out of a relationship, we’re just two separate people and “live and let live” is the cleaner approach. Rejection is the transition from “us” and separate individuals and there’s a tendency to carry forward the assumption that we owe each other feedback. Keep in mind that your rejection communications are part of that transition. Signal the transition cleanly by not pretending you’re still working things out together through feedback give and take.

3. Don’t patronize by explaining how the world works: Here’s something common but unnecessarily cold: You submit a proposal and it’s rejected with a letter that explains that, “we receive lots of proposals and can’t support them all.” Well, yes, you knew that. In more intimate rejections we find something similar, for example being told by a partner who is dumping you how love works and that it’s always a gamble. As if you didn’t know that. These patronizing explanations are probably what the rejecter needs to hear, not the person being rejected. They imply something like, “I’ve decided we don’t belong together and furthermore I’m more worldly than you.” It’s bad boilerplate. Remove it.

Read the full article of 9 tips by Jeremy E. Sherman at the link below.

Category(s):Adoption / Reunion Issues, Self-Esteem

Source material from Psychology Today

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