Question posed: What is the one quality I can use to make rejection easier for the other person to accept?
Answer: Sometimes rejection requires a firm, unambiguous, one sentence that doesn’t leave room for argument of whether or not you mean ‘no’. Other times, you might want a softer approach.
So, if there’s one quality that makes me accept rejection, it isn’t wishy-washy language that makes me wonder what the rejecting person really means to say. When the rejection is offered kindly, I reply with: thank you for your honesty.
“Kind” isn’t the usual description for a rejection.
It should be. Yesterday, I experienced a rejection delivered so kindly that I accepted not getting the answer I preferred. He has power and was kind while using it, taking time to explain his opinion and urge me to keep trying. While disappointed. I also felt empowered and encouraged.
Elections often offer good examples. Ms. Clinton was kind and gracious in her concession of the U.S. Presidential election. One hopes Mr. Trump would do the same to concede a loss, although it’s unlikely since he isn’t kind by nature.
Even if the decisions weren’t my choice, conceding my losses with kindness feels healthier.
Much has been said and written about poor role models in the public realm: the accusations, rudeness, vitriol, and nastiness. This is a great example from Seth Godin of how to emulate a good role model. He wrote that if you are person being rejected…:
“Understand that you didn’t tell a story that resonated, that your homework, your details, your promise–something didn’t resonate. Figure out what it was, and learn to do better next time.”
Therefore, if you are the rejecting person, help the one you are rejecting to understand what caused your rejection so that person can figure out and learn for next time, how to be accepted.
I vote to bring back language rooted in kindness and empathy as a partial antidote to the state of the world.