Don't Ask Why You Were Rejected

Published on Aug 26th, 2019 02:49 PM

I’ve noticed something that is not immediately obvious - rejections without explanations can be supremely helpful.

Imagine you are applying for a job, or for funding for a project of yours. You are confident going in – everything seems to be in place, and you are sure you will get accepted. But then you get rejected. The first question you will ask is : why? You want to know from the person exactly why you were unsuitable.

If the other party, however, does not give any reasons why you were rejected, this can be valuable to you. When people get rejected, they tend to reevaluate their initial concept under very critical eyes. What seemed perfect going in now seems riddled with flaws that could have been responsible for the rejection. The scales fall of their project and they can see it clearly. They fall out of love, and suddenly the lines on their lovers face are visible, and the once charming idiosyncrasies have become ugly flaws.

Being rejected without explanation allows people re-see their project and potentially abandon it or change it into something better. Being rejected with explanations gives them false hope – they focus then on only that small flaw that was pointed out to them and think fixing it would solve the problem.

But often, the explanation given is diplomatic and designed not to burn bridges, it’s not actual helpful advice that one can work on. So a rejection with reason can unnecessarily extend a project that should rightfully be dead. Or it could cause an over-focus on this one area, and all of the other flaws that were not listed in the reason (like personality flaws), go completely unworked on.

Getting rejected without reason is the best type of rejection, because it forces you to improve all aspects of your project. For a while, it allows you think and actually understand the problem. That’s because you’ll discover the problem by yourself.