5 Ways Mentally Strong Feelers Deal With Rejection

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on August 04, 2020

People who type as Feelers in the Myers and Briggs personality system make for truly special friends and partners. That’s because they’re able to connect emotionally, communicate their thoughts and feelings, and empathize when appropriate. These types are very tuned into their emotions, which can be an essential tool to navigating the world. 

The downside to making decisions based on social considerations means it can be very difficult to manage rejection in both professional and personal environments. Connections are incredibly important to Feeling types, and you don’t want others to get upset or withdraw their friendship based on something you’ve said or done (or not said or done). 

If you are a Feeler, read on. Here are five things you can do to make handling rejection easier.

1. Remember that it’s not personal

Work rejections, in particular, can really make you feel like the mountain to success is insurmountable. One of the great things about Feeling types is that they don’t hold anything back, but that can also be a downside when they feel the full effect of a rejection. 

In work environments, it’s important to know that many factors can contribute to a rejection. For instance, a publishing house may already have an author writing similar stories, or the company may have decided to go with an internal candidate. Almost invariably, the rejection is not because you weren’t good enough as a person. It’s because you simply weren’t the right person for the job at the time.

When it comes to personal relationships, taking the ‘personal’ out of the equation can be a little more challenging, but it’s something that a Feeler must learn to do. Remember, you are a rich, full, feeling individual. Your ability to feel things deeply, and to share those emotions with others may feel overwhelming to some people. That’s not your fault -- it simply means you haven’t found a balance with that person yet. Or perhaps they weren’t the right person for you. 

In romantic relationships in particular, you’ll want to find someone who balances you and appreciates all you have to give. Romantic or platonic rejection is often a reflection of incompatibility, not a sign that you are not an excellent friend or companion.

2. Compartmentalize

One of the best ways to handle rejection, professional or personal, is to put it into its rightful place and leave it there. Professional rejection can get you down, especially if you really wanted that promotion, internship, or new job. But what’s done is done. You don’t want to give the rejection the power to impact the rest of your life or even the rest of your day. 

For some, that means screenshotting the rejection letter, putting it into a folder, and never looking at it again. For others, the act of compartmentalizing means deleting the email or throwing the letter away. 

Rejection can sting. But finding ways to keep your feelings about the rejection separate from your feelings about everything else will make it easier to move on and to continue being the happy, wonderful person you are.

3. Allow yourself space to feel

Rejection is painful and everyone hates it, no matter what their personality type. But we also experience rejection in different ways. Since Feeling types are sensitive to their emotions, it can seem like things hit harder for them than for types who are ruled by the head instead of their heart. 

A vital step in compartmentalizing, then, is giving yourself the space to process a rejection. Feelers don’t do well bottling up or ignoring their emotions. For many Feelers, the best way to the other side is through.

Don’t feel bad about taking the time you need to grieve or experience your sadness and disappointment. Perhaps you’ll want to take a walk around the neighborhood or speak with a trusted friend about what you’re going through. Rejections can mean a lot of emotions and you deserve the time to work through each one and give it the attention it's due.

That said, you don’t want to wallow. At some point, you’ll have to close the lid on the rejection box. Find a good process for embracing and experiencing your disappointment, frustration or even anger, and then work to move forward from it. How you feel is an essential part of you but it’s not the only part. You deserve to move on. 

4. Try to empathize with the other person

When we get rejected, it can feel like the person on the other end is intentionally trying to be harmful or cruel. Rationally, you know that isn’t always the case. Taking a moment to think -- really think -- about how the other person may be feeling can be very helpful in managing a rejection. 

Does your boss have their hands tied about promoting you? Is your close friend trying to let you down easy because they don't want to hurt you? Rejection is not faceless, and people don’t tend to reject others for no reason at all. One of the best qualities a Feeler possesses is the ability to see the goodness and humanity in others. Use it to your advantage!

Reflecting on the other person’s motivations will help you to put the rejection into context, and hopefully minimize some of the catastrophizing that may have been going off in your head.  Many rejections are the result of elements and factors beyond your control. Knowing how the other person is feeling can help you to accept that so you can begin moving forward.

5. Be positive

Rejections are not always bad, no matter how low they make you feel. They can even prove to be excellent catalysts for inspiring you to try harder, build higher, and dream bigger. So, lean into that. 

Rather than allowing yourself to feel down for longer than necessary, try to think of the rejection as an opportunity for reflection and self-analysis. Something you didn’t want to happen has happened, but if you handle the rejection effectively you can emerge as a better version of you. For instance, you could see this as an opportunity to find a partner that embraces all that you have to give, or to create a professional future for yourself where your skills are respected and appreciated. 

One rejection might just be the first step on a brand new journey.

Final thoughts

Rejections happen. And Feelers, most of all, can struggle with their value and self-worth after a rejection, often wondering if all the hard work they’ve put into a career or a relationship really matters. 

But of course, it does. 

Feelers use their emotions to make sense of the world and to navigate moments of joy and frustration. Allow the strength of your emotional intelligence to guide you through these challenging moments, to lift you back up, and to help you forge an even better future.


Ruby Scalera recently graduated Emerson College and has since reported on a wide variety of topics from the Equal Rights Amendment to the history of the romance novel. In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. She currently resides in Nashville.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Diane M. Fanucchi (not verified) says...

Great article, Ruby. 

As a feeler, I can really relate. And as a self-employed freelance writer, rejection is part of my job description. I still have to work not to take it persoanally or let it undermine my confidence. 


These are all really great tips. I appreciate that you don't suggest that we ignore our emotions, but that we process them, learn from them, and move on. I like the idea of compartmentalising. Feelers can be so holistic that a rejection in one area of life can feel like a judgement of who we are as a person. It helps to keep it in its place.

Gina Meade (not verified) says...

I agree. Over the years I've painfully learned to move forward. A lot of good can come from rejection. When I was passed over for a full-time position it forced me to look for another job and eventually go back to school for a career rather than just a job.

RALPH NICO LAU (not verified) says...

How dull would it be to just be an all compliant but competent bot. As a skilled INFP I just find myself being copied and left behind a lot.  Feel your heart out, vent at the source, before you develop brain cancer as these types endlessly push responsibility, steal intellectual property & profit. Remember the opposite sex also finds hope attractive, you can tell with the eyes how much love & meaning has been placed on someone's soul, its called charm, nobody wants to continue making more hopelessness in our already hopelessly vain & uptight "beat you for grades" upbringings.

Akata Hatari (not verified) says...

I have survived much rejection. So much, I could write three essays.  

From what I've read, those of us with afflicted with Rejection Sensitive Disphoria,  are touched with ADD ADHD. If I had only known all these years that Ritalin or some medication could have helped.  


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