Have you sent an important e-mail to someone recently and are still waiting for that person to e-mail you back? Has it been over 3 days since you sent the e-mail? It was probably a question about a business relationship, job application, coffee meeting, or a request to get press for your company.

But, still no reply. Weird, right?

You probably made up excuses about why that person hasn’t emailed you back:

“She’s a busy person. She’s probably running across town as we speak going from meeting to meeting.”

“He probably has it starred in his e-mail and is waiting to get 20 minutes of relaxation so he can sit down and respond back to me.”

“He probably forwarded it to someone else, and that person hasn’t responded back yet.”

Let me clue you in. That person already replied back to you, and the answer is NO.

Except the response isn’t in your inbox or stuck in your SPAM folder. The lack of a response was the response.

Here is what that person told you, without ever speaking a word or lifting a finger.

No, I don’t want to get coffee with you.
No, I don’t want to write about you on my blog.
No, I cannot connect you with that person.
No, you are not a fit for this job position.

Here are the 10 emotional stages of e-mail rejection:

  1. Excitement – Send an important email to the person you are looking to connect with.
  2. Anxiety – Constant refreshing of your e-mail for the first 5 hours.
  3. Curiosity –  Wondering why they haven’t responded back yet.
  4. Investigation – Checking your spam folder to see if it’s in SPAM.
  5. Confusion – You start questioning your contents of the e-mail. Maybe it was too long or too short? Maybe they didn’t like you when you first met them? Why has that person not responded back yet?
  6. Sadness – Be honest, it’s a little dejecting to send an important email and not get a response.
  7. Anger – Why hasn’t that person responded back? How unprofessional of them. If they wanted to say no, all they had to do was say NO. That person doesn’t know what they’re missing out on.
  8. Acceptance – You have come to acceptance with the person not e-mailing you back. It is what it is.
  9. Lack of Acceptance- Okay, so you haven’t truly accepted it yet. They were probably busy and lost track of the e-mail you sent. So you send another follow up e-mail with a different approach.
  10. Repeat – Go to step 2 and start the process over again.

I have been on both ends of the response-less email transaction, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I wish people would give everyone an ounce of respect for what they are doing and just reply back with an honest answer.

On the other hand, for the people who get these requests all the time, I can understand where they are coming from. If they respond back to the e-mail, it’s just going to lead to another email and the vicious cycle continues. It’s not that they don’t respect the person who emailed them, it’s just that they also need to respect their own time and top priorities.

I’ve learn to accept “NO” responses and move on.

How do you avoid the pain of “No Response” rejection?

The answer to getting a better reply rate to your e-mails is to send an e-mail that offers something that clearly only benefits them. It’s about providing genuinely valuable information and connections for others before you ever ask for something from them. Be an authentic and useful connection. Don’t give them a reason to say “no.”

If you continue to do good work and get noticed in the community, they will email you back eventually. When they do finally email you, just make sure to not respond. That’ll teach them.