expert jury living with rejection

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How should you cope with being snubbed?

Virginia Ironside

Agony Aunt

You should try not to let everyone know what a lowly worm you feel - but you have to be very thick-skinned not to take a snub personally. Reacting with dignity is the ideal reponse, though not always possible, of course. The problem can be when vulnerable people imagine that one snub is just the tip of an iceberg, and that the whole world is waiting to snub them. It isn't true, of course. Ideally, you should remain strong and cool, and pretend that you don't give a pin. It's psychological warfare, almost like a game of chess - you have to make the right move, or it could weaken you in the future.

Nicholas de Jongh

Theatre critic, Evening Standard

You should react with wit and grace. If people bother to snub you, it is because they consider you worth noticing. Point- scoring should be avoided if at all possible - it is a pretty pathetic procedure. The playwright John Osborne barred me from his recent funeral, which I suppose you could call a snub from beyond the grave. He did it because I wrote an article revealing that many years ago he had a gay love-affair, which his ex-partner remembers with great affection. He wasn't that greatly loved, so I'd have thought he would have welcomed it.

"Turn the other cheek" is a good maxim. John Major seems to do that a lot, but possibly that is because he can't think of which other part of his body to turn.

Ken Livingstone

Labour MP

Well, the main snub I had, of course, was the day the GLC was abolished. Neil Kinnock ignored me all the time he was leader of the party and ever since, in fact, but I tried not to let it bother me. Every time he walked past, I'd just say "Hello Neil," and he wouldn't respond. I've been doing that for nine years now, and not much has changed. But you don't react to it, it happens to us all.

Jessica Greenman


You must work out if they are right or if they are just jealous. Self- doubt is the only true source of majesty, and who could kill the king? Rejection is a very big question-mark. My reaction would be to write a novel about it.

Paul Crocker

Pensions consultant

Depends what the snub involves, of course, but as a pointer I would say react immediately with something very rude, then sober up and try to think of a non-aggressive way of placating the situation.

Fiona Pitt-Kethley


One's reaction depends upon the level of snub, I suppose. I clocked up about 86 rejections before my first book was published, but you have to shake these things off - like bad reviews, they're water off a duck's back.

If someone deliberately snubs you, however, I'm all for revenge. One of the best ways is to give them bad publicity. For example, the Reed Poetry List has just been axed, and myself and many other poets have been dumped, so recently when I was on the radio, I nominated the company's Managing Director as "Literary Lowlife of the Year" - on a programme that his company had arranged for me to appear on. The interesting thing is that they paid me an out of court settlement rather quickly after that.

Rory Bremner


It never pays to be childish about these things. It's much better to hide their satchel than to scribble on their locker. Even with a big crayon.