"I enjoyed reading your essay. However, I must report that we’ve decided to give it a pass. Please note that this doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality of your work (we receive about 750 submissions for every seven we publish). I wish you the best of luck placing this piece elsewhere."
"We actually have covered this within the past year or two--a bit too soon to revisit it, but thanks for your interest."
"Thanks for your interest in ----- Magazine. Currently we're working
almost exclusively with people who work in the ---- field and are
willing to write free of charge. I wish I had a different answer for
you, but that's what we're doing at this point."
"Hi, and thanks for the look. Sorry, but we'll have to pass. Most all freelance we buy is set in the non-Florida Southeast; we rely on staff, wire service and travel columnists for coverage of destinations farther afield."
Nowhere in any of these rejections did I pick up on any kind of "bug off, your work stinks" kind of tone. Some feedback is better than no feedback, right? At least when you receive a personalized rejection, you know to cross that publication off your list and move on to the next editor.
What sort of "positive" rejections have you received? What did you learn from them? Check out this article to learn what kinds of pitches won't get rejected.