Whether I "like" a story or not, says nothing about the writer as a human being. I know some wonderful people who can't write a story to save their life. Similarly, I know some brilliant writers who I wouldn't invite into my home and one or two who should be locked up and the key not just thrown away but destroyed. But, I know that quite a few writers have their self-esteem, their sense of self-worth tied up with their writing. I'm really not into taking a chunk out of anyone's self-esteem.
Furthermore, I am a bit blinded in formulating the dreaded rejection letter as I know nothing about the person I'm sending it to. If I knew the person I was communicating with, then I could tailor my email to suit their personality.
And so I am pondering the best solution to my dilemma, a form rejection letter or a personal critique of the story. I'm not sure what the answer is. I know that no matter what I decide to do, there will be a few people who will feel more pain than the situation calls for. While it is quite natural to feel disappointment, it shouldn't be taken personally, because it isn't. It really and truly isn't.