At the risk of overanalyzing this whole agent thing, I'm going to share another story about a recent rejection. Here's most of the rejection email:
Thank you so much for thinking of ____ Agency for your submission. Unfortunately, it's not quite what I'm looking for at the moment. I wish I could offer a more personalized response, but do know that we read every query letter and sample we receive. Even though your project is not right for us, it might be right for another agent, so don’t give up.
Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.
I cannot imagine how difficult agents' work must be. Writing rejections must be very difficult.
However, this one makes me laugh a bit.
"I wish I could offer a more personalized response" points this out a little too much. Although I kind of know that most rejections are not personalized, this one says so--perhaps a little too directly.
But then, the email goes on to add, "that we read every query letter and sample we receive." Huh. Two things about this. First is that despite the computerized response, they do read everything.
Then the second part of this is a little more subtle: the rejection shifts from a singular, personal pronoun (I) to a plural, personal pronoun (we, us) in the second part of this email. The connotation appears to defuse the responsibility from the singular agent to a group (i.e., a group of people, not just me, decided against your work).
The ending of this impersonal rejection is a resounding good luck. Don't give up.
I've seen more than a few of these emails over the years. For some reason, this one made me laugh a little more than the others. I didn't take this one as personally (ha) as I did in the past.
Maybe I'm finally developing a sense of humor about all of this.