I’m not sure what you call it, common courtesy, good manners, graciousness, or a show of respect. But what I do know is that I don’t hear it often enough and it bugs me.
Growing up, I was taught to say “you’re welcome” in reply to hearing the term “thank you.” According to urbandictionary.com, the phrase is a polite way to respond to thanks. It’s a sign of acknowledgment, it tells someone that you are respecting their gesture of appreciation, it’s just common courtesy…right?
Today when I say “thank you” the response I get is “no problem.” What’s that…no problem? What…was it really a problem in the first place? Is this your automatic response to everything? Or do you really NOT care?
Most often, I hear “no problem” in the service industry or from The Teenager (which I correct her every time!) When I hear the phrase, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Why? Because the term “no problem” indicates there actually was a problem. We service providers (and parents, children, and generally caring people) need to eliminate this term from our vocabulary. We need to get back to basics and show some courtesy and respect, in a positive way, with just a few simple words.
If saying “you’re welcome” goes against your belief system or is just unnatural for you to say, here are a few other polite and service-minded responses you could try:
- It was my pleasure
- I am/was happy to….
- You are VERY welcome (like how I snuck that one in there?)
When you’re done reading this, turn to someone in your office or home and thank them for something. Listen to their response. Tell me, do you feel a difference when you hear “you’re welcome” instead of “no problem”? I know I do, and I want everyone to have that feeling of appreciation. So, help me out West Michigan women (and men), join me on this mission to eliminate this problematic, unappreciative phrase and start saying “you’re welcome” each and every time.
Written by: Jennifer Reeves is the director of sales and service for West Michigan Woman's publishing company, Serendipity Media. She is a customer-service guru, and she is known around the office for her electrifying personality and contagious laugh. When she isn’t spreading cheer at Serendipity, she is relaxing at her home in Holland with her beloved daughter Mackenzie.