The other day, I was running to catch an elevator and the person coming out of it held the door open for me. I said “thank you” and he responded “no worries.” No worries? I thought about it for a minute. I’ve heard and, I believe, have even used this phrase. For the first time, I pondered what was he, or was it I, potentially worried about? Hmmm.
In yesterday’s “Ask Amy” column in the Seattle Times there was a question by a 76-year old man. He wrote that several teenagers in his neighborhood help him with small tasks and when he says “thank you” they respond “no problem”. He asked Amy, “…when and why ‘you’re welcome’ was replaced by “no problem.”
That made me wonder what “you’re welcome” means. My Google search took me to Urban Dictionary where it said “it’s a polite way to respond to thanks. Implies that the other person is welcome to ask for any other favors.” Well that was news to me. I like that; that you are saying “I’m happy to help anytime.”
The Urban Dictionary further wrote that “you’re welcome” is “synonymous with no problem.” But the problem with “no problem” and “no worries” is they imply you were not put out by doing the favor. Is that really how to respond to “thank you?” It’s a bit like when someone compliments you on something and you say “oh, this old thing.” You’re pushing the compliment away; you’re not honoring the praise. “You’re welcome” honors the person for saying “thank you” and acknowledges their gratitude.
Thank you for listening to my thoughts, you’re welcome to respond.