current events

“No Problem” is a problem

 “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”  —Nietzsche


Do you know that moment when Scooby Doo goes “Aaarug” (his puzzled grunt)? Or when Taylor Swift asks what “When you said you needed space”.   Those are the moments when you do a double-take or wonder what exactly you just heard? It is that moment when you take a step back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

By now, you all are familiar with that extremely irksome phrase of “no problem” that people use now instead of saying “you’re welcome.” You can think it is a nice gesture when someone blesses you after sneezing and you then thank the person and they respond by saying “no problem” What?  What every happened to “you’re welcome”? When we use to say the phrase “you’re welcome” we were accepting someone’s gratitude. As many may know, gratitude is a healthy part of one’s being. Learning to be thankful and regularly expressing gratitude is an important part of being happy. By being thankful we come to appreciate the smaller things in life and that can help alleviate stress.

Now think about this. When we no longer say “you’re welcome” and instead say “no problem” we have changed the gratitude equation. When we said “you’re welcome” we showed that we were happy to help, or to give a blessing. We took delight and some measure of satisfaction in helping and being thanked. Now, when people say “no problem” it signals the opposite. The complete opposite. By saying “no problem” we are noting that we blessed you because it didn’t inconvenience us.

Do you know this quote by  Pavithra Mehta “What you truly acknowledge truly is yours. Invite your heart to be grateful and your thank yous will be heard even when you don’t use words.” Isn’t that sentiment about gratitude and thank yous in itself beautiful? Now, replace the phrase of “thank yous” with “no problems”.  Such a replacement doesn’t carry the same weight and sentiment.

The phrase of “no problem” is used quite often in service industries and in particular in restaurants. Considering how crazy the service industry has gotten lately(i.e. rude notes scribbled on the bill) maybe “no problem” is an appropriate response when we thank the waiter/waitress fro bringing us our food.

However, here is an example of how far this trend has gone. A few months ago it was my birthday and people send me best wishes through Facebook, email and text messages. At one point I got a text wishing me a great birthday. I actually can’t remember who it was at this point. I got the text and smiled. It was nice to get so many birthday wishes. I then responded to the text with a thank you. In response, I got a “no problem”.  Aaarug? What?!  I suppose I am glad that wishing me a happy birthday didn’t present itself as a problem. Now, if maybe a disgruntled employee wished me a happy birthday, I could see him saying “no problem.”  Otherwise, why should wishing me a happy birthday be such a big deal to be then labeled as not a problem. Or, I could think of it another way. I could be grateful that wishing me a birthday isn’t problematic, excruciating endeavor.  Either way, I implore each of you to not answer “no problem” when someone thanks you for their birthday wishes; unless of course, you are an in-law, angry employee, or soon-to-be ex-partner.

I leave you with this sentiment.

“When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning, the scent of a promised change, I feel something stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness? Whatever it is, it’s welcome.”

—Kristin Armstrong

And it is not “no problem” –mimi

2 replies »

  1. I learned something here. People do say it a lot. i don’t say it. I say, your’re welcome to people I don’t know or something of that nature. With friends, I say it’s all good. I think it’s best to replace it with “You’re Welcome, though, especially with the ladies.


  2. Dahlink, don’t sweat the small stuff like “no problem” in place of “you’re welcome.” This post gave me a headache, or maybe just exacerbated the small one I already had! Take us both back to Hawaii, please!!!


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