I thank people often, because people help me all the time. People carry things for me. They might help me over uneven ground/steps. In the grocery store, I often have to ask for help to reach the top shelves. Sigh. I have a bad case of TDS (too darn short).
I say, “Thank you,” or “I appreciate you for (this thing you did for me), and here’s how it helped me.”
I too often hear, “No problem.” Rarely do I hear “You are welcome.”
Hey, you nice people: It might be no problem, and you might start appreciating yourselves!
When I say, “No problem,” I downplay my role. I step back from other people’s thanks and appreciations. That action downplays the value of my role to the other person.
When I say, “Thank you,” I accept that I provided you a beneficial service or support. I acknowledge that I provided value to you.
If you don’t acknowledge my thanks in a way that shows that you realize you provided me value, what does that say about both of us? Here’s how I might interpret your not-you’re welcome response:
- You helped me out of obligation, not out of desire. I feel as if I pushed you to help me. I didn’t make it an option for you.
- You didn’t realize the value you provided me. I wasn’t clear to you.
- I feel as if I imposed on you.
These (and maybe you have other reactions) mean that I might be more reluctant to ask for help the next time. I don’t know what you think :-)
I know that sometimes, I feel a “no problem” as a blow to my self-esteem. It’s not a problem for the other person. It is for me, which is why I asked for help. Why can’t the other person acknowledge my trouble and help me feel better about myself? Maybe that’s too much to ask?
I am sure the people who say, “No problem,” mean it more as:
- I’m happy to help
- I can help you
- It’s not a problem for me, even if it is for you
I don’t think too many people think, “Thanks for asking me to help.” I wish they would :-)
We all need help. Many of us like to offer help. We all need a little help sometimes, not only from our friends.
Dear adaptable problem solvers, that is the question this week: How do you reply to a thank you?
P.S. I might be having trouble with comments. If you don’t see your comment, or you can’t add a comment, please email me, jr at jrothman dot com. Thanks. I am debugging this problem.
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