Words to Never Say, Part Three

One phrase that should rarely if ever escape our lips is the ubiquitous “no problem.” I know that I am not the only one driven crazy by that. It’s somehow become synonymous with “You’re welcome.” It doesn’t mean that, and yes, that’s a problem.

Chick-fil-A employees have this down. They say, “My pleasure” or some version of that. That’s a kind and gracious way of saying, “You’re welcome.” Saying “no problem” is just the opposite.

Saying “No problem” implies that your serving someone is indeed an imposition, but that you have overcome this difficulty and appear to be gracious enough to dismiss the incredible hard work you did to provide the service. When someone says “No problem,” it implies that you have asked someone to do something out of the ordinary, and one that poses “a problem.” If you’re providing a normal service in a normal service situation, you should say, “You’re welcome” or something equally as gracious.

If you have been presented with a challenging task that is unanticipated, and you have gone WAY out of your way to do something that wasn’t expected of you, then you could say, “No problem” to an expression of gratitude and be seen as gracious. But when you give me my coffee and I say, “Thank you,” I’m assuming that it wasn’t a major issue or challenge to give it to me. Answering “No problem” implies that.

So don’t say it. Strike it from your vocabulary.

Can I get an Amen, somebody?!


2 thoughts on “Words to Never Say, Part Three

  1. Thank you for addressing this scourge of what used to be considered “common courtesy”! And for addressing it head-on. You did a good job of explaining why saying “no problem” actually has become a huge problem in and of itself, when it comes to gracious social intercourse. Granted, I have a few pet peeves when it comes to the epidemic lack of social graces, but the replacement of “you’re welcome” with “no problem” is at the top of the list.


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