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Why do People Say "No Problem" in Response to "Thank You"?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

It would be difficult to say precisely when the response "No problem" first entered the public vernacular, but its use (or more precisely, overuse) has been a point of contention among etiquette and grammar experts for decades. Some have no problem with a "no problem" response during an informal exchange, while others believe it is far too casual to be an acceptable response to a gracious "thank you."

As far as why many people prefer "no problem" to more formal responses could be a matter of habit and age. Older people tend to respond to an expression of thanks with more traditional phrases such as "you're welcome" or "my pleasure." These responses reflect a certain humility on the part of the person being thanked. The person offering thanks is grateful for the service performed by the one being thanked, and a gracious "you're welcome" acknowledges the gratitude.

"No problem" is more likely to be said in a casual situation than a more formal one.
"No problem" is more likely to be said in a casual situation than a more formal one.

Younger people often tend to offer alternative responses when thanked, especially during less formal situations. By saying "no problem," the recipient of the gratitude is actually saying "this act or service did not inconvenience me in any way." The difference is subtle, but for some people "no problem" puts slightly more emphasis on the recipient's personal welfare. A ticket agent who provides an airplane ticket for a customer, for example, is only performing one of his or her normal tasks. If the customer says "thank you," a more formal "you're welcome" would be considered more appropriate than "no problem."

Some people compound this grammatical and social dilemma by offering even more informal responses such as "no prob" or the pseudo-Spanish "no problemo." While the sentiment might be perfectly acceptable, the informality could definitely be seen as inappropriate to the occasion. Some etiquette and grammar experts would prefer to see the complete eradication of "no problem" from the popular vernacular, but others believe it is not as offensive as other possible responses or even non-responses.

So for the foreseeable future, it would be perfectly acceptable to issue a "no problem" in response to a friend's informal expression of thanks, but avoid using it during more formal or professional situations.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular WiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular WiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...

Discussion Comments


Your response of "No Problem", "Yup" and "Whatever", belittles my gratitude and "Thank You" for any assistance you gave. Being gracious and polite is always a more attractive reply.


"No problem" is always acceptable. "You're welcome" always sounds so rude.

"Yes, I am so great for doing this menial task for you! Please thank me more."

Whereas "no problem" is more "I didn't expect a thank you for doing this for you. It really wasn't an issue at all."

Also, if you throw a temper tantrum because someone didn't say "you're welcome", then you don't deserve their service.


Psychobabble-someone is way over thinking this phrase; if you don't like it don't use it. It's like how some people say that they are sorry about something when they aren't sorry at all, but they feel compelled to say that because it is socially responsible to do so.


There are times when the phrase "no problem" is used inappropriately, but it has to do with the tone of the conversation. Whether their body language or tone gives off a insincere response or in a meaningful way. Anyone can say you're welcome and it not be sincere.

Tone gives gratitude.

Also to think of the phrase as negative is just being uptight in my opinion. If "no" is negative and "problem" is negative would you consider it a double negative cancelling each other out. Which makes "no problem" a neutral phrase with no negative meaning.

I guess I could start saying "The service/ act did not inconvenience me in any way." (Robot Voice)


I always found the "no problem" response very inappropriate. People who answer to a "thank you" with no problem are just repeating without thinking the meaning is very negative and rude.


I always thought you're welcome sounded arrogant.


I always say "You're welcome" when people tell me "Thank you." However, there are circumstances where I say "no problem," such as if I'm picking someone up from the airport and someone else emails to tell me to check flight status and clearly says that the person left late (from house or from airport?). Then later after picking the person up, I email back and say that I knew the flight status was delayed and it was "no problem". So I think it really depends on context, and to let the person know that a potential issue was a non-issue.


Someone says, "Thank you!"

Positive responses: "You're welcome;" "You're very welcome;" "Sure!"

"Sure thing;" "My pleasure;" "It's all good;" "Glad to help;" A smile and a nod; "No -- thank you!" "Glad to be of service;" "Anytime!" Etcetera.

If I attempt to honor you as a fellow human being, as someone worthy of respect, as someone who deserves thanks, and you reply "no problem," I will never, ever thank you again! You have proven to me you are not worthy of respect or honor. You are self-centered and frankly, part of the problem of the devolution of social respect and what used to be common manners. What if whatever you did to receive thanks actually was a problem to you? Would you say, "It was a problem, but I did it anyway because it's my job"? You would probably still say "No problem." Double negative.

"You're welcome" seems appreciative of the "thank you" being given. Whoever thanked you didn't have to thank you at all.

"No problem" seems very unappreciative of the "thank you" being given. Other posters have said it is like saying "whatever." I couldn't agree more!


Its not a generational issue. I'm 15 and I can tell when "no problem" is inappropriate.

If you stop to help a lady with a flat tire, and she thanks you, you say "no problem." If you save her dog from drowning, "no problem." If you go beyond what is expected, no problem.

But if a waitress brings you your food, when the customer says "thank you," the no reply is necessary, or a smile, or a "you're welcome."

"No problem" from a waitress bringing food would be inappropriate, because she isn't "going out of her way" for you (and you are tipping her).


If a lady broken down on the side of the road thanks you for stopping, you can say "no problem."

If they thank you for holding a door open? No Problem.

You save their dog from drowning? No problem.

All are perfectly acceptable.

But if they thank you for bringing you food, "no problem" just doesn't sound right. Why would it be a problem!?

I'm 19, and a waiter, and I always say "You're welcome".


I think we're mainly talking about customer service type situations here, but I do think "No problem" is weak in any situation unless there actually was potential for a problem that the thanked person attended to, i.e., "hank you for catching the door for me, it could've smashed my packages!" Proper response: "No problem," meaning the situation called upon the thanked person to graciously extend himself in some way, and that person kindly went the extra distance for the thanker.

This is essentially the same issue with "No worries" (no worries being far more questionable than "no problem). If a customer thanks a person for doing their job, that's actually a politeness on the customer's part (technically). The customer isn't being paid anything in that transaction. On the contrary, he/she is bringing in his business. So "You're welcome" is the proper, gracious response. If saying to a thanker, "No problem," is intended to say, in effect, "it wasn't a problem for me to serve you," then by that logic I suppose it wouldn't be a "problem" if people just stopped saying thank you altogether? And as to the "generational thing," that is a weak argument. Youth does not excuse ignorance of politeness. "No problem" discounts the thanker's thanks, period, as does "no worries."

It is worrisome that it may a "generational issue" that this even needs to be explained now (remember, this rampant use of "no problem" is really a recent phenomenon, so it's definitely not been "okay" for that long).


People are over analyzing this. If someone says "no problem" to your "thank you", they have acknowledged that you have given thanks.


"No problem" are two negatives. I don't care if together they mean a positive, they are negatives and to my ear together or separate, they introduce to me a negative response to our communication. Also it brings a less than positive conclusion to a social exchange.

I would like to derive from any communication a positive response like, "My pleasure", or "That will be fine", or "Thank you". I dislike the "no problem" response and I'm beginning to let people know this. It just leaves me dangling, wanting more from any exchange of conversation I commit to. It just rubs me the wrong way. I'm 61 and feel healthy and young.


@anon151633: Did you plug that into Google Translate? Because that's incorrect (at least, the French. I don't speak Spanish, but it too looks like a word-for-word literal translation). "Vous êtes bienvenu" is only used in Quebec, and then only because of its proximity to the US -- using "welcome" in that sense has been co-opted. In most French-speaking countries, "bienvenu" means welcome in the sense of being welcome as a guest in one's house, and is not used as a response to "thank you." You underestimate how many idiomatic expressions are the formal, normal way of saying things (including "s'il vous plaît," which literally means "if you please," but is the exact equivalent of simply "please" in English).

Try not to work overtime looking for things to bug you. I agree that in some contexts, "no problem" comes off as a bit short. If the person you're thanking is someone who has done you a favor, then he is in a position to say "no problem" or the equivalent of "think nothing of it." If it's someone you've thanked out of simple politeness, he should respond with a simple "you're welcome," because it sounds more like a formal response and less like he thinks he's done you a personal favor.


I say "no problem" all the time in casual situations. Usually it's when I do a small favor for someone and when they thank me they seem almost apologetic for having asked in the first place, so I think a smile and a, "Yeah, no problem!" is a suitable response. I also use, "Yeah," "Sure thing," and "You are quite welcome," depending on the situation, level of familiarity, and degree of goodwill extended/thanks received.

If you're getting your panties in a twist cause someone told you it was no problem to help you out, you're probably rather uptight.


I regularly respond with 'No prob!' or 'No problem!' to being thanked for a kindness or to bolster support for a positive effort, and I have never had someone respond as if I was 'less caring' for not saying 'You're welcome'. The people I know and meet who I say 'No problem!' to care enough about me- and themselves- to interpret it as a statement of worth and praise. I appreciate that it's not formal (or at least formal to the OP) but it's meant with the same sincerity as any other kindness I'd express gratitude for. I really do pity you, sir.


Nobody owes you a "thanks" or "you're welcome," so just shut up and mind your business. Just be thankful for whatever practical results that come out of an exchange without you getting your butt beaten. If you got what you paid for, it's because you paid for it, but you don't expect praise on top of it.


It's generational, and not because the younger generation is less caring and thoughtful. While I avoid "no problem" in situations where the other person is likely to misinterpret it and be offended, I cannot bring myself to say "you're welcome." It comes off as insincere and condescending to me, which of course, is the opposite of what I am trying to convey. Instead, I'll respond with "of course" or "thanks so much" in a customer service situation.

Neither phrase is a precise response to thank you. If "no problem" implies a hypothetical problem, "you're welcome" seems to be a response to the question, "Am I welcome to ask this of you in the future?" I don't see how that's better than "no problem."

I do think that "no problem" is more equalizing, and it bothers me that the response from people who dislike the phrase is, "Why should I care how you feel about doing this task?" I'd rather someone presume that I do genuinely care, even if only as an afterthought, how my request (even if completely reasonable!) affects their day. After all, most people who are responding to these formalities are overworked in underpaid and unfulfilling jobs in customer service. The idea that someone in this position should deny themselves even the basic humanity of making any reference to their own experiences crushes me.

It seems that insincere thanks is the bigger problem for people who sweat too much over the response.


If you think of there being a scale: -5 being I hated doing it to +5 being I loved doing it (0 being it didn't matter to me either way) for the various responses you could give to being thanked by someone for doing something, this is how I think the various responses rate and the implied further meaning:

It was my pleasure +5 (I loved doing it, I would do it again);

Glad to do it +4 (I was happy to help you);

Any time +3 (I'd be happy to do it again);

You're welcome +3 (I graciously accept your thanks);

Sure 0 (Okay);

No problem -3 (It wasn't a problem or bother, it's nothing, don't worry about it, your thanks isn't needed);

Whatever -5 (yeah right).

You can see how the person who just thanked you interprets your response with very different feelings.

Because of this I am not fond of the "No problem" response as it negates my sincere thank you, as if I shouldn't have bothered to thank in the first place. It puts me in the wrong. Should I apologize for thanking the person?

If you want to say "No problem" but you really mean "I was glad to do it", just say "I was glad to do it." It's better to communicate what you really mean.

If you want to say "No problem" and you really mean "It wasn't a bother," don't expect me to be thrilled with that as a response.


The modern generation, lacking the life experience of previous generations that had a greater level of respect for each other, also cannot appreciate the niceties of formal language and manners used in the past.

However, those who do will stand apart. I say "you are welcome".

"No problem" is a lower form of "you're welcome".

If you use it, it places you in a lower position socially, as it exposes your lack of understanding of language and your lack of manners. But then, I always dress well, too. This has given me great advantage socially over the years. I stand apart.

It does not trouble me that most are content to follow the herd. It does not trouble me that most will disagree, but it does trouble me that we have forgotten the grace of those who came before us. They would be surprised at the lack of taste and manners in our modern world.


It's because usually when you thank someone it is because they have done something for you. When you reply with "no problem," this is suggesting that there was no problem in doing the task for that person.


I dislike the response "no problem" because I too feel that in customer service, it shouldn't be a problem. It's part of the job. Several people have posted that, "if it's part of the job, why should you thank them?" The answer to that is, because it is just good manners to thank someone for doing something for you,whether it is part of the job or not!


I don't like "no problem" because both words have negative connotations. In a service world, no problem sounds negative no matter the tone or intention. All I hear is problem with this phrase. Ritz Carlton doesn't allow this expression from their employees. Therefore, I will continue to respond using positive words such as you're welcome, you're fine, my pleasure, and so on. However, in Jamaica, "no problem, mon" is a beautiful phrase because that is how they were raised and it has a positive meaning. That is Jamaica's culture. Americans cannot pull this off as beautifully as the Jamaicans.


I think I'm converted. Some (most, probably) of us 'young people' likely have just never put much thought into it. I use "no problem", "thank you" (back) and "you're welcome" completely interchangeably and they've all have carried the same weight in my mind, except the sincerest ones are always "you're welcomes." It's hard to imagine using "no problem" in a very very sincere way, which goes to show it doesn't measure up.

It would be silly to be offended by receiving a "no problem," though. The fact that the other person cares enough to respond with positive intentions is all that matters. The tone of voice trumps the words anyway.

I have to agree with the "no worries" one, though. Every time its said I think "I wasn't worried. Why do they think I'm worried? That's weird and now I'm paranoid."


"No problem" is just an americanization of the Spanish "De nada".


If a CEO instructs his receptionist that he prefers that she not answer the phone with her usual phrase, and is explicit on how he wants her to answer the phone, he doesn't want "No problem" to be her acknowledgement. A simple "Yes sir, I understand," is better. He doesn't give a rat's behind if she thinks it's a "problem" for her. For her to tell him, "No problem" is inappropriate.


This is way over thinking it. Anyway, I like to just say 'Cheers' for both thank you and you're welcome. As in salesperson: "Here is your copy of guns and ammo..."

Me: "Cheers!"

Salesperson: "Cheers."


Folks are really over-thinking this one. Using "no problem" in response to a thank you is fine, and does not imply a problem ever existed, which is a strange way to perceive it.

In fact, what is the opposite of 'problem'? It is 'solution' actually, but that would be a strange response to a thank you. No, the opposite of problem in this context is 'no problem', which is a positive thing, no?

Anyway, some people are way too uptight. If I answer your thank you with 'no problem' and you choose to make a snide remark about it, who exactly is being the rude person in that transaction? Not me.

Finally, for those who are irked by this in a service setting, asserting that the employee is doing their job and there should never have been a 'problem' to have to address blah blah blah, I would ask, if you feel that way, why are you even thanking them in the first place?


According to the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, 2003, saying "no problem" means a person was happy to do something, and as an alternative to "you're welcome." The usage notes indicate "no problem" is usually said in answer to "thank you."

See? It's right in the dictionary! "No problem" is an acceptable answer to "Thank you" even in (and specifically!) a customer service environment!

Also, how self-aware are some people not, to acknowledge that someone else has just done you a favor for which you are grateful, and then immediately (even if internally) snipe at them for not subsequently making your preferred post-thank-you mouth sounds?

Just accept that someone did something for you, and that they said their generation's legitimate, dictionary translation of "You're welcome," and go happily on your way!


Oh, for goodness sake!

I was raised to be mannerly and courteous. I cover my mouth when I yawn, I hold the door open for others, and I look people in the eye and smile when I speak to them. I tip generously, I try not to interrupt people, I offer to help people clean up or cook when I’m a guest in their home. I defer to my elders in public, and I always seek to make others feel as comfortable as possible in social situations: my definition of mannerly behavior.

And, when someone says “Thank you” to me, I say (*gasp*): “No problem.” I say “No problem” because I sincerely believe that saying “No problem” is more polite than saying “You’re welcome”!

Different generations can see the same phrases as having different connotations. An elderly person (apparently, according to this thread) might get seething angry when a young person smiles and says “no problem” in response to a “thank you.” On the other hand, a young person might feel slightly embarrassed when someone says to them a formal “You’re welcome.”

And I agree with the young person. This is because the essence of manners is in caring for the other person -- in not putting the other person through any embarrassment, or trouble. And the phrase “You’re welcome” has developed, over time, connotations which are self-aggrandizing, and imply that whatever the act or favor was that you’re being thanked for, you see it as a big thing you’ve done for that person, and that person now owes you. “You’re welcome” is appropriate when you’ve just given someone a Christmas gift, or saved their child from drowning in a pool -- occasions when it is publicly acknowledged that you have done a ‘big thing’ for which the other person was obliged to formally thank you -- when they are in your social debt. This may not be what the phrase originally meant, but it’s what it means to many young people now.

On the other hand, a polite “No problem” suggests that you were happy to do whatever for someone, and that they’re polite to even mention it, since it didn’t put you to any trouble at all (This is the important part: even if it did, because it would be rude to allow the other person to think that they put you to any trouble, because that would cause a polite person discomfort). If you respond with “You’re welcome,” you are implying that the other person did put you to some trouble, and that they owed you a thank you. The phrase “You’re welcome” sounds snarky if you say it to a customer who just thanked you for running all over the store for them; it implies they were rude for putting you to all that trouble, and that they owed you a “Thank you.” On the other hand, a polite person dismisses the “Thank you,” and assures the customer that they were at no point being put to an uncomfortable degree of difficulty by them (even if they were).

And a question to the elderly people on this thread who literally say they feel like “screaming” when a young person says “no problem”: If you should hope it was no problem since it’s our job, then why are you saying “thank you” in the first place? A “Thank you” is an admission that someone has done something for you which they were not obliged to do. If someone is obliged to do something for you, thanking them is more like mockery than anything else. (“Aw, look at my slave out in the field picking my cotton. Yoo-hoo, thank you, darlin’!”) Surely a “Thank you” is an admission that the other person could have chosen not to help you, and that you now ‘owe’ them, and making someone else feel that they owe you is an unmannerly thing to do!

So (to those who identify themselves as “screaming” elderly people), I therefore, for the sake of manners, tell you “No problem” or, “you do not owe me; you are a perfectly polite person for whom I was absolutely happy to perform this small service.”

May I apologize to anyone out there who just doesn’t like the sound of it, but I intend to keep saying it this way, since so many of us now think like this, and I hope you can at least calm your rage in future and tell yourselves that they mean well (and are mannerly) the next time someone says this to you.

And for my part, I certainly don’t hold it against you for saying “you’re welcome,” even though it does make me feel uncomfortable.


How funny it is to see so many self righteous people getting worked up into a tizzy over the response of "no problem." Just for a second, try to imagine that the world does not revolve around you and remember that this person just helped you. Customer service situations aside, it is not anyone's responsibility to help you. So for someone to have taken the time out of their day to help you means they clearly have some level of manners.

It doesn't matter what response you get, you should just be gracious for them helping you. To ostracize them for the response of "no problem" shows you to have a pathetic level of self righteousness and unwarranted self pride. They say "no problem" to show that they did not require, expect, or need any gratitude or "thank you" response, because they were happy to help you. Take a second to look in the mirror and see that the selfless and gracious person who happily helped you is not the problem; you self righteous, ungrateful, prideful grammar police are the only negatives in the situation.

The amazingly pathetic level of selfishness shown by prideful people never ceases to amaze me. It doesn’t matter how much education you have, or what level of greatness you have achieved, get over yourself and try to show some class and appreciation.

For your sake, I hope that you are never helped again in your struggles throughout the course of life, if only to save you from the incredibly pride damaging injustice of a “no problem.”


Being a manager in retail, I try to avoid any negative connotation in my dealings with customers. Using terms like "no problem" "not bad" and "closed" are banished from the store.


If the French and Spanish translations are literally "it was nothing," then why not say exactly that? Seems a better response than "no problem".


I often say "no problem." I don't intend for it to come across as if the act was troublesome. I intend for it to imply something along the lines of "it was my pleasure." Saying "you're welcome" (as another anon mentioned) sounds sort of like you were doing the person a big favor. I believe "no problem" takes the edge off things and let's the person know that you didn't mind doing something for them. If anything, it is more humble.


I don't like people thanking me--it makes me feel as if it's rare for me to help people. But saying no problem seems rude, so I always say, "Anytime."

Or if it is in a formal situation, "Please, anytime." Stressing the word "please."


The problem with no problem is that it treats a "thank you" as an apology. In some cases, that is appropriate, but mostly not. When I wasn't apologizing for being a burden, but instead expressing gratitude, "no problem" puts me "one down" and makes me wish I'd never said a thing. Also, as mentioned below, it doesn't convey that I should expect this level of service every time (because, after this time, it might well be a problem).

I find it barely polite. If the response were any less polite, it would come across as surly and sullen.

I recommend to you "no problem" defenders that you either replace the phrase with something more polite that doesn't seem unnatural to you (as many have said, tone matters), or add more to it (as others have mentioned) as in, "it was my pleasure", or "anytime", or even "thank you!" (for being a customer).


The use of "no problem" implies there may have been a problem. Just say thank you. It's a result of a younger generational issue and poor upbringing.


I said thank you to someone who said something very thoughtful (or so I thought) to me and they said no problem. I was like what? If that was that easy for you to spit out then you've probably had a lot of practice! It totally broke the spell I was under. I felt like I dodged a bullet.


This is ridiculous. I'm in my twenties and I don't say 'no problem' but I do say 'no worries'. It doesn't mean however, that I did not put myself out for the person. It means I'm not going to make a fuss about it, even if I had to run a marathon to complete your request.

I can't believe 'no problem' as a response to 'thank you' is garnering this much complaining!

Language changes, and 'no problem' is now part of the language.

And I hardly think bad manners is simply a younger generation thing. I've come across people in their 40s and above who think it's perfectly acceptable to push in lines, ask you to do things without saying please, and completely blank you when you ask a question!


I got through about half of these responses and came to one conclusion: Cual es la ganancia (spanish).

Look that up.

What are we gaining here? This is a perfect example of how (we're better than everybody else) American society and even ancient (God put us here to keep you in line) British society, can easily damage one's self-security. However, I own my self-security in the fact that all glory goes to God my creator.

Don't miss the forest through the trees. Stop and smell the roses.

It only speaks to your own lack of confidence in yourself if you start picking apart these types of interactions. The narrow mindedness is giving off a stinky stench. This disease has always been around, lack of respect has always been around, the good the bad and the ugly have always been around. Global warming has always been around. We just now are getting the technology to travel and report faster, as well as the technology to hear that our neighborhood is crime infested or the greatest place to retire. To me, the greatest place to retire is where I retire.

First of all, are you thanking someone, or are you challenging them to a language duel and may the best man or woman win. C'mon. How about that? I mean come on now, people. Seriously. The way you perceive someone is usually based on your hope or your fear.

Fear and suspicion is the devil's playground, (or should I have said, "Fear and suspicion *are* the devils playground?) Crap, I don't know. I'm starting to get anxiety and will retreat soon in silence to conjure up a plan on how to silence the "Nay-sayers".

My 4 year old boy said it to me best yesterday when he was hitting golf balls and it started to snow. "You get what you get and don't cause a fit"

From the mouth of babes...


I like what everyone said and it makes a lot of sense, but can't it also be argued that when people say "no problem," they can sometimes just trying to be humble and imply that they really didn't do anything worthy of thanks, and that is was not a problem because it was something that they didn't mind doing because they are a good person and they like the person who asked them to do something? Therefore, they don't deserve to be thanked.


When you get the response of 'no problem' after thanking someone you just gave money to (so they can have a paycheck), say: "I'm glad".

Maybe that'll help get rid of this negative, selfish and graceless response, over time. Or maybe not.


Versions of 'no problem' are actually more common than 'you are welcome' in many other languages around the world. Get over yourselves. What do you imagine you are protecting?


Manners were mandatory when I was growing up, and I had to learn new accepted manners and greetings when I moved to a different country. Surrounding countries demanded different manners, so it became even more important to "mind your manners" or face the consequences!

Here, only older people say "Please", "May I", "Can I" (though they mean "May I") and "You're welcome." You can throw huge tips at service people or give young adults cash for holiday gifts and they will not say "Thank you" unless someone poked them with a hot stick. And it's not because they're wealthy already or too choked up with emotion; no one taught them manners. You don't have to mean it when you say it or write it, but you'll go a lot further in this world if you use those phrases appropriately.

That isn't my peeve, but this is: Since I am clearly not a youngster, family member or your new best friend, if we do business together please call me Miss, Mrs. or Mrs. J or Mrs. XYZ. Even using my military rank and last name is appropriate in formal situations. Do not call me by my first name unless I permit you to do so. I will never call you by yours unless you advise me otherwise during a longer-term relationship.

I am an educated lady, and will be addressed as such by all, excluding none (doctors, VIPs and royalty). You should expect the same and if anyone besides your family and or peers do not, state your title and name clearly every time that person addresses you with an informal name. If you don't agree, try calling your M.D. by his/her first name. Suddenly, they will demand respect of their title and last name, but will want to call you by your first name like a parent would a child.


There also exists a problem with the more traditional "you're welcome". It comes in the form of the perfunctory "thank you". This is especially a problem in a working situation. When a "thank you" is presented as a reward for doing one's job, a "you're welcome", as the article states "acknowledges the gratitude" which in this case you do not want to do, as it suggests that what was done is something you consider out of the ordinary. Most of the thank yous I receive during any given day are for doing my job well, therefore, a response of "no problem" is most appropriate, intimating that the gratitude is misplaced and that the expectation should, in fact, be that I will do my job well with no prompting or reward. In these very common cases, I have no problem with "no problem".


I think that 20/30 somethings' use of "No problem," even in connection with doing a job, is generational, in the sense that it a reflection the self absorption of that generation. The person is saying that I only did whatever (they were thanked for) because doing so didn't inconvenience them. They would not be inclined to do something for another person gratuitously, or if it took any effort on their part.

The response "you are welcome" indicates the speaker's focus on the interests of the other party to the incident, rather than the "me" orientation of the "me" generation. When service persons who are doing perhaps the minimum required of their job respond to a customer's "thank you" with "No problem" it is actually an insulting response.


Post 100.... you have my vote!


I'm german and working as support for a SAP system used by many international parts of our company. This article was really helpful for me. I won't use "no problem" in my mails any longer.


Thank You, "Not at all. Please no need for thanks. It's a pleasure to assist." is what I always say.


I cannot believe this much time, thought and energy has gone into this topic! Ridiculous.


"No problem" should be used in response to requests as first used in Post 82. It should not be used after thank you. That means the person is not accepting the love into their heart that someone is trying to give them, and instead simply brushing that person off. The "No Problem" thing is deeper than people realize. This world is getting less loving, and less caring. No problem is like 'Yeah, whatever...it's already done but "you're welcome" is too sweet for me'.

We can all use it lightly, but with discretion. Also, we all love differently, and therefore express our weaknesses differently. Saying you're welcome can be seen as too vulnerable to someone who has opened up to you. You're welcome puts your heart out there. But at the end of the day, we need this love.

Thanks for your time, all, Future President. It is sad.


Np, that's the way to go!


I agree entirely with the stance taken by the Geek. However, Geek misuses "As far as." "As far as what?" I ask. "As far as" needs to be followed by "___is concerned," or something to that effect.

I should add, that I hate "No problem" but it's better than "No worries," "Sure," or worst, "Uh huh."


I say "No problem" in situations where I don't mind having to do that service that time, but where I might if they repeatedly ask for the same service. "You're welcome" to me, implies that they are welcome to asking me to do it hundreds of times, whereas "No problem" means "I didn't mind this time, but I may say no in the future".


The "no problem" reply is the slippery slope to the intellectual fall of Americans? I use the term as well as "you're welcome", and in no shape or form does it insinuate that I am uneducated (in grad school, thank you) and/or inferring a potential inconvenience.

My riposte to any individual that replies to a "no problem" with a "Well, I'm sorry if I caused you a problem (enter the self-serving, instantaneously gratifying narcissist a.k.a. delusional grandeur prototype)" needs reevaluate his or her self -conception on manners and graciousness. Have a delightful day.


The preoccupation many individuals from older generations have with the idea of a particular set of manners is understandable, but ultimately irrational. Manners of most sorts are used simply because that's what what the person was raised to do. A formal way is not better than an informal, and vice versa. However, deeply programmed sets of behaviors can be very important to people, who rarely have the objectivity to step back critically examine their own predispositions dispassionately.

People didn't start saying "you're welcome" in the first place for any practical reason. It simply happened, in the same way that the transition to "no problem" is happening. At the end of the day, those who are touchy about it are simply clinging to what they've been trained to say. They react strongly to what they consider incursions on courtesy because they were indoctrinated at a young age to regard such things strongly. It's understandable, but it's not rational or practical. And as such, no allocations need be made for those who harbor this attitude.

Hopefully we're transitioning into an era where the intentions a person means to convey are what are considered important, rather than whether or not they follow a particular, ritualistic formula. It's a big wide world, with people from many lands, cultures and backgrounds. It's just inconsiderate to expect everyone to follow the same verbal code.


I notice many anti-noproblemites pointing out how they feel the term makes them feel as if they might have been a problem, and the insinuation that they might have been in a position to pose a problem upon whoever it is they interact with makes them feel slighted.

For my own part, being reassured that I didn't impose on someone is reassuring. I do so hate to be a bother.

Second, I don't see retail interactions as formal. Buying a coffee or a bag of groceries or a burger is not a formal experience, and should not be treated as such. It seems to me that some generations wish for every public interaction between strangers to be formalized. Were it up to me, formalities would be reserved solely for those with the power to take away your happiness, such as corporate managers or your new girlfriend's parents. Formality serves to protect the formally-behaving individual from offending someone they shouldn't.

If someone is offended by non-essential day-to-day interactions because they're too casual, then that individual is clearly too thin-skinned and casual. I apologize if I offend your delicate preferences, but in all honesty, I don't give a damn about stroking your ego.


Personally, as a retail service worker, I have several reasons for generally using the phrase "no problem" rather than "you're welcome."

First off, and of least importance, the phrase "you're welcome" just feels awkward on my tongue. I feel self-conscious saying it. I don't know if it's an element of my leisurely attitude and upbringing, or if it's simply a matter of familiarity.

Next, saying "you're welcome" has always struck me as pretentious and overbearing. I get irked when people say "you're welcome" to me, as if they have done me a favor. Now this might sound odd, but it should be noted that my general sense of etiquette revolves almost entirely around non-impositionalism. I dread imposing on others, and likewise do not like being imposed upon. When someone says "you're welcome" to me, I feel as if they are bequeathing whatever it is upon me as a nobleman might give a penny to an urchin, and likewise, I refuse to look down my nose at someone in the same way. I do, however, say thank you quite a bit, rather too much, actually.

And yes, it may be my job to provide customers with a particular service, but retail workers are *not* servants to their customers. They are not bestowing anything on me, nor I on them. We are trading, pure and simple. It is not my job to make someone feel good or loved or special. It is my job to provide them with particular products. If I can do that with a minimum of superficial platitudes and irritating attempts at familiarization, so much the better.

No, I will not say "you're welcome" to customers because in the end, I did not do anything for them. I provided them the service I'm paid to, for my own benefit. I also wish a marginal portion of customers no ill-will, and for those I honestly like to express that no, they did not impose on my day or time in any notably negative fashion, so I tell them "no problem." And of course, for the other eight out of ten customers I *do* wish harm upon, well, I can't very well show them any special treatment, can I? So I speak to them as if I didn't dream of burning their homes down.


I use the term "don't mention it" in return to the thank you response by others.


Young or old, hear this: When you are in a position of service, of course it is "no problem" to assist someone -- it's your job! The customer is not always right, but they are always the customer -- and it's about them, not you! To say "no problem" to a customer implies that it is about you, the service person... and it's not.

Your whole reason for having your job is to please the customer. I encourage anyone who doesn't understand this to look up the words "humility" and "courtesy," and then apply them!


I just want to thank all the elderly, out-of-touch curmudgeons on this thread. You people are adorable and hilarious. Don't let any whipper-snappers bring you down. If the way you choose to cope with your feelings of alienation, bewilderment, etc, in a world changing at a dizzying pace, is by idealising your own ossified generation while lamenting and raging against the youth, I don't blame you--no problem, no worries, whatever works, bro. And like I said, it's adorable.


This whole thing is frustrating me. "Problem" is a synonym for "trouble," as in "It was no trouble at all!" So when people at work tell me "Thank you," I intend to respond with, "Oh don't thank me, it was no trouble at all!" also known as: "No problem!"

Also I think that "You're welcome" is better suited to situations where you have premeditated an act of giving or something. If you're giving someone a Christmas present and they say "Thank you," I'd say "You're welcome". I think it implies that a transaction of greater importance has occurred, more than standard daily purchase at a shop warrants.

Also if everyone is going to dissect "no problem" so much, can I just state my confusion about what "You're welcome" even means? You are welcome -- you are welcome here? you are welcome to have requested this thing that I did for you? Honestly, maybe I would use the phrase more if I really grasped what the "welcome" part meant. It just confuses me.

Lastly, tone matters more. If anyone has been offended by my enthusiastic and smiley "No problems!" then they are not worth my time and manners anyway.


Generational issue my arse. Why can't you just be grateful someone did something nice for you, instead of overthinking a silly saying.

People are so spoiled. Yeah you helped me, but I don't like the way you accepted my thank you wahh. You sound like children. Get over it already.


I can see how someone could see "No problem" as arrogant, but that's not how most people mean it.

See, I hate asking for things from people because I feel like I'm imposing myself on them. When I thank them and they say "No problem", they're telling me that I didn't make them go out of their way to help me. I didn't cause them much trouble, or if I did, they didn't mind because they were helping.

Though, I agree that "You're welcome" or "My pleasure" is more acceptable for a workplace. Not because it expresses more sincerity or anything, but because "No problem" is slang.


How can people say no problem? i find it very hard to. i always tend to say you're welcome because saying no problem seems really impolite and inadequate.


People do not say "no problem" and think or mean "Helping you did not inconvenience me." Listen to people's tones. People say "no problem" in exactly the same way, and with the same intent, as they say (or used to say) "thank you." The phrase "no problem" has already been normalised as synonymous to "thank you." People getting their panties in a twist over it are stressing over absolutely nothing.


@83: Well if it is their job to help you, then why are you even thanking them?

I agree wholeheartedly that "no problem" is casual and should not be used in more formal settings, but some people need to relax on this issue.

For example, in #83's case, if the person carried your bags to your car for you, then I think 'no problem' is a perfectly fine response -- as in it wasn't a problem for them to help you. Now if you thanked them for scanning your groceries at the register, then that would feel less appropriate.

And furthermore, what does "You're welcome" even really mean anyway? Is not the expression greater than the wording?


Some of the responses here are pretty insulting by themselves. We "get" that older types don't like "no problem". But unfortunately, once something becomes commonplace and is used frequently, it becomes the language. That's how languages are shaped and molded.

We have added plenty of words to the dictionary that people nitpicked and didn't like. "Ain't" is in the dictionary despite so many grammar nazis correcting it. "You're" was just a slurred slang of "you are". I agree it is likely a generational thin, which means in the next 50-100 years it could be commonplace and completely acceptable. I know that's disgusting to some.


I think it is just a way of saying that helping you has been no trouble at all, that it was a pleasure!


As a semi-senior member of the human race, I am very pleased to see so many think that "no problem" is an inappropriate response to someone who has thanked them. When I thank someone at the grocery store, or the bank or department store, for their help, they respond with, "no problem," and I just want to scream, "Well, sonny .... it shouldn't be a problem, it's your job!"

Common courtesy and respect are gone in today's culture. And people wonder why we older folks long for the good old days. Thank you to all of you who also think "no problem" is something we should toss out with the evening trash.


"Can you take this paper to so-and-so?"

"No problem."


(No response necessary.)

You fixed my ___! Thank you!

No problem at all. Anything else I can help you with?

No, that will be all. Thanks!

I'm glad I could help.

etc. etc.

Abruptness is a demeanor which is not solely defined by word choice. "No problem" is suitable for basically any occasion, as long as it's said in a friendly tone.

Now, write an article about "OK" and I'll give you a few paragraphs about how rude that one is -- no matter the tone.


I've always struggled with the response "no problem" because I feel like I'm being assured that I'm not a problem to the person who says that. I hadn't felt I was a problem to them, so I don't like being assured that I'm not.

When I worked in customer service, I would say "you're very welcome" to emphasize the fact that my service to them was part of my job, something due them. I don't want to assure someone that they're not a problem unless they're apologizing to me. I understand that I'm being a literalist, but that's just how "no problem" strikes me when someone says it to me.


I don't think myself ancient at 45, but i am sure teens and twenty-somethings do.

To a generation that has grown up in a marinade of "no problem," people talking or texting while you are trying to converse with them, or flat out rudeness parading as "informality," I don't expect them to "get" that "no problem" is a lame replacement for "you're welcome" or "my pleasure" or some similar variant.

I grew up in a family business, and the fact we had food on our table and a nice home to live in was a function of gracious service, even to people who were arrogant, rude, condescending and egocentric. Actually, i enjoyed probably 80-90 percent of the people I served.

My hometown is a resort town, and without tourist trade, our standard of living would have been squat. When I go to the Piggly Wiggly and the clerk is dishing with the bagger or another clerk in another lane, I would even settle for "no problem" or perhaps a grunt and smile to acknowledge my existence.

To most of the younger folk, the concept and simple kindness and extension of a standard social nicety is not even in their makeup to grasp. It is very sad.


The problem with "no problem."

The unconscious mind does not handle negatives efficiently. While the person receiving service is hearing "no problem" with their conscious mind it may well be registering as just "problem" with their unconscious mind. Regardless of generation, the word problem is pejorative. Nobody really wants problems.

Previous posts are correct in pointing out that the response "no problem" also can be interpreted as a backhanded response. "It's not about whether it's a problem or not. It's your job." is the standard mental reply of many people receiving the "no problem" response to a gracious "thank you".

If you are young person and in the service occupation, I would suggest you simply test the efficacy of more formal responses. Anecdotally, some young people I know have found their tips go up as waiters when they use more formal terms sincerely, even with their contemporaries. If something doesn't work, we ought to do less of it.

I do believe that "no problem" came from the Caribbean. While one of the posters here speaks well to the loveliness of its use in Jamaica, I believe it is not widely accepted as being so benign in informal settings even in the Caribbean. In fact many years ago it was simply known as the Third World slogan. In essence it was seen as just a way of avoiding facing issues that needed to be remedied. In my workplace, it was standardly accepted as a sort of avoidance phrase. If you ask someone to do something and they replied "no problem," you would assume that the job might not get done.

Just a note to young people in the service professions: Don't use the phrase "you guys" to a group of ladies and gentlemen.

Hey, do what you want. No problem. But if you want a good tip; formal greetings are better.


@anon114563: That's it. Favor. No problem is best suited for a thank you said from a favor done for or given to a person. You don’t mean to be rude, and I don’t consider it rude, just ill managed English language usage. But it is not acceptable in business when said to a customer unless they asked a favor of you beyond your duties.

No problem? When's the last time you ate at a restaurant, said thank you or thanks to the wait person and they said "No problem." It better not come close to a problem. It's your duty, not a favor.

IT staff, mostly, young, slightly illiterate folk are the most prolific users of this impolite usage of slang in the professional realm. You don't even hear it at fast food restaurants.

And for the brilliant translator of French and Spanish, the terms for you’re welcome are respectively, "Vous êtes bienvenu" and "Usted es agradable." De nada is slang for Don’t mention it. Or literally, of nothing.

Those who have said people are over thinking are, in my opinion, not thinking enough. Languages are somewhat fluid and slang comes and goes, but language is one of the glues that keeps communication understandable and lessens conflicts. Hence we train and hire translators.

"No problem" is not suitable in business, unless it's a favor from one associate to another.

Fortunately, slang comes and goes and the misuse and overuse of this one will go the way of "I feel you," "I know that's right," "sit on it" and all those other inane terms.

Once English is learned and not cheated to pass again, I hope. Pants around your thighs, Justin Bieber (Sp?) and American Idol are all just junk pastimes that pass like gas.

You can really tell the ages of the people on here who see nothing wrong with using the term of this thread. And why our schools are among the lowest, academically, in the world.

The fact that this is such an issue in society ought to tell you proponents of the term that there just might be some validity to the other side's stance.

The day I hear a cop or firefighter who has just saved the life of a person being attacked or in a burning building, say "No Problem," after being thanked by the victim, will be the day the equator freezes over or the world has become the movie, “Idiocracy”.

@52: Right on, right on!

@49: Read a translator or my literate translation above. And remember, that Latin American Spanish is not near formal Castilian Spanish. Not even the same as Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico.


As far as my language skills go, English is the only language I know with the term "You're welcome". It seems in English we need to make it apparent that we've gone out of our way to help the person, whereas a simple "de nada" in Spanish lets the other person know it was no trouble to help them, etc. Just a thought.


Interesting thoughts, but I have to reply to the person who said you should say "You're welcome, (name)" and said "People love to be called by name--"

I know this may be me, but I hate being called by name, especially if it's during an online chat. I don't know why. To me it's too formal, perhaps, or maybe it makes me think I am being reprimanded or told I am wrong. When my name is used, I feel that the user is doing it for emphasis, and I've done something wrong.

So please say "no problem," "no worries," or even "you're welcome," but please don't say "You're welcome, Joe," or I will probably freak out a little and wonder what you really meant or if I should ever ask for a favor again.

Just another example of how language affects each person differently, so we shouldn't take our own points of view so seriously.


A response to a "thank you" should have some sort of reference to the person that thanked you. "No problem" indicates that it is all about you. It isn't about you, it is about the person that has given the thank you.

It does seem to be a generational difference. When was the last time you gave a cashier a $20 bill for a purchase, and they actually counted your change back to you?

Now they just throw it back at you all at once, and you have to count it to see if it is right. Often times it is not. The cash register does all of calculating but the cashier has to actually hand you the change. It is a shame to see not only language dumbed down, but math skills as well.


I do believe it really is a problem. why not say you're welcome? I see the psychological side of the sentence. The person stating "no problem" is really grating their teeth, stating "no problem" because there really was a problem, rather than saying you're welcome!


What are you supposed to say when you're constantly doing favors for someone and don't want to? They need to come up with a response for that!


I prefer to say 'no problem' as compared to saying 'you're welcome' because somehow some wires got crossed up in my head and saying 'you're welcome' somehow got turned into saying 'Yes, that's right you are thankful! Because I am high and mighty and you should be eternally grateful that I even helped you at all!'

Which is not at all how I feel. I'm always happy to help and it really is 'no problem,' and I don't want someone who's thanking me to think otherwise. So yeah, that's why I say 'no problem,' because I fear saying 'you're welcome' will come off as sounding rude.


It isn't a matter of "proper" English or not, it is a matter of good manners.

Depending on how it is said I may or may not accept "no problem" as a civil response.

There are things in life that never change, and good manners and thoughtfulness never go out of style or lose appreciation.

It's like this person at work who says that sending a thank you note is no longer necessary in this day and age. I call that ridiculous. Thank you notes, and "you're welcome" will never go out of style.

Don't underestimate the value of adhering to some traditions, at the risk of alienating an older person when you didn't mean to.


Wow this is stupid. Whoever has a problem with no problem is an idiot. To me, "No problem" is humble. It says hey its not such a big deal what i did, it wasn't any trouble at all. I find it more equivalent to saying "you're too kind" because you're thanking me for doing something that's my pleasure to do and no trouble at all.

My brain is hurting trying to understand who is overthinking this.

Who the hell took time out of their life to analyze someone saying, "it wasn't a big deal to help you. don't place me on a pedestal".

Forget you if you take offense to someone who doesn't say anything at all or does find it a trouble to help you. Get a life. Prove me wrong!


The best use of the expression is in a great "Bloody Mary Maker" called, "Bob's No Problem". Now when you're saying it's "No Problem" to make a great tasting "Bloody Mary", you're saying' something big.

You haven't had a bloody mary until you've had a Bob's. --Jackie


The phrase originates in Jamaica, where it clearly means exactly what it says: "No problem". In other words, I can do that task easily and with pleasure.

It is a lovely and soft, friendly way of saying "I will be glad to do that for you". It is a modest, gentle and humble way of saying that one is not asking too much because they are worth the effort. So it acknowledges the other person's value and not one's own personal welfare at all. Any thought or expression that comes from Jamaica, comes with heart!


I don't understand why this is an issue with so many people. I simply can't figure out how someone could interpret "no problem" as there being a problem in the first place. People are over thinking this.

Several people have noted that the Spanish and French versions of "Thank You" essentially mean "No Problem", yet none of the people who are offended seem to have any response to that. Also, for me, "Thank You" is the most important part of this exchange. After all, you're thanking someone because they didn't have to help you in the first place, but they did. I find that most people who say "No problem" are full of enthusiasm and sincerity, while those who utter "you're welcome" are just saying it because they are expected to.


I find it interesting that the sentiment "those who have a problem with 'no problem' are:" (fill in an insulting phrase). Posters on the other side of this usage issue were far less likely to go ad hominem.

For the record, I find the phrase "no problem" equivalent to "whatever," both of which connote to me a disrespectful attitude of indifference. To me it says: "if it had been a problem, I wouldn't have done it." I prefer the use of "you're welcome," which is the acknowledgement of the courtesy of the thinker. Formal? I don't think so, just polite and gracious.


First of all, this is a ridiculous subject to argue about. Second of all, it seems everyone that has a problem with "no problem" actually has a problem with the way "no problem" is communicated to them. Laziness and apathy are separate issues and don't really involve the phrase "no problem." Get over it. Really.


Take this situation. You're on the side of the road and you're doing something or holding something and someone needs help. You stop what you're doing or drop what you're holding and help that person.

That person saw you we're busy on something or holding something. He says thank you but you can see in him that he is worried that you were bothered (even though not really). "You're welcome" would be an insincere answer. "My pleasure" is better but "no problem" is best. Use my pleasure to those who are well publicly recognized/respected or someone you're courting.


i tend to say 'no problem' if someone says thank you to me. it sounds more cool. or often i just give a smile back, especially in the office when someone says thank you to me.


I first heard "no problem" used in this way in the very early 1960's from an Irish cousin. She had worked at an American airforce base in Germany and before that in Paris but I don't know where she picked up the phrase. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now


@Anon53830: Are you kidding me? "Why mention a problem?" I'm not mentioning a problem, I'm using the word "problem" to complete a phrase.

By focusing on the fact that the word "problem" is being used you are dismissing the fact that the word "no" comes before it. That's a huge thing to overlook as it is used to completely negate what it refers to.

If a "problem" is bad, then (quite obviously) "no problem" is good. There is no implication of a problem.

To the people who somehow take "no problem" to mean "I had no problems performing my services for you", holy cow no! They are two simple words and weren't ever more than that.

It means "the absence of a problem", now let's think, what would you call the feeling of having no problems? Ah yes! "A pleasure". "No problem" literally means "A pleasure".


When I heard this was a problem, honestly it shocked me. As mentioned in the article, no problem translates directly into my pleasure. I grew up hearing this constantly and I didn't see the issue with saying it in response to thank you. I would accept it gladly, because it's not said with malice or disrespect. Generally it's a genuine you're welcome.

I agree with a previous poster: if somebody said thank you and I said no problem and then got reamed out for not using the "correct response" (and in a worse case scenario my intelligence was called into question!) then it wasn't me who was rude in that transaction.

Our language changes, and personally I like that. We lose and gain words constantly, and meanings shift. No problem is at worst, harmless.


I just heard a hotel concierge reply "no problem" to a thank you for services rendered for a two-day conference wherein the hotel charged $40,000. I almost fell off my barstool.


Most of the "no problem" or no "prolem" responses seem to come from folks who obviously do not speak English very well. But I still don't get it! Who started this insanity?

At least I am not hearing, "Don't go there" anymore!


We created language. We can make any word mean anything. They are sounds. I'm not saying i don't care about language. When someone says "no problem" or "You're welcome" to your thank you, and you told them off for being impolite, if i were the person who said "no problem," I'd never do you a favor again, because you're a jerk. And getting caught up in details that mean nothing? I just did a something nice for you. Why would i go and wreck it by being rude when you say thank you?


Not so much the words that matter.


What I hate about "no problem" (or its counterpart "no worries") is that it's so lacking in any sense of graciousness. But then, people who use the phrase "no problem" don't use the word "gracious" much, do they?


It's a sadly trite, almost "British" view of the English language, I think, a result of over-analysis of social situations.

"You're welcome" is certainly a more formal thing to say, and that very fact requires a less formal statement.

For example, if you sneeze, and I say "bless you" (or "Gesundheit" for those who are also touchy to people wishing you well), you will likely say "Thank you." If I say "You're welcome," that can seem out-of-place. Many choose not to acknowledge some thanks for this very reason.

If I'm walking down the street and you walk out of a store and bump into me, you might say "Sorry." It's almost an insult for me to say "Apology accepted." I am acknowledging your guilt. So I may say something like "It's okay." Much the same for the phrase "no problem." Rather than acknowledge that I did, indeed, go out of my way to assist you in something relatively menial, I just acknowledge that my effort doesn't amount to much, and therefore you don't need to be concerned about it.

In other words, perhaps some people should think more about how others may make politeness a more informal affair, and not about whether they're correct in doing so.


These posts further confirm to me that the English language continues to "devolve" as society "progresses" technologically.

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" is what Jesus said about our words. It takes humility and grace to say "Thank you" and "You're welcome".

Can anyone tell me what is the subject in the reply, "No problem"? Is the subject "You"? Are people really saying, "You are no problem"?


How about the Spanish version of you're welcome, 'de nada.' Which, literally translated, means for nothing. This seems very similar to 'no problem.'


I am a linguist, yet I see no problem with saying "no problem" (though, like many others said, I would avoid using it in a formal context, just as I would make sure to say "good morning" instead of a simple "hi" in that same context). Some people misinterpret it as negative, disrespectful, etc. because they are not used to it.

The way I see it, it means exactly what it says: there *is* no problem. How anyone could take that to mean that there conceivably was one is beyond me; it seems convoluted and purposely difficult. Anything we do for others, be it at work, a personal favor or simply letting someone through the door before you, entails an additional effort on our part. Saying "no problem" is meant to let the other person know that we were glad to do it.


when i was new to online video games, i once said "you're welcome" and i was laughed at. i interrogated everyone around me and found out i was supposed to say "np." i just accepted it but never figured out why np is preferred to you're welcome.


Fair or not, the response, "no problem" absolutely sets my teeth on edge.


I think it is sad that people say "No problem" instead of "you're welcome". "No problem" to me is lazy, and communicates "You didn't cause me a problem, I didn't have to make and effort" which is communicating a lack of me having to be caused pain or discomfort. Versus, "You are welcome. I did this because I am other centered and care about people."

I think "No problem" replacing "You're welcome" is a result of our society and youth becoming more and more self-centered and less adept at personal communication.


As an old guy (50 plus) I need to chime in. I think it is a disservice to young people to judge them on slang they may use. When a young person provides great service (and many do), and very sweetly and sincerely says "no problem" to your "thank you", I think you are an old curmudgeon to be nit-picky.

By the same measure, an insincere, officious "You are perfectly welcome" rings hollow when the speaker's inflection and nonverbal communication is expressing impatience or resentment. You can be a language snob if you choose to, but in my opinion your life will be richer if you learn to accept people as they are.


Listen people: no problem is a stupid response to a simple thank-you and here's why. "No problem" suggests that there was a problem in the first place. Bringing a purchase to a cash register and paying for it certainly isn't problematic.

When someone says 'no problem' to me in that kind of situation, I say, "Well, my apologies if I was causing you a problem by shopping here." Now when the boss asks the employee to complete a task and do it expeditiously and efficiently, a response of no problem does seal the deal in my view. Yes, that is a great time to tell the boss, "No problem, Mr. or Mrs. Boss. Consider it done."

Simply paying for something in a store .requires the

cashier or clerk to thank you, the customer. You're not

thanking them for doing their job, unless you were overjoyed with their service.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with being polite. All I'm saying is we live in a very mixed up world.


Wow. I found this page in an online search on the term "no problem," as that phrase has been driving me nuts for quite a while now.

After reading all the responses (many of them thoughtful and intriguing), I think I'm even more upset at the ugly rearing of my first strong generational schism (or at least the first one I'm either aware of or willing to cop to).

I still wish others would say "you're welcome" in response to my "thank you," as I think it's a kinder, more gentle and more personable response, in a world that could use more kindness, gentility, and civil behavior.

That said, many of you have given me a lot to think about, and for that, I say "thank you," regardless of your response. -Bill


I was on the phone with someone recently and he kept saying "I really appreciate you holding" and my natural response was "no problem." I kept thinking of what an alternate response would be. Would it be right to say "your welcome"? He didn't thank me, so saying "you're welcome" seemed unnatural. Would I say "thank you"? but that seemed odd to me too.


What about a thread on the annoying "nome sayin'". For example, someone might say, "I'm going to get the oil changed in the car; nome sayin?" It is annoying in the extreme.


The person may intend this response to mean the same as more "formal" (correct) responses, but subconsciously he or she is communicating some level of inconvenience. This is definitely inappropriate and makes the thanks-giver feel like he or she wasted his breath. Someone said in an earlier post that both words are negative in connotation and in my experience using negative language causes negative attitude and reinforces negative attitude.

I stopped using this phrase many years ago as a restaurant professional and immediately noticed the difference in the guest's attitude and in mine. When I say "It is my pleasure" with a smile it makes me realize that it is actually quite fulfilling to please the guest.


For people who came of age before 1990 or so, saying "Thank you" to a subordinate (e.g. an employee, service person, cashier, etc.) is not formal or stuffy. Almost the opposite, in fact. They are saying, in effect, "Although you had to do my bidding as a subordinate just now, I know it doesn't mean you're less than me in any way. I respect you." A cool "No problem" in response sounds a bit like "Whatever."

But for the younger group, "No problem" basically means "Sure thing," with a hint of "I'm comfortable with you." To say "You're welcome" seems oddly formal, like saying, "It was a pleasure to serve you, ma'am."

An unfortunate little communication gap.


I think "no problem" is perfectly fine to say in response to "thank you". In my opinion, people who have a problem with "no problem" are just being uptight. Obviously, when someone says "no problem" these days, it's meant to mean the same as "you're welcome." It's not meant to be anything negative, even if you see it as negative.

When someone is thanked, they don't immediately go into deep thought into the meaning of "no problem" or "you're welcome"; they are simply expressing that everything is all right, like the popular saying "It's all good".

The person who gets all stuffy about someone saying "no problem" to their "thank you" is actually creating a minor problem itself. Just accept the "you're welcome" no matter which way it's put; if said with a friendly expression, it is still a nice response. Also, you're not factoring in that these days, most of the time, a formal "thank you" isn't used. More relaxed forms like "thanks" are used, and most of the time "no problem" would be used in return to the casual "thanks" so when youngsters who have been saying the casual "no problem" for years to their friends' casual "thanks man" or just "thanks" meet a person who is more proper, and who delivers a formal "thank you" the words "no problem" automatically come from their mouth.

I say to the people that have a problem with "no problem" to loosen up a bit, because no matter what intense and articulate thoughts you have about the response "no problem", an average person these days does not have those same thoughts; they are simply responding in the way they know and you should not be offended by it. Just respect that the times are changing and there is nothing you can do to stop them from changing. I don't care how much you may hate it, "no problem" should not be a problem.

"Yup" on the other hand, yes i admit, could be very disappointing when a "thank you" is given, or even a non-formal "thanks", but i think the reason some say "yup" is either they are ignorant and do not care, or they are embarrassed slightly by your gratitude, maybe, they are not used to being thanked?

Food for the brain!


What about "It's a pleasure or Don't mention it" as a response to "Thank you"? This is what i thought.


Here's what I think. When someone says "no problem" in response to "thank you" it's equivalent to saying, "please, it was nothing".

When someone argues you shouldn't say no problem in a service situation because it shouldn't be a problem as it one's job - then why say "thank you"? It is someone's job?


I cannot believe that someone wrote exactly what I was thinking. I am 52 years old and I was purchasing some flowers for my mother on Mothers Day. I spent a good twenty minutes trying to decide. I finally picked out a plant. I had a few questions about it, but I really just wanted to get out, so I just said "thank you". After I paid, the young girl ringing up the purchase responded "yup".

She could have said something about the flowers -- anything. She could have said "you're welcome", she could have even said "no problem". But she said "yup". Not even "yep". After I got in my car, I actually came back, because I really thought this was an opportunity to say, in the best way I know how, it really would have made my experience a much less noteworthy one (which I pretty much usually seek), if any of the other responses were used.

The owner thanked me in front of her and apologized profusely -- I didn't expect that. But I was now glad to have come back and pointed it out.

No big deal. She probably just didn't know what most people at this site seem to know, and that is: the same responses that are appropriate in informal settings are not appropriate in others. This includes business settings where the customer will decide based upon many factors whether he or she will continue to do business with that establishment.


"You're welcome" would be an appropriate response because it has the word "you". It would be even more personal to say, "You're welcome, (then add the person's first name)." People love to be called by name-- and it might be a friendlier place to live if we added more personality to our speech.


yes, but what do you say when someone says wow! thanks for the terrific orgasm? "No Problem," "Think nothing of it", "You're welcome", "It's what I do"?


The problem with "no problem" is that it's two negative words: "no" and "problem." Also, "problem" is related to the words "ballistics" and "diabolical".


Okay, so I just randomly stumbled upon this page and I found myself rather intrigued about the subject.

The way I see it, when someone says "no problem" or a derivative of it, they're not suggesting that (in my opinion) they actually have an issue with their participation in the task which elicited the "thank you".

Instead, I suggest it is actually intended to portray the notion that "for you personally the task poses/posed a negligible amount of or no inconvenience, and I am content to be of assistance to you and as such, your expression of gratitude (while being appreciated) is not needed and may even be (depending on the level of familiarity with the thinker) interpreted as being an obdurate appeasement."

However, the "you're welcome" term has the almost exact connotation as its aforementioned counterpart, but when used by younger generations it is more often uttered with a derogatory tone in the voice, often in response to a negatively interpreted "statement of gratitude" in an attempt to debase the "thinker".

Additionally, what people have to take into account is the different social environments these acknowledgements of gratitude have developed in. The term "you're welcome" is from an era when social class was of greater importance than it is within contemporary society. Whereas "you're welcome" implies the thinker is of greater importance than the thanker.

The use of "no problem" is little more than a reflection of how society has started to move away from the concept that a person's social background affects their individual worth in the world.

Quite simply put, "no problem" denotes the user's concept of equality between themselves and the thinker. I like this explanation because, despite it making me sound like an over optimistic "hippie" -- stereotypically speaking-- if it holds even a little truth then it could be evidence of the (admittedly and unfortunately snail-paced) dissolution of negative and segregationist ideologies.

This demonstrates how the younger generations are beginning to place less importance on individuals backgrounds and will eventually diminish to a level of total unimportance (hopefully).


Because they don't want to be formal.


In grade school I was taught to say "ce n'est rien" in French and "de nada" in Spanish (both of which mean literally "it's nothing") in response to Thank You. Isn't that basically the same as "no problem?" If it is OK in those languages why is it not OK in English?


Saying no problem has a lot to it... For instance, I am in food service and I sometimes say "no problem," and I do it with a smile on my face. What does it matter if you're doing a service with a smile on your face? I'd much rather have a happy "no problem," than an automatic "you're welcome," anyday. Enthusiasm tells all.

Also saying "no problem," to me implies that I would have done the job whether or not you thanked me, so the thanks was unnecessary, but since you thanked me I'm saying it wasn't a problem. I base my response on my audience. No matter what you say, make the person feel comfortable, sometimes I say thank you back (as in thank you for choosing our service), other times a simple mm hmm... It's not that's it's being impolite -- I'm using the response I feel best suits the person it's coming from. You're welcome and no problem implies the same meaning to me.


I agree that "No problem" is not that much different in sentiment from the old response "Not at all". And I have "no problem" (haha) with language changing.

However, I also agree that usually when I hear "No problem", it's delivered in such an emotionless way the it leaves me feeling "Oh you mean it would normally be a problem to have served me (or whatever)". That's why I didn't like it.

I think "You're welcome." (for instance) is a much more positive and friendly thing to say.


Just because something has been in use doesn't mean it's correct or appropriate.

Yes, I come from the old school, and yes, the English language was my major, but I still use proper English in all of my conversations, even if I'm speaking to someone who doesn't know proper English.

"No Problem" as a response to my "Thank you" implies that there was or could have been a problem in taking care of me. So, when I hear it I always retort with "Why, should there have been a problem?" That usually catches them off guard and they apologize.

A simple 'Thank you' or 'You're welcome' is sufficient in most all cases.


It didn't really bother me at first, but then someone I know said they hated it and now I notice it all the time! I can see why some people are bothered by it, especially when it comes out of a waiter or other service person's mouth.

If they're doing you a favor and they say "No problem" then I think it's perfectly valid, similar to how you say "de nada" in response to "muchas gracias" in Spanish. But, if you are in a service job and are performing a service that's part of your job, then it sounds far more professional and *service-oriented* to say "you're welcome" or "my pleasure".

I do think that most young people in the US do not know what it really means to be of service to someone, and how extraordinary it can be for both parties in the arrangement when done right. A service person gets paid and knows that they've helped to make someone's day/meal/whatever better - and customer feels like they're king or queen for a few minutes. It's all good, and it's all part of making life a little sunshinier for everyone.


My issue with the "no problem" response is, if it truly IS no problem. Why mention a problem? It implies you were thinking the favor could be a problem, or that it was in some way.

If you are trying to indicate that there truly was no problem, why not frame it in a positive manner? Simple way the mind works: if you mention a problem, this is what is implied. Social acceptance or no.


What bugs me is when I've given someone some information they've asked me for, then they say 'no problem'. It shouldn't be a problem, I've just given them what they've asked for!


"But my question to lightspeed would be, why do I need to change? Why don't you just do it the same way as me? Why don't you change?"

'Why do I have to change, why don't you change?' Well that's -- selfish. You don't have to change and say it yourself, just accept the fact that some people, particularly young people, say it.


I have a problem with people that don't like the "no problem" response. Makes me think you are uptight and unpleasant to be around. If I hand you 20 dollars and you say "thank you" and I say "no problem" are you going to complain about my response when I just gave you 20 bucks? Or if I rake leaves off your lawn and you say “thank you” and I say “no problem”, what is really wrong with that? The point is generally "no problem" means for someone like you (such close friend, family, or trusted business partner) this favor is "no problem" or a pleasure, so don't sweat it. I know you would do the same.

For the person that asks why they have the change the answer is, you doubt. I know people that learn to operate a computer and that's fine. Is it recommended? Probably not but whatever floats your boat. Just remember with decisions are consequences. Is it really worth it to let it bother you?


Well it depends on the situation. I think if you do a favor for someone especially if it's a big favor, and they say thank you, you usually say no problem because you don't want to make that person feel bad and you reassure them that it isn't a problem. If you give a compliment or if you buy a gift for a certain somebody when they say thank you, your response should be you're welcome. That's what I think. You may agree or disagree, but that's just my opinion. Hope it helped?


While it might be just cause I am older, I don't like getting the "No Problem" response when I say thank you. But my question to lightspeed would be, why do I need to change? Why don't you just do it the same way as me? Why don't you change?


I'm not so much concerned with "no problem" versus people who reply "you welcome!" Umm, the correct term is "you're welcome" or "you are welcome", yes? I would rather have someone say "no problem" than sound like an idiot and say "you welcome!"


Please lightspeed. By your logic if enough of us said "up yours" when someone says thank you it should be an acceptable response. Maybe if Claussen Pickles puts enough "Peaches" labels on their pickles, we will all accept that it really means peaches and be happy when we open the jar. Words mean things no matter what your social status. How you choose to use them reflects what is on the inside.


I personally do not care for the "no problem" response to my thank you in any form of a business transaction. I really don't care if it was or wasn't a "problem" for you to provide the service that I've requested. It's your job. Just say thank you and be on your way. ;^)


The people who have a problem with "no problem" should recognize that language, like culture, is constantly evolving. The fact that it is so commonly used, in and of itself, makes it acceptable. If word fascists (as I like to call them) who insist upon using "proper" language had their way throughout history, we would still be using "thou" and thee" today. Language is very much a democratic medium of communication. Language usage is not exclusively a "top-down" process anymore... in other words, it is not a process by which some central authority governs word usage and everyone follows. It is also a "bottom-up" process, by which common usage also directs language evolution. If a word or phrase works its way into popular usage, then even authoritative references like Merriam-Websters will formally recognize it. The use of "no problem" as a commonly used reply to "thank you" makes it -- ipso facto by virtue of its common usage -- thoroughly acceptable.



Has anyone noticed an increase in the response "yup" to "thank you?" I've caught myself saying it on occasion in an informal setting, yet I can't see that it's by any means acceptable. Thoughts?


What about "Not at all" as a response to "Thank you"?


Perhaps it is a generational difference. However, with that being said, it would be appropriate to be aware of the social setting and make a proper response. Isn't that what manners are all about?

As a college student I worked in a computer lab. A student came in speaking ebonics. I had no idea what he was saying! The lab supervisor (who happened to be a black person) told the young man to speak in an understandable and educated manner because isn't that why he was in college?

So in the same way, as we interact with people, it is important to communicate appropriately.


The first time I heard "No problem" in lieu of "You're welcome" was in Vancouver, BC, in 1991. At first I thought it was a quaint, passing Canadian custom, but it sure stuck around and came South.


I think this is primarily a generational issue. I have no issue with a no problem response to my expression of gratitude. My father however sees it differently!

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    • "No problem" is more likely to be said in a casual situation than a more formal one.
      By: HconQ
      "No problem" is more likely to be said in a casual situation than a more formal one.