“No problem,” I responded to the person who just thanked me for taking her to the clinic for her doctor’s appointment. “No problem.”
Have you ever used this phrase or have had someone respond to you by saying it? This little phrase, ‘no problem,’ wasn’t a bother to me until recently when a couple of people brought it to my attention that it drives them crazy to hear it, and that it is not really proper etiquette. But, it seems to have replaced the traditional ‘you’re welcome’ in conversation. Whatever happened to ‘you’re welcome’, or ‘my pleasure’?
There is a negative connotation to ‘no problem’ because ‘no’ is a negative, and so is the idea of a problem. Therefore, 2 negatives do not go together and make a positive. There are several sites on the internet to look up more information about this ‘no problem’ saying, and, according to the on-line International Business Protocol and Social Etiquette site, using this phrase is, indeed, not proper etiquette. Many Customer Service Departments insist that the associates refrain from using ‘no problem’, and use ‘thank you,’ or ‘it’s my pleasure’ instead.
In contrast, the on-line ‘Free Dictionary’ states that ‘no problem’ is an accepted way of saying ‘you’re welcome’, and it is used to acknowledge an expression of gratitude. In fact, if someone is helping you, or serving you (as a waiter or waitress) this is their job, and they are getting paid to serve you and do their job. So, if you thank your server and he or she responds with ‘no problem’, you could actually answer back with “well, I hope not since it is your job to do this.” However, this might not be the best choice of response in the situation!
Why not take a day and just listen for how many times folks say ‘no problem’. And, try (for a day) to not respond with ‘no problem’ yourself. See if you can make the change to ‘you’re welcome’.
As a result of this research, I am going to try to stop saying , it’s ‘no problem’. Many people, (including me), fall into using automatic responses without thinking, and ‘no problem’ seems to be way high on the list. Well, maybe ‘no worries’ falls in there somewhere as well, but for now I’ll just stick to ‘no problem’.
Just a thought …