You are Welcome

You are Welcome

At one time the standard response to expressions of gratitude was “You’re welcome.” This seems to have gone out of favor. Like many good, plain words and phrases, this one is frequently replaced by a variety of substitutes:

“No problem”



“That’s fine”

“No worries”

“It’s nothing”

And the more agreeable, “My pleasure”, which is especially favored by those who work at the Ritz Carlton and is charming for the first five or six times one hears it from them.

The old, stodgy “You are welcome” might have been victim of a desire for freshness or originality. Or perhaps the giver wants to diminish the importance of the service provided or the strain incurred by providing it by tossing off the thanks as unnecessary.

Whatever the reason, we don’t hear “You’re welcome” so much, which is too bad. Welcome invokes good will, hospitality, generosity. It speaks of gracious invitation and entertainment, cordial acceptance. It assures the receiver that giving was done with pleasure and hints that the giver feels the recipient worthy of time and effort. So many nice things are conveyed as the giver gives, the receiver expresses gratitude, and the giver gives again in assurance that the gift was intentional and deserved.

Giving thanks is a good thing, and receiving thanks is really nice, too, so it seems persnickety (frontier word alert!) to take issue with the way one does so. But returning a graceful effort with a graceful effort seems to be a good way to encourage continued graceful efforts. If our response to thanks is to suggest that the thanks is unnecessary, excessive, or assumed, or that the gift was given without thought or intent, or that the whole interaction of gift-acknowledgement is insignificant or boring, we may be doing significant damage to a basic cornerstone of communication! We might be discouraging not only graceful interactions, but gratitude and courtesy, and the getting of good stuff!

So let’s continue to reward those gentlefolk who give us thanks, and let them know that we consider them “well come” into our spaces. You’ll feel good about doing this, and you might thank me for it.

You are welcome.

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