I said "You’re Welcome!"

I’m not sure where, but a few weeks ago I was reading a devotional or a magazine article or something in which the author commented on the fact that the phrase “you’re welcome” was endangered. They pointed out that most people today do not say “you’re welcome” in response to someone thanking them. Instead, phrases like “no problem” or “it was no big deal” have become the norm.

The thing is, whether the act or gift or thought or whatever was problematic for the giver was not what the receiver was asking. In fact, they weren’t asking anything. They were saying “thank you for doing something nice”. Are they not welcome? Even if it WAS a problem for you, you still did it or you wouldn’t be getting thanked for it. If you say it wasn’t a problem or a big deal and it was then you’re just a liar. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal or a problem for you to do it. It might have been a big deal to the receiver, though. If that’s the case then if you say “it was no big deal” it could almost feel like a slap in the face for the other party. And maybe it really wasn’t a problem for you, but it might have solved a problem for the receiver.

Whatever the case, the gist of the author’s point on the phrase “you’re welcome” was this: It’s polite. It’s good manners. Our great-grandparents, our grandparents, our parents, and likely ourselves as well, were all taught from the time we were in knickers to say “please, thank you, and you’re welcome”. It wasn’t “please, thank you, and no problem“.

I don’t remember anything else about the article (and I don’t think it was all about “you’re welcome” either…), but this has stuck with me.

See, I saw the point the author was making. Americans, even Christian Americans (who purport to be striving after politeness and Christ-likeness!) have been slipping and getting downright lazy with our manners.

Yes, our. Me. That’s why it stuck with me. I realized that I was B-A-D! about saying “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome”. In fact, after reading that I distinctly recalled several instances in the very recent past where I had done just that. And then I recalled overhearing a woman just the night before saying “you’re welcome” to someone. It was just a little something. Something I definitely would have said “no problem” in response to. I thought, “ya know? That ‘you’re welcome’ sounded so much nicer, friendler, and personal. It sounded heartfelt even though it was a little seemingly insignificant something. That was good.”

I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d said that. Truly. I tried. Years, easily.

It was then that I decided I wanted to say “you’re welcome”. I didn’t want to say “no problem” anymore. I wanted to be more personal and friendly than that. I wanted to break a bad habit and start a good one. I wanted to go back to the old ways.

So I determined that the next time someone thanked me I would say “you’re welcome”.

I bet you’re expecting me to say….and I did. You’d be wrong.

I did determine to. I even steeled myself up for it several times…”Ok, when I hand so-and-so this, they’ll probably say thank you…I’ll say ‘you’re welcome’ this time instead of ‘no problem’ like normal.”

Ummm, no.

Something happened each time. Either I flat wouldn’t think of it at ALL until hours later, or I’d think about it on purpose right up to the very moment and then….poof….my brain would drop that thought and out would come “no problem” instead. I was really getting aggravated. Every time I’d kick myself a little harder and a little longer when I’d realized I’d just…once again!…blown it. Arrrgh!

Exasperated with myself, I finally quit actively trying. I quit stressin’ over it and just decided that I would try to remember, but if I didn’t, there’s always next time. I knew eventually it would come because it’s a good change and Jesus has been helping me make those good changes.

Tonight I handed someone something and they thanked me. I hadn’t thought about what I was going to say. I was just handing someone something and then turning back to my work…and it happened.

I didn’t plan it. I didn’t think it. It just fell out of my mouth like I was a seasoned “welcomer”! It didn’t even register what I’d done until I’d turned back away. For the first time in I don’t even know how long, my mouth used the old words.

“Thank you,” they said.

“You’re welcome,” I said with a smile.

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