“Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” When you have this exchange, you are probably talking with a baby-boomer or traditionalist. “You’re welcome” is a lovely response of hospitality and generosity.
“Thank you.” “No Problem.” Now, you are likely talking with a Gen-Xer. This also is a kind response, reinforcing that helping another is not a burden.
“Thank you.” “Of course.” No doubt you are talking with a millennial. This is my favorite response because I take it to mean, “Because I value you, of course I will do this for you.”
There’s also “Don’t mention it” and “It was my pleasure,” which are also fine responses but I have not been able to correlate to specific generations.
Saying “thank you,” whatever the response, is a social nicety that makes us connect at a level of grace and gratitude. I am a thanker. I thank people all day long. I thank my wife for doing laundry. I thank the neighbor for pulling up my garbage and recycle bins. I thank the people I work with for the work they do, even though they are paid to do it. A colleague of mine, thanks the people she supervises and her colleagues everyday for coming to work. When is the last time you thanked the person that cleans your bathroom at work, shopping center, doctors office?
I have been criticized a few times in my career for saying “thank you” (and “I’m sorry”) too much because, I have been told, these can be perceived as being deferential and weak. In order to be a successful career woman, I should stop saying “thank-you” and “I’m sorry” so much.
Of course, I thanked all of the people who have told me this over the years, and took their suggestions under advisement. Upon reflection, I decided they were right about “I’m sorry” but not about “thank you.” I, and so many women I know, say “I’m sorry” way too much (a topic for another time), but I am not sure that you can say “thank you” too much, any more than you can say “I love you” too much. For those old enough to remember prior to 9/11/01, we didn’t say “I love you” nearly enough—certainly not as much as we do now, which is a good thing to come out of such tragedy.
Saying “thank you” is good for me, for my relationships and for society. It puts me in a mindset of gratitude and elicits “You’re welcome”s, “No Problem”s and “Of Course”s from the people around me, which makes me smile.
Saying “thank you” is good for my relationships. People liked being thanked, even if what I am thanking them for they are getting paid to do.
Communities full of thankful people is also good for society. There is so much stress in life, so much suffering and pain. A heavy dose of kindness and gratitude does much to sooth and connect.
As you go about your week, I encourage you to say “thank you” more and see if it makes a difference in your mindset, sense of joy and relationships. Also, test out my theory about the generational differences in the responses you receive. Please post what you learn here or on social media.
…..and “thank you” in advance!!
For more information about language, culture and how to create a positive, healthy and productive work environment, see my book, Management Culture: Innovative & Bold Strategies to Engage Employees” at mgmtculture.com or amazon.com.