I majored in English in college, and then became a preacher, speaking publically every week. So words and how we used them are important to me. All my adult life I have tried to use words properly, and I came to realize how words can unintentionally hurt or heal. Few things are worse than saying something that hurts another.
This might just sound like a rant, but I want to say it anyway. Last week, Mattison Strom mentioned Truett Cathy in an article she wrote for this paper, and I will tell you that he really has been an incredible innovator.
One of the things Chic-fil-A trains its employees to do is to respond to someone who says, “Thank you,” with “It’s my pleasure.”
When we were kids we were probably taught to respond to anyone thanking us with, “You’re welcome.” Truly, if you try to define what that actually means, it is somewhat hard to do. It is probably time to come up with a new response, and “It’s my pleasure” is possibly the best one I have heard.
However, the more common response to thanks is to say, “No problem.” Can I suggest we stop saying that? Please? Here is why — when you thank someone for some small act or some nicety, you are expressing your gratitude to them for being thoughtful or kind or nice. When someone responds, “No problem,” it is actually rejecting your gratitude.
Let’s say I am having lunch at Chic-fil-A and there is a line of people ordering so that I have to wait on my meal. I am usually invited to find a place to sit and when my meal is ready one of the wait staff will bring it to my table. I say, “Thank you,” and if that wait staff person says, “No problem,” they have just said to me, “I don’t need your thanks because this is my job,” or, “I don’t need your thanks because I was not bothered having to do this.”
I did not thank that person because what they did might have been a bother or just part of their job, I thanked them because I was grateful for what they did, problem or not.
Can we try to remember that when someone thanks us for anything, your answer to them is not about you but them? Respond with “You’re welcome,” or “My pleasure,” or “I was glad to do it.” That way you both honor each other.
Dr. Jay Hodges can be reached at Jayhodges610@yahoo.com.