We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.


Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash
man buying item in shop

Have you ever wondered why people don't seem to say “you're welcome" anymore?

The phenomenon has really caught on lately but it's roots go a back further back. Back in 2015, author and professor Tom Nichols tweeted out an angry response after receiving what he thought was poor customer service:

“Dear Every Cashier in America: the proper response to 'thank you' is 'you're welcome,' not 'no problem.' And *you're* supposed to thank *me*"The angry tweet elicited a number of mocking responses from people on social media.

But eventually one person chimed in with a detailed and thoughtful response that just might give you pause the next time you or someone you know says, “no problem."

woman facing on white counterPhoto by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

It's not about being polite. Our views on gratitude are evolving.

In a response that is going viral on Reddit, on person writing under the name “lucasnoahs" laid it all out:

Actually the “you're welcome/no problem" issue is simply a linguistics misunderstanding. Older ppl tend to say “you're welcome," younger ppl tend to say “no problem." This is because for older people the act of helping or assisting someone is seen as a task that is not expected of them, but is them doing extra, so it's them saying, “I accept your thanks because I know I deserve it."
“No problem," however, is used because younger people feel not only that helping or assisting someone is a given and expected but also that it should be stressed that you're need for help was no burden to them (even if it was).

Basically, older people think help is a gift you give, younger people think help is an expectation required of them.

Nichols took a lot of flack for his comment. But the insightful response reveals something important about gratitude.

The thoughtful response from “lucasnoahs" doesn't apply to everyone. After all, there are certainly a lot of people of any age group for whom acts of kindness and gestures of gratitude are “no problem."

Still, his message conveys an important idea that doing well for others does not have to be a grand gesture. It can be a simple act -- and the additional act of letting someone know that it's really no problem helps relieve any potential sense of debt or guilt the person receiving the gesture might otherwise take on.

Most of the time, doing the right thing is indeed no problem. In fact, it might be the solution to a lot of the daily problems we grapple with.

This article originally appeared on 08.15.18.

Arjuna explains why Americans don't say "you're welcome" anymore.

There's an emerging trend among American Gen Zers and Millennials where they are moving away from responding with "You're welcome" after receiving thanks. While older generations might interpret this shift as a sign of a decay in manners, many young people view responses like "OK" or "Mm-hmm" as more courteous than the traditional "You're welcome."

The change may signal that the younger generations are actually kinder than the older ones. Simply put, the difference suggests that older people think help is a gift you give, while younger people think help is an expectation required of them.

This change in manners has caused a debate in the States, and the cultural shift has also led to some discussions abroad. Recently, there has been a considerable debate on TikTok, where non-Americans, especially those in Europe, see the change as rude.

Earlier this year, Australian YouTuber and content creator Georgia McCudden shared a clip (which has since been removed) depicting an experience with a server during her visit to the U.S.

In the video, McCudden recounts that she thanked a restaurant employee who handed her ketchup, to which the server replied, "Mmhmm." She was baffled by the response, saying, “I was like, ‘I beg your f**king pardon,’” she said in the clip. “I'm sorry, I didn't know that was a big ask.”

An American responded to McCudden’s original post, reassuring her that the server wasn't being rude at all. The exchange was just a cultural misunderstanding.


#stitch with @Georgia also this is a good verison of nonamericans teasing americans besides the usual stuff they say

A TikTokker named Arjuna hopped into the discussion with a post that described the “You’re welcome” phenomenon in America, and he must have done an excellent job because it’s received nearly a million views.

He captioned the clip: "I promise you Americans are actually very polite!!!"

"Someone went viral earlier this week for saying that Americans don't say 'you're welcome' in customer service situations,” Arjuna said. "I'm not here to sh*t on them, but I do want to explain for non-Americans why we don't really say 'you're welcome' and why 'you're welcome' feels a little outdated to a lot of Americans."


i promise you americans are actually very polite !!! #usa #american #thankyou #yourewelcome #english

Then, he laid out the “American” logic for the change.

"Let's say I'm a cashier at a fast-food restaurant, and they hand someone their food, and they say 'thank you,' to a lot of Americans, for us to say 'you're welcome' has the mindset of like 'Oh, yeah, we just did something big for you.' Like, it has this implication of 'I know, you should be thanking me,’” Arjuna said.

He adds that saying “you’re welcome” after completing a small task that’s part of their job “seems way too intense for that.” That’s why he says younger Americans prefer to respond with an “uh-huh,” 'no problem,” or “don't worry about it.”

Arjuna did add one caveat where “you’re welcome” would be an appropriate response to a “thank you.”

"But if I donated a kidney to someone, and then they came up to me and were like 'thank you' then I'd be like 'yeah, you're welcome,'" he said.

Teaching over Zoom can be rough. It's the little things…

I only have one Zoom meeting a week, and I find myself facing screen fatigue. I can only imagine the challenges that teachers have been continuously facing during this pandemic—overcoming tech issues, keeping the attention of multiple students from a distance, establishing a stimulating educational environment in a literally sense-less virtual space—all this with little help, and oftentimes even less appreciation.

But then again they don’t do it for the praise, they do it out of a genuine calling to help develop young minds. They certainly don’t do it for the pay.

Still, one group of students found the most heartfelt way to surprise their teacher, and it’s a powerful reminder of why education providers should get a “thank you” during this time.

At first, the teacher thinks that none of his students have their cameras on in order to be “cool.”

“Is that the new cool thing to do-not turn your camera on?” he innocently asks during an online class. “I’ve heard that in some classes, nobody turns their camera on, including the instructor.”

Clearly not this instructor. He’s the only one whose face is visible in a sea of Zoom squares.

Trying to laugh it off, he can’t help but ask, “Seriously is it my fault that you have your cameras off?” he’s met with an awkward silence.

Finally, someone speaks up. A student says, “Dr. Brown, we actually kind of wanted to do something.”

The cameras turn on, and instead of faces, the screen is flooding with handwritten notes of gratitude for Dr. Brown.

One of the most visible messages says, “thank you for making a difference every day.”

Moved, Dr. Brown says, “Oh, you guys…you’re gonna make me cry.” And he does.

The video inspired other people to share their own similar stories.

One person wrote, “During the early days of remote learning, I heard my daughter's history teacher trying everything in his power to just get the kids to respond to him saying "good morning, how are you?" Just....silence. Even if he'd call on them individually. All the cameras were off, despite him all but begging them to turn them on. And this was a teacher they LOVED during normal times…Teachers don't have it easy even on normal days...I can't imagine how hard it was trying to pivot to remote, then hybrid, then in-person....then remote....”

Another person added, “My husband is a teacher…Every day, he fights for his kids. Every day. He works longer hours than I do - even though my shifts are ten hours a day - and even as parents yell at him, the administration refuses to provide curriculum and instead gives busywork, and the pandemic makes it all but impossible to keep kids engaged, he keeps trying to give his kids the kindness, empathy, and understanding they deserve. Teachers are doing their utmost right now. Please, be kind to them.”

It’s hard out there right now, for everyone. But little acts of kindness like this really do make a difference. Here’s to a win for human connection.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I belong to a private Facebook group filled with parents of teenagers and college-aged students, and due to the sheer number of people, it's not uncommon for differences of opinion to arise. Rarely, though, have I ever seen a debate as split as the one raised by a post about something seemingly benign: Handwritten thank-you notes.

A mom shared that she was requiring her graduating senior to write thank you cards—the old-fashioned variety, complete with handwritten note, envelope, and postage stamp—and that emailing, texting, or calling on the phone to say "thank you" were unacceptable alternatives. She said her son was writing the notes but didn't like it, and she blamed computers and having to type assignments all the time for his resistance.

Some parents will read that paragraph, nod along, and agree 100% with this mom.

Others say the method doesn't matter—it's the message that counts.

Within hours, more than a thousand comments poured in and the responses were sharply divided between the "Yes, written thank you notes only!" and "Oof, that's a really outdated notion." (Not that the idea of gratitude is outdated, but the idea that appreciation must be written by hand and sent in the mail.)

Some people chimed in to say that they don't give gifts with any expectation of thanks, but naturally, it's good to teach kids to express gratitude when someone gives a gift. The method, however, is up for debate.

There is something extra personal about seeing someone's handwriting and holding a tangible note in your hand, especially in an age where we don't get nearly as much mail as we used to. But is that just nostalgia from an era on its way out?

As some people pointed out, kids today live in a different world, one where environmental consciousness comes as naturally as technological know-how. Isn't it a waste of paper to send a note in an envelope when you can say the exact same thing in an email or a text? Do email or text actually feel less personal to young people who do much of their communication electronically?

And isn't it just as personal to call someone on the phone and thank them with your voice as it is to send them a note with your handwriting? Some seem to think so.

Perhaps it's just a matter of tradition and strict etiquette standards? This is the way I was taught things were done, therefore that's is the way it is and it's wrong to do it a different way?

Again, some seem to think so.

Some parents rightly pointed out that times change, and what previous generations did is not automatically better or more thoughtful than the way young people today might prefer to do things. As long as kids grow up knowing that it's appropriate to let someone know you received their gift and appreciate their generosity, what difference does it make how they do it?

For some people, it makes a lot of difference. The die-hard handwritten thank you note folks were quite adamant about their stance, to the point of withholding their kids' gifts and checks until the thank you cards were postmarked and in the mailbox.

Kudos to those parents for teaching their kids to say thanks, but they're also making a broad assumption that everyone prefers to receive a thank you card. Again, comments from others showed that's not the case.

Many people said that they just end up looking at a thank you note for a few seconds before throwing it away anyway, and that they'd actually prefer to get a phone call. Some went so far as to say they hate getting thank you notes, saying it's a waste of paper and money for postage and they prefer messages of gratitude that use fewer resources.

Scrolling through the responses, people's opinions seemed pretty much split half and half between "Only handwritten thank you notes, always" and "Doesn't matter how you say thanks as long as you say thanks."

Who knew the basic thank you note was such a hot topic of debate?

One thing we can all agree on is that it's polite to say thank you when someone gives you a gift. Regardless of the method by which you do so, acknowledging someone's thoughtfulness and expressing gratitude is a valuable life skill. So always say thanks—but maybe try not to get too hung up on how it's done.