Yesterday I was on a business trip with a coworker. Because our offices are here in California and so much of the produce we sell grows here, it is easy to drive (or in our case, fly) to visit a few growers in a single day.
As we were driving back to the airport, I thanked my coworker for driving (it was about 250 miles round trip). He said, “No problem!”
I kind of gulped when he said that. Whenever I hear the words “no problem,” I am reminded of an important lesson I learned a few years ago.
A friend of mine pointed out that when we say the words “no problem,” we are actually projecting two negative words: “no” and “problem.” However, when we say “no problem,” it usually is because someone has thanked us for doing something, and instead of saying “you’re welcome,” we want to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal, so we say “no problem.”
It reminds me of learning basic French. The word for thank you in French is “merci.” To respond to “merci,” you are taught to say the casual response of “de rien” (which literally translated means “for nothing”).
So, I offered an alternative answer to my coworker. I suggested that next time someone thanks him for something, how about saying “my pleasure.” He smiled at me and agreed to try it and see how it felt.
We pulled up to a gas station on our journey home and he got out to put gas in the car. I said, “Thanks for filling up the car with gas!” He paused, stuck his head back in the car, and said with a smile, “my pleasure.”
He agreed that it felt so much better.
And, it actually made ME feel better.
So, next time someone says “thank you,” resist the temptation to say “no problem.” Consider saying, “It was my pleasure!”