It’s a common enough phrase and I’m sure you’ve had it said to you many times. So many times in fact that your response becomes routine and automatic. ((Almost like saying “Bless you” or “Gesundheit” when someone sneezes.))
And this got me thinking about the responses and their effect on the flow of gratitude.
When you hear someone thank you, how do you respond?
Do you deflect the thanks by saying “it was nothing”?
Or possibly pass the thanks off by saying it was “no problem”?
Or do you accept the thanks and complete the flow of gratitude?
You have to let someone else give thanks
In order to complete the flow of gratitude, you have to let the other person express theirs.
You don’t need to prompt them, point out their situation, or guilt them into making the expression. If they are not grateful, that’s just the way it is.
But if they are – you have to let them give that gratitude to you.
Don’t reject it
“It was nothing” suggests that thanks are unneeded because you didn’t really do anything, there is nothing to thank you for.
How appreciative does that make the thank-er?
Don’t deny it
“No problem” is just as reflective – you’re not accepting the thanks, you’re saying that your actions were not a problem.
The other person isn’t saying that you encountered difficulties in helping them, they’re saying your effort to help them is appreciated.
Just accept it
So just say “You’re welcome”.
The gratitude of the thank-er flows to you, they feel that they’ve acknowledged your contribution, and you can feel good about being helpful.
Then turn around and thank someone yourself
With your new-found acceptance of this gratitude, you can then pass along your own gratitude.
And don’t let the receiver deny it either.
Press until they accept your gratitude
And when the other person responds to your thanks with “no problem”, correct them and say “I’m glad it was easy for you to do, I just wanted to make sure you realize that I am thankful for your effort.”
I bet they say something like “oh – you’re welcome” and the cycle continues.
And that’s something to consider.