on the merits of saying, “you’re welcome”

I told one of the munchkins “thank you” the other day– and they didn’t say you’re welcome. I noticed this happened again. Which is unusual for them, because, truly, they are polite and caring kids. But I didn’t say anything to them, because I realized I don’t say “you’re welcome,” either.

I do say other things. I usually say, “Of course” or “Don’t worry about it” or “It’s not a big deal.”

But isn’t it, though?

When I do something nice for someone and they acknowledge it, it’s only right that I respond in kind. They’ve given me a compliment, of a sort. If I respond with “of course,” that is actually dismissing their words to me. Like it shouldn’t have been noticed.

Saying, “you’re welcome” isn’t mere courtesy. It’s saying, “Yes, I did something for you. And I appreciate that you are thankful for it.” It’s acknowledging that it’s nice to hear thanks spoken aloud, as a little extra motivation to continue doing nice things for them. Instead of shrugging off their gratitude with indifference.

It is good to say thank you. Only don’t forget to say “you’re welcome,” too.

I will try to do it more often. If not for myself, then for the munchkins who look up to me. They say thank you, all the time, not because I make them (that’s a trauma for them to be forced to say thank you), but because I model the behavior. As does their father. It’s important for them to learn to say both.

And, to my friends, if you catch me failing at this, it’s okay to nudge me a gentle reminder! I’ll do the same for you, if you ask.

1 thought on “on the merits of saying, “you’re welcome””

  1. Tom "Buck" Klindt

    I’m so pleased to suddenly find notices of several new postings in my inbox! You always write thought-provoking things!

    While I do agree with you that saying “you’re welcome” isn’t just mere courtesy, it’s important to remember what courtesy fully is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courtesy as “polite behavior that shows respect for other people”. Courtesy, gratitude, acknowledgment, are never “meres”. Each of them is founded in respect…honoring yourself and others. Courtesy and good manners are social grease that lubricates the gears of healthy relationships.

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