A love letter to my pet hate

I hate the response “You’re welcome” to the words “Thank you”, it really winds me up.  I have been told that I am a pedant on this subject but we all have our funny little ways.

Dear Reluctant giver

We clearly come from different backgrounds and I should expand my mind to embrace the deficiencies in your experience.  You see, when I was growing up I lived in a home where my parents were extreme givers.  They did not have an abundance to offer materially but they gave of their time, shared meals and were always there when anyone needed anything.   My mother took in foster children during school holidays (which really made me jealous), taught art at my pre-school as a volunteer, worked as a volunteer for lifeline and so it goes on.  Family friends would visit and end up staying for supper which was always made with great generosity of spirit.  We still laugh recollecting when her friend Yvonne visited for supper with her husband for the first time.  At the end of the meal Mum asked if he was still hungry, he jokingly replied that an egg and bacon would be great, well off she went to the kitchen and fried up his request, poor Joe had to find space to eat it.   I grew up with the impression that it was a joy to give and that everything that my parents did, they really got pleasure from doing.   If you come across my Mum and are uncomfortable seeing a 74-year-old lady topless, please don’t tell her that you like her top, chances are that she will want to take it off and give it to you.

The standard response to thank you, was always “It’s a pleasure” or “my pleasure”, in recent years many have replaced this with “You’re welcome”.    I was dimly aware of the shift but gave it serious thought when a woman told me that she chooses to say “you’re welcome” deliberately because she does not get pleasure from acts of giving, this blew my mind.  I’m sorry but I take exception to being at the receiving end of bad grace. My sinful pride then gets its hackles up and thinks “if you didn’t want to do it, you should not have bothered”.   I take this as a slap in the face, and I know that my response is somewhat extreme.  I accept that the words “you’re welcome” used by many, are nothing more harmful than a sort of automated response not indicative of whether the giver did or did not experience the joy of giving.  As I have already said, I know that I can be proud, and that is wrong, I just feel so darned uncomfortable accepting anything if it is not given or done with pleasure.

I don’t want to offend you by pointing out my reaction to your words but I would like to ask you to be aware of the way that  words can be interpreted by pernickety people like me.  If I thank you for picking up doggy doo, I don’t mind if you respond with “you’re welcome” but if  I thank you for a meal which you cooked, I would like to know that it was prepared with love, if I thank you for a gift I would like to hear that the act of giving gave you pleasure.  I don’t like to feel that I am a burden or that I have imposed  upon you.  Thank you for reading my rant.



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  1. Your mother sounds like an amazing person.
    I am embarrassed to say that I am a “You’re Welcome” person, but coming from the angle of being a very black/white person – there are no grey areas in my life. If I do something pleasurable like cooking a meal or buying a present it will be a pleasure coz I wouldn’t do it begrudgingly, but if I do a payment it will be You’re Welcome or if a client thanks me for work done it will be You’re Welcome so I base it on how personal it is and how pleasurable it is for me – work not being a pleasure 😉

  2. Thanks for sharing your rant. I agree… bad grace… is just not grace. Not worth it!

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