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I hate this phrase. And now that I have pointed it out, you’ll probably begin to notice how many folks use it. What bothers me about “no problem” is that it insinuates that whatever we were discussing WAS A PROBLEM. Let’s say I am at a restaurant and the server refills my water glass — I politely say “thank you.” The response from the server is more often than not, “no problem.” So does that mean it WAS A PROBLEM but they have taken care of it, so now it is not? If you’re a server, it is part of your job to keep my water glass filled, so it better not be a problem. The proper response in that scenario is, “MY PLEASURE!” or “YOU’RE WELCOME.” Saying “NO PROBLEM” sounds like the person is some sort of miracle worker and they made the nagging situation disappear. Makes me want to ask, “Who made you God and the master of making problems vaporize?” It contains a hint of superiority that I resent. And every time I hear it, I want to ask, “if there actually was a problem, because for some reason you just told me you solved it.”
There are so many ways to answer a person when they show appreciation. Phrases like, “my pleasure, happy to help, you’re welcome, you bet or anytime” (although that word gets a little vague for me) can easily replace “NO PROBLEM.”
The guy shares my sentiment completely…about half way into his sermon.
To make matters worse, there is a TTY Abbreviation for “NO PROBLEM” (NP). Luckily, THX (Thanks) and TY (Thank You) are also on the list so I don’t have to settle for NP. I don’t see one for “My Pleasure” but maybe that would be conveyed with symbols or XXX’s?
The unadorned “Thanks” is another pet peeve of mine. Do you end all of your emails with this? I think people do it without thinking. When I see it I wonder what they are thanking me for. It has become a routine ending for many emails I receive. And yes, I did it myself, for a while, until I realized it had become a habit.
And while I’m on a roll, have you ever known someone who says they are “sorry” all the time? They immediately take the blame or accept responsibility when in fact it may not be necessary. It almost feels like a deflection so the “rant” won’t continue. Or maybe their self-esteem is in bad shape and they’re into self-punishment? Women tend to say “sorry” more than men. I think sometimes we feel intimidated into taking the blame and it’s easier than standing up. “I’m sorry” should be used to show compassion or followed with asking forgiveness for something you really feel bad about.
Bottom line, think about what comes out of your mouth. And if Luke calls me “dude” one more time I am going to cover his workspace with post it notes when he’s not around.

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Ed Sharp

Ed brings 15 years of traditional and digital media sales experience to the agency, giving us a perspective most agencies don’t have. When he’s not working or seeking new knowledge, Ed hangs out with his wife, two kids, two dogs, one cat, and a hamster. And yes, the cat and hamster are best friends.

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