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How to answer to "thank you"

Hello everyone,

due to the recent conversation about answering to "thank you" with "my pleasure", the conclusion was that it is power scalping because one is taking even more as the other express gratefulness, of course the context matters:

Quote from Bel on April 18, 2023, 4:26 pm

Friend: Thank you for inviting us!

Host: Thank you for coming!

On the other hand, a response like this:

Host: My pleasure man.

Highlights the "host's giving" even more, and thus is social scalping.

To me "My pleasure" equals "I'm doing it because I want to, irrespective of the value you are providing".

So I'm re-evaluating my default answer to thank you.

In French, there are a few ways to answer to thank you that are commonly used (literal translation for clarity's sake):

A: Thank you!

B: With pleasure!

That's the one I used in the past few years as I thought it was diminishing the thanker from a social debt to the thankee. I thought: "If I'm happy to give, it means the thanker owes me less, so it's a gesture of friendship". So I thought this was a way to be socially gracious by removing part of the social debt on the thanker.

A: Thank you!

B: Of nothing!

This one I dropped it a few years ago and replaced with the first one. I stopped because it was undervaluing what was given. If what was given is "nothing" then the value is "nothing". I still use it selectively when for instance holding the door for someone or these small gestures that we do for one another daily. And for these there is no social debt.

A: Thank you!

B: Please/you're welcome  ("Je t'en prie", literally: "I beg of it to you" but untranslatable)

As of writing this, I think this is my favourite so far. I think this one renders more the idea to relieve the other person a little bit from the social debt: as in "you don't owe me that much".

Curious to read what you guys think on this topic.

My personal stance on this, after studying PU and reading that thread on hosts inviting people home (here it is, found it), and observing our interactions on this forum, was:

  • when the value one is providing is obvious and/or already recognized by others, to remove answering "thank you" with "you're welcome/don't mention it" as much as possible, especially in the written language, and instead either (a) thank back; or (b) ignore it if perfunctory; or (c) comment on it by saying something about being glad about the situation / results obtained
  • when the "thank you" is a way to scalp and/or there is ungratefulness/no giving back (example: a client saying "thank you so much lawyer!" when it's obvious he is not going to use my services and is going to run away after getting advice), to answer "thank you" in the common socially accepted way (ie by saying "you're welcome/don't mention it").


Lucio Buffalmano and John Freeman have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn Freeman

Hello Bel,

thank you I like the way you structured it: I think these are definitely use cases that we commonly encounter. I'm going to experiment with this: it seems a good default framework!

Yeah, I also use the "thank back", it feels good doing so as it reinforces the shared bond.

If more people want to comment on that, feel free!

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