Americans Are Explaining To Europeans Why Saying “You’re Welcome” Is Passive-Aggressive

When someone thanks you for something, saying “you’re welcome” seems like it should be the natural response, right? Well, apparently not in America (which is news to me as an American). According to a TikToker named Arjuna (@superdesidrinks), saying “you’re welcome” is outdated and kinda passive-aggressive and you shouldn’t really do it.

  1. To be fair, I can’t remember the last time I said or heard “you’re welcome” after a transaction. Not that I’ve particularly been paying attention, but I can’t think of an occasion when it’s happened recently. That being said, if someone were to say “you’re welcome” after I thanked them, I wouldn’t think twice about it — it would be pretty normal.
  2. So, what’s Arjan’s logic behind “you’re welcome” being passive-aggressive? As he says in a video, “Someone went viral earlier this week for saying that Americans don’t say ‘you’re welcome’ in customer service situations. I’m not here to sh*t on them but I do want to explain for non-Americans why we don’t really say ‘you’re welcome’ and why ‘you’re welcome’ feels a little outdated to a lot of Americans,” he began. He claims that it feels like “too strong of a sentiment” in many situations.
  3. How can acknowledging someone’s thanks being passive-aggressive, you ask? According to Arjuna, it implies that you’ve done something so massive for someone else that they should somehow be indebted to you. “Let’s say I’m a cashier at a fast-food restaurant, and they hand someone their food, and they say ‘thank you’, to a lot of Americans, for us to say ‘you’re welcome’ has the mindset of like ‘Oh, yeah, we just did something big for you,’” he explained. “Like, it has this implication of ‘I know, you should be thanking me.’”
  4. Doing something like providing good service is part of the job description. Therefore, saying “you’re welcome” after someone thanks you for basically doing your job “seems way too intense for that,” he claims.
  5. So, what can you say instead of “you’re welcome,” you ask? Arjuna has a few suggestions, including “don’t worry about it,” “no problem,” or an extremely casual and almost dismissive “uh-huh.” He added, “All these responses are essentially saying, ‘the thing I did for you is so small and unimportant, that your thanks isn’t even necessary.”
  6. Of course, there are times when saying “you’re welcome” is warranted. The example he gave was if someone thanked you for donating one of your kidneys to them, and I have to agree there! Arjuna ended the clip insisting that “Americans are actually very polite!!!” and while that’s true for many of us, I’ve met plenty of rude ones too. That’s just how it goes!

i promise you americans are actually very polite !!! #usa #american #thankyou #yourewelcome #english

♬ original sound – Arjuna

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill