Can I Reply “No Problem” to “Thank You”?

Can I reply ‘no problem’ when someone says ‘thank you’? It might seem like a simple question, and yet, it’s currently one of the hot topics of etiquette debate.

It is possible to respond with no problem to thank you, especially in informal situations, work groups, within the family, and for small niceties. In formal situations, use “my pleasure” instead.

Can I Reply ‘No Problem’ to ‘Thank You’?

‘No problem’ is a response that is becoming more and more popular to expressions of gratitude, in place of the more traditional ‘you’re welcome’.

The big question for etiquette-conscious people is: Is this answer acceptable?

The answer to the question: Yes and no, depending on the audience and the situation.

How Did ‘No Problem’ Become a Popular Response to ‘Thank You’?

Technically, ‘no problem’ is a type of slang. But its literal meaning is ‘It was no problem to assist you.’

This phrase is increasingly popular among the younger crowds, but in some areas, and some cultures, it might be frowned upon.

Why Would ‘No Problem’ Be Considered An Inappropriate Response?

Among more formal cultures and situations, the informality of ‘no problem’ can rub individuals the wrong way.

While not all older individuals are fussy about forms of address, some of them may prefer the more traditional responses to expressions of gratitude.

In service jobs, such as retail, the lighthearted response may convey a message that you don’t intend.

Negative Connotations of ‘No Problem’

Why would ‘no problem’ have a negative connotation?

  • Implies a lack of effort or interest.
  • Informality implies familiarity.
  • It can imply a lack of acceptance of gratitude, by undermining the effort and involvement.
  • Can sound dismissive.

What Are Some Alternative Responses to ‘Thank You’?

If you’re looking for a response other than ‘no problem’, here are a few common alternatives:


“You’re Welcome”


“It Was My Pleasure”

Mid-level formality & slightly more old-fashioned:

“Don’t Mention It”

Reassuring & semi-informal:

“Please Don’t Worry About It”

“You’re Welcome”

This is the most common, and most traditional way of responding.

This is what almost every child is taught as a response.

Typical exchanges go:

“Thank you for…” -> “You’re welcome” or “You’re most welcome.”

Why This Phrase?

Old English and older languages used ‘willcume’ as a greeting, particularly to guests.

You’re welcome was a traditional shorthand for ‘you are welcome to my home/store, and whatever services I may provide’. To repeat it to a guest after being thanked was to acknowledge their gratitude, while at the same time absolving them of any need to repay.

When To Use:

Working a customer service/retail job

Working a Restaurant: This response when assisting a guest implies acceptance, without the need for recompense.

Working with older individuals

Dealing With Retirees or 60+: Raised with stricter etiquette rules, often more comfortable with the more traditional responses.

Working with individuals who may be more formal or more traditional

Certain Religious Groups: Some groups favor traditional modes of address.

Identified More Formal Cultural Influences: Many Asian Cultural influences involve a greater level of formality.

‘High Class’ Environments: Working a formal event like a wedding, or a 5-star venue.

“My Pleasure”

The whole phrase is “It was my pleasure to assist you”.

It has become more popular in recent years and is used as the standard response at Chick-Fil-A, among other establishments

Why This Phrase?

It was and is a common phrase for individuals in the service industry, used as a way of expressing respect for a patron.

The intended implication is that service is its own reward and a return of gratitude for gratitude.

When To Use:

In the Service Industry

Helping someone place an order:

“It was my pleasure to assist you with your order“.

In Formal Settings & When Doing a Good Deed

Special assistance in a dining establishment:

“It’s my pleasure.”

“Don’t Mention It”

This is typically one of the less formal responses but often works better than ‘no problem’.

‘Don’t Mention It’ offers acknowledgment, while indicating personal modesty is your reason for disinterest in remuneration.

Why This Phrase?

‘Don’t Mention It’ is exactly what it sounds like.

It was originally a form of modesty, a way of saying that the service does not need too much focus. In older times, it was considered uncouth to draw attention to one’s service or good deeds, and this was used to acknowledge that mindset, while not dismissing services rendered.

When To Use:

Small or Everyday Actions

If you held a door, or let someone go in front of you:

“It’s not a big issue, so please don’t mention it.”

More Informal Situations

Helping a friend or family member:

“We’re (Relationship), so don’t mention it.”

Something With Mutual Benefits

Helping with a project that helps both parties:

“Don’t mention it, you have already helped me countless times.”

“Please Don’t Worry About It”

This phrase says exactly what it means. It’s meant to reassure someone.

Why This Phrase?

In older times, this would be used to reassure someone who was upset, particularly among poorer classes where paying for a given service might be difficult.

Now, it is meant to reassure a person with any sort of difficulties, financial or otherwise, and also help preserve dignity.

When To Use:

Working With Injured Individuals

Carrying groceries:

“Don’t worry about it, I’m not having trouble with this.”

Doing charitable or good deeds

“Don’t worry about it, I am sure that every cent will go exactly where it is needed.”

Something that’s a small task for you, but might not be for the other party

“Don’t worry about it, I am happy to help whenever possible.”

Finding something for a customer in a store

Don’t worry about it, I know right where it is!”

When Can I Say ‘No Problem’?

No problem is a perfectly acceptable response for:

  • Informal situations
  • Doing small deeds
  • Working on group projects
  • Family and friends

Basically, there’s nothing wrong with the phrase in familiar company and relaxed situations.

In a situation with a little more formality, tradition, or among strangers, however, one of these other phrases might serve you better.