How to Respond to Thank You (In Any Situation)

13 Ways to Respond to Thank You

  1. You’re welcome.
  2. You’re very welcome.
  3. That’s all right.
  4. No problem.
  5. No worries.
  6. Don’t mention it.
  7. It’s my pleasure
  8. My pleasure.
  9. Anytime.
  10. It was the least I could do.
  11. Glad to help.
  12. Sure!
  13. Thank YOU.

What’s the BEST way to reply to a ‘thank you’?

As you can see in the list above, there are many options to choose from, and they all differ based on the context.

  • How do you reply to thank you at a job interview?
  • The friendly guy who thanked you for complimenting his hair (which is obviously a wig)?
  • How about an important person?

I’ve jotted down a couple of ways to deal with informal and formal situations, so all of the heavy lifting is done! No more need to be a nervous wreck because you don’t know which response is appropriate.

Informal Situations

1. You’re Welcome

Mostly you’ll find yourself in casual situations where there isn’t any pressure to respond professionally.

This is where you’ll also get a majority of your practice in talking and learning the language, because studying grammar in a textbook is a different beast compared to talking to somebody during rush hour in a train station.

Take for example, the following interaction:

You step off a train. The doors are closing. A guy comes running and shouts ‘hold the door!’

Heroically, you decide to help him. But sadly this breaks every bone in your hands.

Guy: “Hey man, thank you for keeping the doors open for me!”

Now here’s test number one. In a situation like this, it isn’t in a professional setting, nor is it related to business or academics. It’s an interaction that needs no fancy reply, or stiff, formal replies.

So you have a wide variety of options:

  • A simple you’re welcome works in every situation, informal or not
  • “Appreciate it!”
  • “No problem!”
  • “No biggie!”

For now, we’ll go with “you’re welcome” since it’s the most common, reliable response to a thank you at any given time, any place.

Now that you’ve negotiated this tricky social encounter, you can walk to the hospital. Let’s just hope there are no buttons to press along the way.

2. Thank YOU

When replying to thank you, another thank you is a completely viable option.

Take this example. A guy notices your hilarious T-shirt.

Guy: Hey man, nice shirt!

You: Thank you, stranger!

Guy: No, thank you! That joke made my day!

You: No thank YOU, that compliment made my day!

Guy: No, no no nononono my friend, thank you!”

Be cautious when matching thank yous, because a simple 3-second interaction could turn into a 5 minute thank-off.

3. My Pleasure

Want to make people like you without having to really do anything?

Don’t we all?

It’s actually easy to do a small favor for someone and get their approval.

And once the favor is done and you get that coveted thank you…

You cock back…

Give a light smile, lean in and whisper…

My pleasure.

Saying my pleasure gives the image of you enjoying the act of helping another person out.

Not only do you get to use a killer response to thank you, but you also score brownie points with that person, which may or may not lead to actual brownies in the future.

There’s an even more useful version of this below. Keep reading!

Formal Situations

On the opposite side of the formality spectrum, you will be thanked a lot in professional settings as well, where the rules from the streets don’t apply.

Sincere, straight to the point replies are key here.

For example, you’re in a meeting with lots of executives.

Your Boss: Jim, thank you for your contributions to the team, I appreciate it very much.

You: You’re very welcome, boss! It was my pleasure!

See? Nothing too fancy or complicated, because in formal situations, simplicity and respect are majorly important. Avoiding slang is also important, because slang is best suited for the everyday casual interaction, not a meeting with an important label executive.

Let’s see how that could’ve gone if there wasn’t any respect, or if you used slang at the wrong time:

Your Boss: Jim, thank you for your contributions to the team, I appreciate it very much.

You, craving an unemployment check in the mail: No biggie, bro. That’s how I roll, you feel me?

Your Boss after security arrives: Get him out of here!

A Magical Alternative to You’re Welcome

It’s always safe to say ‘you’re welcome’, but in the opinion of one of my favorite authors, Robert Cialdini, it’s a missed opportunity.

Here’s what he recommends you say instead:

I know you’d do the same for me.

The genius of this phrase is threefold:

  1. It improves your relationship with the other person, making you seem more like peers.
  2. It shows that you are a helpful person.
  3. You imply that the other person owes you a favor.

Then the next time you need help, this person is more likely to offer!

Quick Questions

What is the best response to a thank you?

The best response to a thank you is ‘you’re welcome’, which fits every occasion.

How do you respond to a thank you from your boss?

To respond to a thank you from your boss, say:

  • My pleasure.
  • Don’t mention it.
  • You’re very welcome.
  • I’m glad I could help.
  • It was not a problem at all.

Should you respond to a thank you email?

You should respond to a thank you email. It can strengthen your relationship. Just keep the message brief.

Is it rude to say you’re welcome?

It is not rude to say you’re welcome. It’s one of the most polite phrases in English!

 

So there you have it! Replying to thank you can be hard if you don’t understand the nuances of how and why to reply in different ways.

But that’s a thing of the past now. I’ve armed you with the knowledge of how to kill it when replying, now go out there and get thanked so you can get some practice in!

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