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Danke. Grazie. Xie xie. Gracias. Merci. Mahalo. Arigato. Dziękuję.
No matter how it is said, it’s always nice to hear.
And we’ve been hearing it throughout our entire lives… likely on countless occasions.
Your parents thanked you for sharing your toys.
Your teacher thanked you for raising your hand.
Your girlfriend thanked you for the flowers you bought her.
A stranger thanked you for holding a door open for them.
Your kids thanked you for their birthday presents.
Your boss thanked you for working late.
Your friend thanked you for cheering them up after a bad day.
A cashier thanked you for shopping in their store.
But have you ever stopped to wonder how to respond to “thank you”?
After all, proper etiquette would dictate that different situations call for different responses.
Think about it… do you ever picture yourself responding to a “thank you” from your boss with the words, “no worries”?
Unless your boss is a family member, a casual response like that may not be the most appropriate. And even if they are related to you, you may want to set certain boundaries when at work, so as not to blur the lines.
In this article, I’m going to offer 17 ways to respond to “thank you”, broken down into four categories.
What You Will Learn
- How to Respond to “Thank You” From a Family Member or Friend
- How to Respond to “Thank You” From An Employer or Colleague
- How to Reply to a “Thank You” From A Teacher, Mentor or Public Figure
- How to Respond to “Thank You” from A Stranger
How to Respond to “Thank You” From a Family Member or Friend
If you are being thanked by a family member or friend, there really isn’t any pressure to say the wrong thing. Since they know you well, they know your intentions are good.
1. You’re welcome.
You can’t go wrong by responding this way… and it would work in any situation. It’s simple, clear and clean. You could dress it up a little by saying, “You’re very welcome”, but the sentiment is the same.
2. No problem.
This makes it clear to your loved ones that it was no trouble at all to lend a hand or be there for them.
3. No worries.
This assures people not to give your generosity a second thought. It lets them know that your bond is stronger than any words.
4. Don’t mention it.
This is your way of saying you don’t want or expect any recognition.
5. Happy to help.
It’s clear you’ve got their back… always.
This says you aren’t keeping track of good deeds when it comes to your family and close friends.
How to Respond to “Thank You” From An Employer or Colleague
When your boss thanks you for something, it usually has to do with your willingness to add more to your plate.
Similarly, receiving a “thank you” from a colleague will often have to do with their gratitude towards you for being a team player.
That being said, it’s important that your response reaffirm their perception of you and cements your place on the team.
7. I’m happy to do my part.
This lets everyone know that you take your job seriously and are willing to go the extra mile to improve things.
8. It was no trouble at all.
This lets them know that you don’t expect things to be handed to you… and that your job is a priority, sometimes even after hours.
9. I’m honored you asked.
This is your way of verbally solidifying your commitment to the company.
10. Thank YOU for the opportunity.
You have your high on the corporate ladder and are not afraid to climb it high.
How to Reply to a “Thank You” From A Teacher, Mentor or Public Figure
In this scenario, you are likely being thanked by a teacher for helping another student or cooperating in the classroom.
A mentor may be thanking you for following in their footsteps and making them proud.
A public figure would say “thank you” for your service or commitment to a cause.
In instances like these, the responses below would adequately convey the pride you may be feeling.
11. I’m humbled.
This is a selfless response that speaks to your modesty.
12. It was the least I could do.
This is clear verbal recognition of your gratitude. You appreciate what you have in life and feel empathy for those that have less.
13. It was my pleasure.
It makes you feel good to help others and this response makes that known.
14. It was my honor.
You are grateful for the opportunity to help whenever you can… and the act of doing so is thanks enough for you.
How to Respond to “Thank You” from A Stranger
They say that a smile from a complete stranger can make someone’s day. You never really know what people are feeling or what’s going on in their world, so a random act of kindness can sometimes make a big difference.
Actions like holding open a door or hailing them a cab… or offering to let them go ahead of you in line when they have only one item.
Since you don’t know these people at all, and may never see them again, your response when they thank you can be light and casual in tone.
There’s no need to impress them with the perfect reply because you’ve already won them over with your generosity.
15. Sure thing.
This lets people know that you were merely being a decent human being and you’d do it again. It’s who you are.
16. No sweat.
This makes it sound like there was no need to thank you in the first place. You were just being courteous.
17. You got it!
Look out! This type of positive and upbeat reply can be contagious! Responding this way with a smile makes it clear that you enjoy life most days and want to pass the good vibes along.
After all, the world is only as good as the people in it.
Final Thoughts on How to Respond to “Thank You”
Our life is built around a series of interactions with other people.
For better or worse, everyone we come in contact with has an effect on us… thus, playing a role in the person we ultimately become and the choices we make.
If someone thanks you, it means you had an impact on them. So when choosing how to respond to “thank you”, it is important to choose words that will give them the closure or affirmation they need.
Think about the particular situation.
Decide whether it is personal or professional, formal or informal, and craft your reply from there using the tips outlined here.
And when in doubt… remember that “you’re welcome” works across the board.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization and product reviews.