Replying "No problem" when someone asks a favor.

Like so many other people, I have a habit of automatically saying “No problem” when someone asks me for a favor. But during a one-day management course I attended a few month ago, the instructor told the attendees to break this habit. She said the response of “No problem” is negative, and implies you assume all requests are problems unless proven otherwise. Or something like that. Anyway, she went on for a good five minutes of why we need to banish the “No problem” response.


Yeah agree

Sounds like a bunch of managerial mumbo jumbo to me.

I don’t like it because it is usually some problem, and would like to convey that to them, that I AM doing them a favor, that is it not nothing for me to do so. I like ‘Yes I can do that for you’,or something along those lines. I feel the people who respond ‘no problem’ are the ones that get asked more often and also get the shitter stuff to do, after all that’s ‘no problem’ for them and shittier is relative, they must like it, or at least it’s neutral.

Over-analyzation at its finest. It has become synonymous with “you’re welcome.” If someone responds “no problem” to me, I don’t think “Gee, I guess everything else IS a problem, except this one thing they did.” That’s just ridiculous. I will respond “no problem” when it’s really not a problem/ it’s something I don’t mind doing, especially for a client. I will sometimes respond “you’re welcome” when something actually was a pain in the butt and I did mind doing it! Doesn’t management have a few real problems to solve rather than creating one to solve?


Management doesn’t want to deal with real problems. They’d rather be “proactive” and deal with potential problems. Actual problems exist because the solution requires making an unpopular decision or talking actions that could be considered as “career limiting”.

My tactic is to answer with an enthusiastic but ambigious response when I’m asked to do something.

A: “Hey, sometime today can go get that huge box and move it over here?”

Me: “That’s fantastic!”

A: “Uhhhh… so can you do it?”

Me: “You da man!”

“No problem” simply means, “I foresee no difficulty in fulfilling your request.” I think the instructor is making an assumption that has no actual facts to back it up.

Whenever I stomp on someone’s bare foot with a spiked climbing boot or spill hot coffee on their newborn baby, I smile and shout “CONGRATULATIONS!”

It’s just a saying like “how’s it going”. When I pass someone in the hall at work and say “hey, how’s it going” I’m not really wanting to stop and discuss our lives. It just means “hello”. “No problem” just means “you’re welcome” or “I can do that”.

“My pleasure” gets a lot more mileage than “no problem” or even worse, “no worries.”

Interestingly, I’ve read the reverse about Japanese. IME n00bs are taught that the response to being thanked is “どういたしまして” (dōitashimashite, “you’re welcome.”) I’ve read it’s actually more polite to say “いえいえ” ( iie iie, “no no” or “it’s nothing.”) supposedly it’s because saying “you’re welcome” indicates you deserve or demand praise for the favor.

A few years ago, I was forced to go to ‘positive language’ training . It was utter bullshit. Now that I’m no longer on the phones, I make sure I use it all the time. Thankfully, my current department doesn’t deal with customers so we’re spared all this nonsense.

I was actually asked a question about this once in a job interview. I didn’t get the job and I am convinced it’s because I did not answer his question in the way he wanted me to about using this expression.


Some requests genuinely are potential problems. Some aren’t.

Exactly. If I answer “no problem, “ that’s probably the most positive answer you can get from me in regards to a request/favor. Most favors do have a level of inconvenience to them. “My pleasure” sounds like complete bullshit coming from my mouth. I just don’t talk like that. A simple “yes” or “okay” means that it will be a slight inconvenience, but, hey, that’s the nature of the beast, and I’m willing to do your request. “Let me think about it” means it’s going to be more of a pain in the ass, and I really don’t want to or have the time to do this, but I may if I like you enough.

There’s also some variation of “I’ll try,” if I’m willing to do the favor but suspect I might not be able to, due to lack of resources, lack of knowledge, or some foreseen or unforeseen obstacle.

And there’s also “I’m kind of busy right now, but I’ll get to it as soon as I can.”

I would have said instructor mumbo jumbo. You have somebody whose job is to teach business people. They don’t have anything real to say. But they don’t get paid if they don’t say something.

What the OP describes sounds like the kind of empty nonsense somebody made up to fill up five minutes of class time.

Or that, either way.