I think this has been discussed before, but here are my reflections because I felt a need to express them. In Sweden, the most common reply to ”thank you” (’tack’) these days seems to be literally ”no danger” (’ingen fara’), as in ”you are not in any danger”. This annoys me. ”Thank you” does not mean ”don’t hurt me” or ”I’m afraid of you” or ”you are the master and I am your slave”. No, it means ”I appreciate that you did me a small favor” (depending on the situation of course).
When dealing with young people (I’m middle aged), say a person who works at a store, I have sometimes even got a lightly terrified stare when I say ”thank you”, together with the ”Oh, you are not in danger!” (’ingen fara’) response. Young people: I know that. You don’t have to tell me that there is no danger. I know that. I am being polite. That does not mean that I’m afraid of you. These are two different things.
Recently I was at the store, and the young cashier did not know the price of some vegetable I was buyng. ”Do you know the price per kilo?” she asked me. I said, ”No, but I can go and check if you wish.” (The price tag was only a few meters from where I stood.) For a moment she stared at me as if I was a psychopath, then hastily she said: ”No, that’s not necessary!” and turned around, seemingly upset, to her colleague. As if I had said or implied something hostile. But I did not, I politely asked her if wanted me to check the price per kilo, but her reaction to that polite proposal gave me the impression that she did not know how to respond to such a question.
I would like to point out that I am not a frightening person; to the best of my knowledge I am regarded as a nice fellow in everyday dealings, and I almost always express myself politely when dealing with strangers.
Yesterday a young man asked a question in a Facebook group I sometimes check in on, regarding how to express numbers in prose. I said that there is an old editorial rule that says so-and-so, and gave a source to it. He said something like, ”OK, but I prefer to do so-and-so”. I said, of course everyone is free to express it how ever they want, but since you asked ”how one does” I thought I’d share my knowledge on the subject.
Then came the weirdest response: The young man sincerely apologized for having expressed a different view, saying that he didn’t mean any disrespect.
What the fuck?! Since when is having different opinions on trivial matters somthing that demands apologies?
These are of course only a couple of recent examples, but it seems to me that the most basic rules for social interactions that as far as I know goes back hundreds if not thousands of years are simply evaporating, or am I going mad (old)? Or is it Sweden only?