Recently here at the Motherhood Center we have made a staunch effort to erase the term “no problem” from our vocabulary. What started out as as a funny struggle including a “no problem” slip up jar; became a reflection on language, the things we mindlessly say, and how our words make others feel.
“No problem” has always been a bother to me. When people say it to me and when it is overheard being said to others, it makes me feel uncomfortable. Whether the speaker knows it or not, the phrase makes the recipient feel that there is a problem where none should exist. I then noticed that not only were staff members in stores, restaurants, and other businesses using the phrase, but the entire staff at MHC was as well.
So we began our journey and have all reflected on the use of many everyday sayings and responses. We’ve replaced “no problem” with something relevant and meaningful, pointed and chosen, not just a default ( like my pleasure, happy to help,…). When we used it on accident, we’d add 25 cents to the “no problem” jar. It has made us that much more aware of embracing presence, the gift of being able to help others, and communicating in a way that ensures we are understood, and that helps others to feel rightly treasured.
Plus, funnily enough, when we finally got our speech patterns under control, we had a new staff member join us. She had not known that we had trained ourselves to say other things and her “no problem” was standing out much more than it would have prior to the change. She quickly caught on though, and after a few dollars in the jar, she is on track with the rest of us!
Maybe our experience can be an inspiration to you, and help you experiment with new language that is more thoughtful and loving. It will serve you and those you converse with every time you meet!