We live in a world that somehow has forgotten how to say “you’re welcome.” Try this: listen to or watch an interview on radio or television, or a podcast, and at its end the interviewer will usually say “thank you.” Notice how often the interviewee says “thank you” in return, rather than “you’re welcome.” It’s odd, from my perspective, to say the least. “Thank you” means that you’ve given me something I needed or wanted. In this example the interviewer has been given something by the interviewee, not the other way around. I realize that the interviewee may have gotten something in return (a payment, publicity for his/her book…) but isn’t “you’re welcome” more appropriate to say than “thank you”?
When I say “you’re welcome” what I’m telling you is that what I gave, I gave gladly. That the process of giving was a gift to me also. “You’re welcome” signifies that there’s no need to return anything, no need to reciprocate. I’m telling this person that I was happy to do the service or give the goods, and did so willingly, freely, without expectation of return. In other words, “you’re welcome” is a way of saying “this is about relationship, not transaction. I give because I want to give, and I want to give to YOU.”
One cannot say “you’re welcome” sincerely without giving freely. One’s giving must reflect unconditional caring about the person who is receiving. Any other circumstance, any other motivation, means that “you’re welcome” isn’t appropriate. Yes, we say “you’re welcome” at the end of most transactions, but the “you’re welcome” isn’t saying that the transaction itself was unwarranted, but rather that I entered into the transaction with only one intention: a fair exchange done as well as I could.
When you’re in a relationship, of whatever kind, in which you are expected to perform any action that is a service to another person, do it in the spirit of “you’re welcome.” Even if you are going to be compensated for the action, still, do it with the intention to give and give completely. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how pleasant the action becomes, however unpleasant you might have perceived it previously! And the receiver of your action will experience your act as one of caring, will feel that caring, and will experience that most precious of human feelings, gratitude. By performing your acts with the intention of “you’re welcome” you are creating wellsprings of gratitude in the world, wellsprings that evolve into the spirit of “you’re welcome” in the actions of another. Try it; you’ll like it!!