Do or Do Not.


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At what point did the acceptably polite response to “thank you” change from “you’re welcome” to “yup?” Is that something recent? Did I miss the memo? Or is it a New England thing, maybe? I know it was never an issue for me until the last couple of years, but now it grates on my nerves something fierce.

I was raised in the South, and (warning! stereotype alert!) Southerners tend to pay perhaps an undue amount of attention to little politenesses and social niceties–even to people they don’t like. I had the Holy Trinity of Polite Social Interactions–please, thank you and you’re welcome–drilled into me from the time I could talk. [1] I hear the first two all the time, but rarely do I hear the third anymore. I get the “yup” constantly nowadays, even from people that are otherwise unfailingly polite (which is what makes me wonder if it’s not a regional peculiarity).

To me, “yup” is dimissive of the thanks I give. I’m sure it’s not intended that way, but that’s how it feels. “You’re welcome” says to me “I acknowledge and appreciate your thanking me for whatever it was I just did for you or to you,” while “yup” says to me only “I acknowledge your thanks.” I know that’s not consciously the message that “yup” sends, but that’s how I take it. And yeah, I acknowledge that the problem is likely entirely in my own head.

Mind you, I’ll still take “yup” over no response whatsoever to my thanks any time.

Can any of you out there who live in/are from other areas of the country/world shed some light on this issue for me? Thank you.

[1] I also had it beat into me to refer to my elders as “sir” and “ma’am,” as “Mr. <whoever>” and “Mrs. <whosit>”. As I creep closer and closer to my 35th birthday, I still can’t quite bring myself to call any of my friends’ parents by their first names. Or if I do manage it, I feel icky afterward.

Written by Allen

December 12th, 2005 at 11:41 pm

Posted in General

3 Responses to 'Yup.'

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  1. “You’re Welcome” has far too many syllables for Northerners. “Yup” is so much easier to say as you’re speeding away and moving on to your next errand for the day.



    15 Dec 05 at 12:08 pm

  2. Thought it might be something like that…Southerners tend to move at a more leisurly pace and don’t mind saying those extra two syllables. Hell, many Southerners would respond to a “thank you” by stopping and taking the time to have an entire conversation with you…whether they know you or not. :)


    15 Dec 05 at 12:21 pm

  3. When I first moved here from Canada, I thought New Englanders were extraordinarily rude. I assumed the difference was because Canadians are supposedly to be ridiculously polite. I’ve since come to think of NEers as more direct and efficient than really rude (but still, some of the small courtesies can go a long way around here).

    Joanne (redjo)

    15 Dec 05 at 1:44 pm

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