An Australian woman living in America sparked an interesting conversation on TikTok after sharing just some of the things that irk her as a foreigner living in the US. Among them? The manners.
Specifically, @tilly_hokianga just can’t get over how a person can say “thank you” to someone else in conversation, but an American will often just reply with a simple, “uh-hmm,” instead of “you’re welcome” or even “no worries.”
The video first went viral late last year and included various other points of contention, like why Americans dump so much sugar into everything and why they seem to have no concept of geography outside of the US.
But soon after, another TikToker decided to respond to the video and focus on that whole “you’re welcome” thing, which really got people talking.
The reply came from a user named Millie (@rosegoldmillie), who offers a different perspective as an American who spent time in Australia and takes time to break down the thought process behind the whole thing.
“It was the hardest thing to shake when I spent time in Australia, and someone would say, ‘thank you,’ and I would say, ‘Yep! Oh — uh, I mean, ‘you’re welcome!'” Millie recalled. “Because to me, it’s kind of rude — like, it’s not rude, but saying ‘yep’ and ‘sure’ is the equivalent of saying ‘no problem,’ and that is more polite in America than saying ‘you’re welcome.'”
Millie admitted that there is a divide on this between younger and older Americans — while the older ones still tend to say, “you’re welcome,” younger ones do often go the “yep” route. But it’s not meant to be rude or dismissive. If anything, it’s intended to do the exact opposite.
“When you say ‘you’re welcome,’ there’s an implication in our brains that says, ‘I did you a favor, and I deserve a thank you,'” Mille explained. “But when we say, ‘uh-hmm,’ or like, ‘sure’ … it’s the implication of, ‘Of course I would do that for you. I don’t deserve a thank you, like, it’s the least I could do.'”
Put that way, it sure does seem to make a whole lot of sense.
“This is exactly it,” one person wrote in the comments. “It feels so rude to say you’re welcome. The only time I’ve ever said that I was being passive aggressive lol.”
“to me ‘You’re welcome’ is similar to saying ‘you should be’ after someone says they’re sorry,” another person added.
“It’s like when someone in a store apologizes for being in your way, we say ‘oh you’re fine’ or ‘you’re good’ bc it’s not an actual issue,” someone else said.
Other commenters said that saying “You’re welcome” in this scenario often feels “entitled” and even “condescending.” Many were also surprised to learn that the alternative responses could come off as rude to other cultures.
In the end, most TikTokers thanked Millie for articulating the differences so well and for trying to redeem younger Americans.
“EXACTLYYYY,” wrote one user. “You hit the nail right on the head! When I saw the original video I was shocked by the attitude! Our cultures are just different!”
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