Last Updated on May 13, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
What are the best ways how to respond to thank you? It’s always pleasant when someone thanks you for your work, your service, or a gift you gave—but responding to the gratitude can be tricky.
That’s what this guide is for: to arm you with suitable responses to “thank you,” no matter what you’re being thanked for.
Whether you’re being thanked in person or over text or email, or whether you’re being thanked for a gift or service, the appropriate response will be different.
For instance, responding with “No worries” may be suitable for when your friend thanks you, but not in a professional setting.
So let’s navigate this tricky territory of social etiquette with the correct responses to “Thank you” in different situations you can come across.
When someone says ‘thank you’ what do you say back?
Let’s start with the most common situation: when someone thanks you face-to-face. What are the best responses in this situation? Here are your go-to options:
#1: “You’re welcome.”
You can seldom go wrong with the quintessential response to “thank you.” It immediately conveys your warmth, and it relieves them of any sense of obligation to you.
In an instant, no one owes anyone anything, and you’re free to move on with the rest of the day.
“You’re welcome” belongs to a category of responses that psychologists call “expressing appreciation.” It’s popular in English-speaking countries, so it’s hard to go wrong with it.
When would “you’re welcome” be inadvisable? Perhaps that would include instances when someone thanks you for something you disliked doing or giving.
In such rare cases, giving a less warm, more neutral response would discourage them from taking advantage of you.
#2: “Thank you, too.”
This response is perfect for when your good deed happens after theirs. When they thank you for yours, saying “Thank you, too” will let them know that you’re happily returning a favor.
This is also good for when they thank you for something you enjoyed doing or giving. It sends the message that you’d gladly do it again for them.
#3: “It’s the least I can do.”
This is another good response when you return a favor to the one who thanked you. It gives the sense that you’re willing to do even more for them, given a chance. You’re that grateful for the favor they did for you.
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#4: “Think nothing of it.”
This statement is a common way to respond to “thank you,” although some would say it is inappropriate. To some people, a response like this would sound like you were downplaying their gratitude, and that’s not a nice feeling.
It may be best to reserve this and other “downplaying” replies for a friend or family member. The more familiar they are with you, the more likely they won’t mind it.
You may also consider using the more harmless variation of it:
#5: “Not at all.”
This one is less likely to be downplaying, and it’s easier to say. It’s also a good reply for someone who thanks you apologetically, as though they were being an inconvenience to you. “Not at all,” and instantly your relationship with them is warmer.
#6: “I’d do it again.”
Save this one for when doing the favor was a genuine pleasure for you, and you truly would do it again for them in a heartbeat.
They’ll likely take you up on the offer, and both your lives will be all the better for it.
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On the flip side, it’s best if you don’t say this if you don’t mean it. If they ask you for another favor, you’ll have made your life a bit more inconvenient for yourself.
#7: “It was an honor.”
This is a good response to use if the one thanking you is someone you greatly respect or hold in high esteem. They thank you, and you say: “It was an honor.” Their respect for you likewise goes up.
When in doubt, you can turn to these go-to responses. They work best for informal situations and in casual settings.
How to respond to a thank you text?
What if someone thanks you over text? Would the first three responses be appropriate? Yes, although you have more leeway because of the informal nature of texting.
Here are three additional options for responding to a thank you text message:
Short and sweet, this is a good way to say “you’re welcome” over text. It’s just four letters, indicating your willingness to do it again.
#9: “No problem,” or “No worries”
This is another popular way of saying “you’re welcome” over text, as it tells your chatmate they didn’t inconvenience you at all.
It also extends the invitation to ask you for another favor as, as you’ve said, it’s not a problem for you.
Some experts suggest it is a problematic way of responding to “thank you,” especially if the favor you did was a hassle for you.
To avoid the likelihood of having to do the same difficult task for the person again, simply avoid saying “No problem” if you don’t mean it.
#10: “No biggie.”
This one’s a more casual alternative to “No problem,” although it sends pretty much the same message. You’re saying your favor was not a big deal, and they’re welcome to it.
#11: “Don’t sweat it.”
This is a nice, informal way to respond to a thank you over text. It tells the other person that they shouldn’t spend any more time or effort showing their gratitude.
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While these are three good ways to say “you’re welcome” over text, there are probably hundreds of other variations and combinations you can use.
It’s hard to go wrong in such a casual setting.
How to respond to a thank you email?
Emails are a different story from texting, as they tend to be more formal. However, it’s used prevalently in professional settings, and you’ll likely get many thank you’s over email if you’re in the service industry.
So, how do you respond to a thank you email? Here’s how:
#12: Write a brief, pleasant response.
Your email reply shouldn’t be a long one—after all, there’s no need to start a conversation when you’re just responding to a “thank you.”
Keep it brief and make sure it ends on a pleasant note. Here’s a sample response:
“Hello, I’m glad you appreciate it. Let me know if I can be of help in any other way. Regards.”
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If it’s an informal email, then you can throw in a smiley emoji or two to make it feel even warmer.
Meanwhile, if it’s a formal email, you’ll want to make a few more considerations when writing your reply…
How to reply to a thank you email professionally
It’s easy enough to write an email (or an email response) professionally. Address the recipient appropriately, stick to the point, and avoid using slang words.
Your edge comes in the extra consideration you make when you receive thanks or praise that others deserve equally, if not more.
In such situations, consider replying to a professional thank you email in these ways:
#13: When you get thanked for someone else’s good work
The trick is to express appreciation for the gratitude but quickly point out the person(s) to whom most of the credit should go and then offer to pass the message to them. Here’s a sample email reply:
“Hello, I appreciate the kind words, but most of the credit should go to Susan, who did most leg work. I will pass your message along to her. Regards.”
Your reply is brief, pleasant, and professional, but it also shows your thoughtfulness. It makes the already wonderful situation even better for everyone concerned.
#14: When you get thanked alone for your team’s good work
When you’re the team lead (or if you’re just friendly with the boss), it’s not uncommon that you receive praise for a job well done.
This is likewise an excellent opportunity to build up your team’s cohesion and confidence with a reply like this:
“Hello, I appreciate the high praise. It was a team effort, and everyone worked hard, so I’ll let everyone know how pleased you are with their performance. Regards.”
In team situations, it’s extremely important that every member feels valued and appreciated. An email reply like this shows everyone who receives it you’re a true team player.
#15: When you get thanked for work that you feel wasn’t all that good
This one’s a sticky situation. You were tasked to work on a specific assignment, and while you pulled it off, you feel you did subpar work. Nonetheless, you receive a thank you email. How do you respond? Here’s a good way:
“Hello, thank you for the kind words. However, it is my opinion that I could have done a much better job. Rest assured, the performance will be even better moving forward. Regards.”
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This is a professional way how to respond to “thank you” for work you’re not exactly proud of.
Of course, it’s best not to dwell on this particular situation, but you’ll nonetheless want this tactic in your shortlist of formal replies.
How to reply to a thank you email from your boss
What if the thank you email came from the highest-up? Then you’ll need to bring the briefness and formality of your email reply up a notch.
So here are the best and safest ways to reply to a thank you email from your boss:
#16: “You’re very welcome.”
Simply write: “Hello (Boss), you’re very welcome. Do let me know if there’s anything else you need. Regards.”
It’s a simple, formal spin to the familiar “you’re welcome,” and it ends on a note that inspires a better working relationship with your grateful boss.
#17: “It’s my duty.”
This phrase is appropriate for when you get thanked for simply doing your job. Since it’s only professional to reply to every email you receive, you can write:
“Hello (Boss), while I was only doing my duty, your kind words are greatly appreciated. Regards.”
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Think of this as a more formal way to say, “It’s my pleasure.” Again: It’s brief, pleasant, and formal. It’s a golden formula that strengthens a business relationship every time.
#18: “Of course.”
You can use this reply when you receive praise for doing what your boss expected you to do from the beginning. They went out of their way to thank you, and so you return the favor with a reply like:
“Hello (Boss), of course—always happy to be of service to you. Regards.”
Avoid using slang words or being too familiar with your boss on email, as it’s inappropriate for formal situations.
Yours is a strictly business relationship, and unless your boss makes the first move to become friends with you, avoid crossing the line—it may mean trouble for your job, after all.
What to say when someone says thank you for a gift?
Now, let’s switch gears for a bit. What about gift-giving? What’s the appropriate thing(s) to say when you give someone a gift, and they thank you for it? Here are a few good go-to ways to respond:
#19: “Don’t mention it.”
Simple, right? You’re telling the recipient not to make a big deal about the gift, and then you go about the rest of your day together.
Understand that receiving gifts can be stressful to some people, as it gives them the feeling of owing the gift-giver in some way (This uneasy feeling is where the term “debt of gratitude” comes from.).
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Just in case the person you gave a gift to is like that, an answer like “Don’t mention it” will immediately relieve that stress, making them like you even more.
#20: “Sure thing.”
You’ll likely receive a big thank you when you give someone a gift that you know they’ve wanted for a while. To that, you can reply with a simple “Sure thing.”
You’re letting them know that you likewise have been wanting to give them the gift for a long time.
#21: “I hope you enjoy it.”
Now, let’s say you’re not sure what a person likes, but you decide to get them a gift that you think they’ll enjoy.
And so when you give it to them, and they thank you for it, this is a good way to say you’re welcome. “I hope you enjoy it.”
It’s a phrase that makes them visualize enjoying your gift, and so they’re more likely to do so and think fondly of you as a result.
When someone says thank you for a gift, a casual response is best, and these three examples are some of the simplest and easiest to internalize.
What to say when someone says thank you for your service?
This situation isn’t reserved for servicemen in the military and police. People may thank you for a professional or charitable service.
That means you’ll want to answer in a way that endears you to them and encourages future interactions.
If you’re looking for a good response when someone thanks you for your service, here are three:
#22: “Happy to help,” or “Glad to be of service.”
This, I think, is the most widely accepted alternative way of saying “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you for your work.
Telling them you’re glad to be of assistance lets them know you’re happy to do it again for them. And that’s an especially good sentiment to leave when you helped them in a professional capacity.
#23: “My pleasure.”
This is another good way to answer a “thank you” for a service you rendered. As you might expect, it’s best to use it when rendering it truly was a pleasure for you, as it encourages people to ask for it again in the future.
What if it wasn’t a pleasant experience for you? Then consider using this one:
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#24: “That’s okay.”
When someone thanks you for something you did, and you say: “That’s okay,” you send the undertone they’re no longer welcome to your assistance.
And that makes them less likely to ask you for help again—which, in many situations, can be a good thing.
When you offer services, professional or otherwise, you have a variety of ways to answer a “thank you” from your beneficiaries.
Best reply for thank you to a crush
Ooh, now we’re getting somewhere. What if the person who thanked you happens to be someone you secretly have feelings for? What’s the best way to answer that special person’s gratitude?
Naturally, you’ll want to respond in a way that makes them want to spend more time with you—perhaps ask more favors or return them, as well. In my estimation, the following three replies will make that happen:
Say this with a smile and a meaningful gaze. “Anytime.” They’ll get the idea.
Take note, though, that this is a double-edged sword. For example, if they realize you have feelings for them, but they don’t feel the same way, they might hesitate to spend any more time with you just to avoid awkwardness.
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On the other hand, they might feel flattered enough to return the sentiment—and that’s all we’re hoping for, right?
#26: “You’d do the same for me.”
This phrase is best used when your crush thanks you and briefly explains why they’re so grateful. Simply shrug and say, “Well, you’d do the same for me.”
This example discretely plants the idea that, yes, they would return your kindness without a second thought. And that just increases your chances of becoming more than just a friend to them.
This is a quietly emphatic response to a thank you from your crush. It has a similar effect as “Anytime,” as it gives them the message that you’d gladly help them out again.
And there you have it: three ways how to respond to “thank you” from a friend you have feelings for.
Making a Gracious, Quick Response
You’ve just learned the best ways how to respond to thank you, no matter what the situation might be. As you now know, you have a wealth of options, and the main challenge is to pick a good one at the right time.
Speaking of good options, I’d like to share with you a little skill to wrap this guide up with.
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It helps make your reply foolproof, with almost zero chance of downplaying their gratitude or otherwise making them feel bad.
I call the skill “gratitude highlighting.” As its name implies, you highlight their gratitude, bringing attention to it after you reply to their “thank you.”
The formula is simple: You take any one of the responses in this guide and then bring attention to what they’re thanking you for.
For instance, you can say:
- · “Don’t mention it—I’m glad I could help you out.”
- · “You’re welcome—you’re a great client, and I love working for you.”
- · “Think nothing of it—I hope it helps you out.”
- · “Sure thing—that’s what I do.”
- · “No problem—it was my pleasure to pitch in.”
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This is a safe way to respond to “thank you,” but it also strengthens your relationship. There’s next to no chance of downplaying their gratitude, and instead, you acknowledge it and show your appreciation.
Hopefully, with this skill and everything else you’ve learned in this guide, you’ll respond to “thank you” graciously and with finesse from now on. Good luck!