Linguistic research tracks patterns in how thanks is articulated.
“You’re welcome” doesn't always come across as polite anymore.
You’re welcome’s positive politeness orientation can make it seem snarky or braggy.
The alternative phrase "No problem" reflects the fact that offsetting a sense of imposition or obligation is now a cultural norm.
When looking at the pattern of how we respond to thanking over the past 50 years, there are two things that are striking. One is the rise of the phrase “no problem” as a popular alternative to “you’re welcome,” and the second is the fact that, despite the feeling that “you’re welcome” is fading fast from our lips, there is not overwhelming evidence that this is true.
Studies still show it as the most popular response to “thank you” for Americans .
this doesn’t mean that it will lose its old meaning as a genuinely polite phrase.
“You’re welcome” was the most likely response when responding to more elaborate thanks (e.g., thank you so very much vs. thanks). But to a more casual “thanks,” “you’re welcome” might come across as snarky while “no problem” doesn’t have, well, the same problem.
So, yes, there might be some sarcasm behind the “you’re welcome,” but don’t lose hope - there is often still a lot of gratitude too.
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