• Kaye Curren

Please Do Not Say No Worries

Pet Peeve #3 “No Worries”

Wikipedia says:

No worries is an expression seen in Australian, British and New Zealand English meaning "do not worry about that", "that's all right", or "sure thing". It is similar to the American English no problem. The phrase is widely used in Australian speech and represents a feeling of friendliness, good humour, optimism and "mateship" in Australian culture. The phrase has been referred to as the national motto of Australia.

It doesn’t feel friendly to me at all. I absolutely hate it. Every time someone says it, I want to hit something. I believe it insinuates that I am a worrier when I AM NOT. And it feels condescending, especially coming from the executive secretary I had to work under for better than a year before she blessedly moved on. Every time she said, “no worries,” I felt a patronizing sense of inferiority. Somehow I suddenly did not measure up.

I am not alone. Others have experienced the same annoyance at the phrase. John Blumenthal on Huffington Post Blog says:

“No worries.” We used to say good old American expressions like “no problem,” or “no sweat”, but now we’ve adopted this dumb Aussie phrase probably because most Americans think Australia is in Europe. So saying “no worries” instead of “no sweat” makes them feel sophisticated, smart and worldly. The problem is, there is something distinctly worrisome about people who like to think they’re smart, sophisticated and worldly because they use an Australian phrase that they think originated in Europe."

Maddie Crum in Huffington Post also has an opinion in her article “22 Common Phrases We All Secretly Hate,” says:

“No Worries. This is fine when said to someone who had sincere worries, but is often used passive aggressively, as in: ‘I’m going to be a little late.’ ‘No worries!’ Wait, should I have been worried?”

On the website, Big List of Small Annoyances, the unidentified author sums it up beautifully:

“There are a multitude of definitions on Urban Dictionary for one of the most annoying two-word combinations in existence and they all mean virtually the same thing. But, the one closest to how I feel about the phrase “no worries”…. Why are you assuming I’m worried?”

Yes! I say.

One of my favorite comment on the “Annoyances” site is from David July 9, 2014 at 11:54 am:

“Oh wow! I am relieved to know that I am not alone in being filled with rage when these pretentious psuedo intellectuals suffering from an identity crisis slap that little nugget my way. I like to say oh, you’re from Australia and watch them stumble to respond.”

Right on, David.


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