Is it just me? Or is 'no worries' an utterly infuriating phrase?

Is it just me? Or is 'no worries' an utterly infuriating phrase?

March 13, 2022

Is it just me? Or is ‘no worries’ an utterly infuriating phrase? asks LIZ HOGGARD

  • American university students feel undermined by the phrase ‘no worries’
  • Liz Hoggard admits to being hopeful that the flippant phrase will be banned
  • UK-based writer says worrying keeps us alive and is a mark of being human 

‘I think you’ve delivered my parcel to the wrong address,’ I tell the delivery man. ‘No worries,’ he drawls, as if he’s doing me a massive favour.

How much do I loathe that phrase ‘No worries’? It’s up there with ‘at the end of the day’ and ‘it is what it is’.

But there is hope. ‘No worries’ is in danger of being banned. According to a leading American university, young people feel undermined if they pour out their feelings and are greeted with such a flippant phrase.

Liz Hoggard admits to being hopeful that the phrase ‘no worries’ will be banned (file image)

‘If I am upset, I want to discuss being upset,’ one contributor told Lake Superior State University in Michigan, which releases a banished-words list every year (no worries is in the top three, with ‘asking for a friend’ and ‘circle back’).

British commentators declared it just another example of thin-skinned, hyper-vigilant wokesters taking everything too seriously. Couldn’t the snowflakes just, you know, cheer up? But actually, speaking as a middle-aged woman (older and better insured, to paraphrase Kathy Bates in the film Fried Green Tomatoes), I’m with the youth.

I need people to worry more. It drives me mad in restaurants when you point out a fairly obvious failing —‘Sorry, but this soup is cold’ or ‘I don’t have a fork’ — and the waiter looks at you condescendingly and says: ‘No worries.’ I have to stop myself from shouting: ‘Actually, please do worry.’

A simple apology is fine, but not this lazy pantomime where staff imply they have monitored the situation and deemed it unworthy of a fuss. I want a fuss. After a global pandemic, we’re tired and sad and burned out. But worrying is what keeps us alive. It’s a mark of being human. It implies: ‘I see you and I can help.’

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