About a month ago I nearly knocked down a woman in a coffee shop. We both had hands loaded with drinks and were trying to squeeze past the counter. I originally didn’t see her until my purse nearly launched her caramel macchiato into space as she tottered back and forth, fighting for her balance.
“I’m so sorry,” I apologized.
“No worries,” she smiled in reply. I hadn’t created a disaster … no harm was done … she was gracious.
Not many days after that, this time in a grocery store, the checker apologized to the man in front of me for taking so long to get to him. She had messed up the order in front of us, causing her line to back up.
“No worries,” he replied.
No worries. What a great response. It seems so much richer than, “No problem” or “It’s okay.” It goes deeper, implies that the other person isn’t going to hold a grudge against you. More than a phrase, it feels like an attitude, which appeals to the country girl resident in me.
I think we need a little bit more of this heart-felt, deep-reaching release of one another when we make mistakes. Maybe it’s just me, but all too often, it seems we’re just the opposite; almost to an epidemic proportion. When people irritate one another or disagree, our grace meter comes up short fused. We’ve all seen/heard it – people offering a one finger salute to someone who cuts them off on a road way … a tirade for the waitress who forgets part of an order … an evil glare at the customer who takes half of eternity to make up his mind. And don’t even let me even start on what I sometimes hear teens say about people who annoy them.
Certain that “no worries” is not an American saying, I asked my friend from Canada if she knew its origin. “Not Canadian,” that she knew of. “Maybe British?” she suggested. Or maybe Disney? I thought. (Hakuna Matata from the Lion King)
Turns out that most who study such things point to Australia in the 1960’s. In the following decades, the phrase became synonymous with the friendly, Australian optimism that often characterizes the country. You’re probably thinking, “Of course!” as you recall Steve Irwin’s voice calling out, “No worries, Mate.”
So how ’bout you? I’m sure we could blow up my website with words that set us off, but what about a time that the right words brought sunshine in gloom? I would love to hear the stories!