“No worries” vs. “Forget about it”

One of the West coast sayings I will forever cherish is “No worries” in response to having to change plans, reacting to things going awry or even to extending a polite gesture.  It is a simple, two word statement that immediately implies another favorite saying that often follows, “It’s all good”, meaning that it will work out fine, don’t trouble yourself with worry, enjoy the moment.

When I first heard these sayings over a decade ago, having moved to Seattle from the East Coast, I initially thought that maybe there was a secret hippie convergence I just happened upon.

But then, over the years, I’ve come to realize these sayings might have originated here in the 60’s, but because they have such appropriate meaning to everyday life circumstances, they have integrated into the verbal culture.

Now, having come from the East coast, the only corresponding phrase for ‘no worries’ would be ‘Forget about it’, or with an accent, “Fahget abowt it’.

I’ve argued this with my former Eastcoasters, but ‘Forget about it’ definitely does not imply ‘no worries’.  There is an underlying resentment and/or entitlement to the person saying ‘forget about it’ in response to your actions.

For example,  you might have screwed up an appointment and either missed it or are running late.  The circumstances might have been beyond your control, but the Eastcoaster will say ‘forget about it’, subtext being, ‘you’re an idiot’.

Or, you offer a person compliments or a gratuity for their service.  ‘Forget about it’ translates into, ‘Hey, you’ll owe me next time’.

‘No worries’, on the other hand is non-judgemental.  Subtext is, ‘Hey, some things are just beyond our control, let it go’.  The subtext can also be, ‘It’s been my pleasure, no need for a tip’.  Aaah, I can breathe into that relaxed mindset.

I owe a lot to my own personality and character to having been raised on the East Coast, but I’ll take these simple statements as reminders of why I moved out West in the first place, it’s definitely allowed me to ‘let go’ a lot easier.  And with that, of course, ‘It’s all good’.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rjonm
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 20:42:55

    As a native New Yorker, I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I see a “Wag More, Bark Less” sticker (a definite West Coast phenomenon), there’s a cynic inside that wants to take a sharpie, cross out “Wag” and write in “Bite.” I consider that my own psychic continental divide…

  2. reikitrainingprogram
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 07:04:47

    Love the phrase ‘psychic continental divide’!!! You should see what one of my colleagues posted on FB, has to do with the possible European origins of the phrase ‘Forget about it’, interesting perspective.

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