Overview:

It's goofy and inappropriate for guests on podcasts and TV and radio shows to tell their host, 'Thanks for having me.'

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We all aspire to be precise speakers, so we must all agree to detest most uses of the sentence, “Thanks for having me.”

There are many proper responses when someone thanks us for showing up to something. “Thanks for having me” is seldom one of them.

Imagine I appear on the set of a podcast or a TV show or a radio show. I am there to be interviewed. The host says to me, “Thank you for coming.” Here are seven suitable things I might say:

  • You’re welcome
  • You’re very welcome
  • You bet
  • My pleasure
  • My delight
  • Of course
  • Don’t mention it

At some point, everyone has supplanted these perfect phrases with one response only. Every day, podcast hosts, TV hosts, and NPR hosts say to guests “Thank you for coming.” And the guests say every single time, “Thanks for having me.”

Stop.

“Thanks for having me” suggests that gratitude is equal between the parties. It is not. Podcast hosts and TV hosts and radio hosts absolutely need guests and must be grateful for guests appearing on their shows. Guests, on the other hand, do not absolutely need podcast or TV or NPR hosts. Guests actually go to some trouble to show up or call in, and they deserve to receive thanks without having to offer thanks in return.

Imagine some other goofy uses of “Thanks for having me” where gratitude is not equal between two parties:

A car-crash patient says to his ER surgeon, “Thank you doctor for performing life-saving surgery on me.”  And the doctor responds: “Thanks for having me perform life-saving surgery on you.”

A customer says to her bank teller “Thanks for the cash.” And the teller rejoins: “Thanks for having me count out your cash.”

A girl says to her mom, “Thanks for the compliment on my blouse.” And the mom says: “Thanks for having me tell you how much I like your blouse.”

A man says to a discreet co-worker, “Thanks for not telling the boss I played hooky yesterday.” And the co-worker replies: “Thanks for having me not tell the boss you played hooky yesterday.”

Go back and insert appropriate responses to all these:

Patient: “Thank you, doctor.” Doctor: “You’re welcome.”

Customer: “Thanks for the cash.” Bank teller: “Of course.”

Daughter: “Thanks for the compliment, mom.” Mom: “Sure, sweetie.”

Coworker 1: “Thanks for not telling the boss.”  Coworker 2: “Don’t mention it.”

The only person who may lawfully utter the words “Thanks for having me” is a departing house guest. And the owner of the house may respond with any of the seven listed phrases given above. “You’re very welcome” would appear to be the most suitable at such a moment. Though (if romance is afoot) “My pleasure” may be more exact.

J. H. McKenna (Ph.D.) has taught the history of atheism and other classes since 1999 at the University of California, where he has won teaching awards. He has published in academic journals and the LA...