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Conversation after B saved A, A bought some drinks

A: それじゃ、助けてもらった礼にならない

well, this is totally not gratitude for saving me (= i will do more to thank you?)

B: べつに、お礼して欲しくて、助けた訳じゃないし。

it's not like I want to you show gratitude, i didn't really save you

a long while later after A and B part ways, A reflects on the entire experience. A did not do anything special for B in particular while they were together, they just talked about their interests.

ちっともお礼にならなかったが、数年ぶりに女の子と話せて俺も色々と勉強になった。

(My interaction with B/her) did not show gratitude at all, but ...

I am confused because normally you would want to show 礼 after being saved,but the speaker is "denying 礼" , so that this my roundabout interpretation but it is probably incorrect.

After reading these:

よく色々と億劫にならないな。- It's amazing how he doesn't get annoyed at all that

提出に遅れた場合は減点にならない - In the event (case) of a late submission there will not be a point deduction.

I feel like i don't have a grasp of the distinction between ~にならない as the negative of ~になる and the ~にならない used in things like 話にならない, 洒落にならない, 問題にならない.

So when i read 礼にならない, i am not sure what is actually being implied until i read B's reply.

Even then, "助けてもらった礼にならない" and "ちっともお礼にならなかったが" still feels very awkward for me.

Thank you for any clarifications

2

Although 礼 means “gratitude”, it can also mean something concrete expressing this gratitude, e.g. a word of thanks, a favor, or even some reward (monetary or otherwise).

それじゃ、助けてもらった礼にならない。

Just this [drink] is not nearly enough to thank you for saving me.

B: べつに、お礼して欲しくて、助けた訳じゃないし。

No big deal, it’s not like I helped you expecting something in return

Here, 訳 means “reason”.

In general, Xにならない can be used to express that X does not reach the desired level or is impossible,

e.g.

話にならない - useless to talk about, out of question

勝負にならない - no match

However, in the linked questions it seems to be used in the more literal sense of “does not become/happen”, so you need to be careful and consider context (as always).

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