How Cheap Friends Ruin Everything
When entering a place of leisurely (or for me, competitive) alcohol consumption, I am often the first person in my group to make it to the bar. I find that task to be even more important than scanning the scene for drunk females or acknowledging the existence of friends. I like to put up a hand to stop any familiar face from getting too close or obstructing my path and say, "Must get drink. Kevin thirsty. Alcohol good." Once reaching the crowded bar, I often feel conflicted as to whether I should buy everyone else a drink. Over the years, I went from buying a round for all in my immediate group, to selectively picking and choosing. The problem is that half of those friends never followed suit. The cheap friends ruined it for everyone else.
I grew up in a Chinese household, which means that I saw my parents fight and argue with their friends to pay the bill, from my earliest memories to.... okay, I still watch my parents argue to pay the bill. Free food never gets tiring for me! I'm still their kid, so BACK OFF!!! These battles would last for dozens of minutes until someone threatened thinly-veiled physical violence in order to win the honor of paying. I've even seen these adults sneak off earlier in the meal to "use the bathroom," only to find out later that they snuck off to pay the bill, which would lead to a near riot amongst the other adults. This is how I grew up.
When I first turned 21, even with limited funds, if I wasn't buying a round of shots, I was hosting pre-parties and offering my alcohol to all my guests. My main purpose (even to this day) is making sure my friends have a good time and that EVERYONE gets drunk. If you've ever been out with me on travels, where I care about money even less, this goodwill extends to friendly strangers. Sadly, when I'm domestic, there are select people that take advantage of this generosity too much. You eventually start to notice the people that never buy a round back.
Think about the friends you have in your life who are always buying and bringing back shots to the group. It makes you want to buy shots immediately afterwards. These are also typically the people that everyone loves, not because they buy drinks, but because they are generous in spirit. Generosity breeds generosity. It's a great cycle to be in. Now, think about your friends that have NEVER said, "yo, I got you. I got this round" without any prompting. Those are the same friends who pretty much ruin it. I document these people loosely in "The 7 Friends You Must Have in Your Life" under "The Brings Nothing to the Table" friend.
It doesn't always have to do with buying drinks or shots at a bar, sometimes people just don't make that much money. I get it. It has to do with sleeping on the floor, so your buddy can hook up. It has to do with splitting that California Burrito, when your stomach wants it all. It has to deal with bringing alcohol to your friend's houses, so that everyone can have some and not just yourself. It has to do with washing out that condom so that your buddy can use it afterwards.
Maybe it's because I haven't been "traditionally" working for the past few years that I notice it more, but I am drawing a line in the sand when it comes to petty friends. They are starting to effect my generosity. I want to live and be around people who are generous and always giving. They aren't the ones rushing to claim a bed for the entire weekend in a place everyone just rented, or only worried about getting THEMSELVES home without a DUI, or sitting like a moron on a crowded bus as the elderly or women with children are left standing. They are the ones filled with empathy and consideration - not selfishness.
Pettiness breeds pettiness.
Next time you go out, take the initiative to buy a round. You'll realize that it comes back ten-fold. You may not get back what you spent, but you'll find the generous spirit to be more rewarding.
The Silicon Valley Bachelor