The Pay-It-Forward Phenomenon

In recent years, the pay-it-forward phenomenon has become a “thing.” If you haven’t been part of this chain reaction, allow me to explain it and my thoughts on it.

Usually, it takes place in a drive-thru line. Once you place your order, you pull up, fully expecting to pay. However, lo and behold, your meal has already been taken care of. So, in some point in time, someone decided the correct thing to do would be to “pay it forward” right then and there. So, instead of paying for your own meal, you then pay for the person’s meal behind you, and the story continues.

In theory, this is all well and good. However, I truly do not care for the practice. If you know me in person, I enjoy paying for people’s drinks/meals randomly behind us in the drive-thru line. However, I never realized until I heard of this practice, that I may actually be placing a burden on them. I would never, ever want to do that.

You see, many people plan their meals very carefully financially. They should not feel pressured into paying for anything other than what they originally planned to pay for. Now, you may not think this is the case, but I have, unfortunately, witnessed someone trying to guilt someone into keeping this practice going. Not okay.

Additionally, we have pulled away from a grace-filled society. I have a hard time accepting compliments, which can impact my willingness to give them. Not because I don’t think your dress is cute and not because I don’t think you have a pretty smile. It’s because, for a while, it was not a part of my norm.

We should allow ourselves to accept compliments and accept a drink at Starbucks without feeling any amount of guilt. No guilt to pass it on. No guilt that someone might think we’re better. I think some of this guilt derived from a “participation trophy” society. It is not selfish to say thank you to something and move on without trying to level the playing field, so to speak.

I know this is a topic some of you may not agree with me on, and that’s ok. We’re allowed to be different. I’m in no way saying to never pay for a drink if yours has been paid for. I’m simply saying, don’t feel obligated to, and please never make someone feel obligated to. 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts, regardless of whether or not they agree with mine!

As always, thank you for reading!