But off you went, wallet in hand and drink orders in mind, because what else could you do? Even the knowledge that you won’t be made whole on this deal if you stay for four more rounds wasn’t enough to make you breach round-buying protocol, however tyrannical it seemed to you in that moment. So here you are, flooded with anxiety, staring at the bartender, and grasping at the wisdom of Dr. Thaler, miles away in Chicago, presumably having a quiet beverage by himself.
But maybe instead of behavioral economics you should consult a more ancient wisdom. Scrap the two-dimensional, pragmatic approach, and come to terms with the issue on a deeper, philosophical level. We take encouragement from the fact that the sages are in universal agreement on this one. From the foothills of Tibet to the cafes of Paris, and pretty much everywhere in between, they view generosity not just as a good turn, but as nothing less than a cornerstone in the edifice of human morality and civilization. A quick sampling:
“Who will be the happiest person? The one who brings happiness to others.”—Swami Satchidananda
“For it is in giving that we receive.”—Francis of Assisi
“Generosity is a mark of bravery, so all Sioux boys were taught to be generous.”—Luther Standing Bear
Those should be a start, especially that last one: Bravery! You can be brave, bellying up to the bar like this, facing your penny-pinching demons, and buying drinks for all your friends (and even some semi-friends). You are also, according to some of history’s greatest thinkers, demonstrating your merit, helping more than you realize, and embodying pureness of heart by not expecting anything in return.
“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving,” said Albert Einstein.