Woman Takes Aim At “Venmo Me” Culture Among Friends In Viral TikTok

Woman Takes Aim At “Venmo Me” Culture Among Friends In Viral TikTok

How often have you picked up a coffee for your co-worker or grabbed a burrito for your bestie without a care in the world about them paying you back — only to have 10 bucks show up in your Venmo later that day? And, sure, a punctual payback is nice. But is Venmo making friendships a little too transactional? One TikToker thinks so, and judging by the comments on her video, she’s found a community of people with the same suspicion.

“I find the constant Venmo-ing each other over little things culture to be a little dystopian,” starts Chelsea Fagan (@faganchelsea), a financial expert. “It’s obviously nice that we have a more efficient way of splitting costs when we go out in a group, but I hate the fact that it’s turned us into little mini-accountants for all of our relationships. And it kind of erased the concept of just wanting to treat each other.”

She cites a few examples before adding, “To me, the whole point of a close relationship is that you’re not having to constantly keep score with who owes what, and you genuinely get joy out of treating each other. But maybe that’s just my unpopular opinion.”

Granted, accountability is important. We’ve all had that one friend who took more than they gave and maybe isn’t our friend anymore because of it. Several commenters nodded to the fact that they don’t ever want to be that person, hence sending unprompted Venmo paybacks.

“I always OFFER to Venmo because I never want to assume, it’s expensive, or maybe my friend is a little low on finances that week. But it’s never a hard and fast rule for us; we like to treat each other!” wrote @januarysember.

“If it’s a coffee or a small meal, absolutely just get me next time. But if it’s $20+, I’ll do my personal best to pay back ASAP,” said @Jennifer.

Others pointed out that in this sh*t economy, you sometimes don’t have any other choice than to be the one asking for the payback Venmos.

Explained @idohottubs, “Living paycheck to paycheck, paying off debt, and saving large amounts makes every transaction part of an equation. I need my money replaced🤷‍♀️”

The majority of commenters seem to agree with Fagan, though.

“My mom always said, ‘Real friends don’t keep score,’” said @malalauren.

“I’m a ‘get my stuff next time’ girlie surrounded by ‘Venmo me’ girlies. I’m going broke is what I’m saying,” wrote Haley, which is hilariously relatable.

“If I buy you something, it’s a gift. I have zero expectation for anything in return. Ever,” insisted @legallyalexis.

And one commenter pointed out that the Venmo effect is certainly being felt in the mom world, saying, “Parents ask to Venmo for the snacks or pizza their kids have at my house for play dates. Like, does hospitality not exist anymore?”

There’s no denying that Venmo has certainly made splitting dinner costs with friends or housing expenses with roommates easier. But, looking at it from the perspective of Fagan and her new internet friends, is Venmo ruining our ability to just do something nice for someone?

You weren’t expecting a payback and were simply trying to do something kind. Now you have money in your Venmo account. Do you still get brownie points from your co-worker? Plus, coffee was only $6; they sent you $10. What are you supposed to do with the extra $4?

Also, is the Venmo-me-right-back culture making it harder for those who, you know, can’t? That surprise coffee came at the perfect time… because you couldn’t afford to buy one yourself. Now that sending money has become easier and faster than ever, “pay me back whenever” seems more immediate than it used to. That’s pretty f*cking stressful for some of us.

So, is there a wrong or right way to Venmo or shift money between friends? It seems it boils down to the friends and the friendship. While it’s hard to talk about your own financial struggles, it never hurts to have an open, honest conversation with your friends about how each of you looks at the little treats you share.

And if it seems like you’re always the one footing the bill, well, the problem probably isn’t with Venmo — it’s with the people doing (or not doing) the Venmo-ing.

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