‘I Rented a Friend to See If I Could Cure My Loneliness’ (article)

Dec 2, 2017
3,919
#1
Kay and I agree on everything: how fit Jake Gyllenhaal is, how soothing Liverpudlian accents are, how we are obviously not going to give the museum a voluntary donation. Being with her is easy, like sinking into a bubble bath or stealing a boy's well-worn Reebok jumper after a night out. It's easy to forget that Kay is actually getting paid to be here – £20-an-hour, just to pretend she cares about me. She's very good at it.
I found Kay on rentafriend.com, a website where, for a $24.95 (£19.25) monthly fee, you can pick someone to hangout with from a database of 621,585 people. The site was set up in 2009 after CEO Scott Rosenbaum found himself wondering why there were so many dating websites, but none for platonic relationships.
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/59x9g5/i-rented-a-friend-to-see-if-i-could-cure-my-loneliness


The entire article is quite interesting, but I really don’t like the idea of it. Mainly cos as the author points out, as much as they might profess to like you, the whole thing would essentially feel artificial and hollow. Think I’d end up feeling even more lonely honestly.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,930
UK
#3
This reminds me of the rent-a-sister thing they do in Japan to help antisocial blokes leave their rooms.

It’s a good idea, assuming there’s sufficient support in place to help the truely lonely find natural friendships and social groups.

I can imagine that some might perceive this sort of service as leeching off emotionally vulnerable folk.
 
Oct 29, 2017
320
Germany
#8
I guess it would be nice as long as those people are around but once they leave and you start sitting around alone again you will probably feel really bad with the only thing to look forward to is paying again.

Idk, it seems good but im not sure if it actually helps all that much.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,131
#9
I found Kay on rentafriend.com, a website where, for a $24.95 (£19.25) monthly fee, you can pick someone to hangout with from a database of 621,585 people. The site was set up in 2009 after CEO Scott Rosenbaum found himself wondering why there were so many dating websites, but none for platonic relationships.
I think he's kind of missing the point here? Paying to be with someone is usually not called "dating".
Of course I would think that "escort services" are more emotionally hollow as these people don't actually want to be with you.
 
Oct 25, 2017
66
Berkeley, CA
#10
After encountering several "friends" in life that only hung around to mooch money/food/entertainment, and were pretty hostile about it, I find no fault in someone being paid to hang out with you and at least pretend to enjoy the company. Maybe it seems sad but at least it's up front about what it is.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,192
#11
Paying a monthly fee for friendship...

I mean, if you think about it if you buy each other dinner and what not you're already paying a monthly fee right? Indirectly but if they act the same as a real friend would do its better than not having anyone at all.
 

yepyepyep

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
555
#12
I mean, if you think about it if you buy each other dinner and what not you're already paying a monthly fee right? Indirectly but if they act the same as a real friend would do its better than not having anyone at all.
I wouldn't put paying monthly for each person's dinner in my definition of friendship lol. It's also ignoring the fact that once you stop paying them they are not going to see you.
 
Oct 30, 2017
13,674
DFW, Texas
#13
So long as everyone involved is a consenting adult and nothing illegal is taking place then I could really care less what people spend their money on.


Also if this helps people then that is a bonus.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,835
#16
It would be great for lonely old people, for free.
It could become weird real fast though, for some people. I've seen friends fall in love with strippers thinking they got personal attention, lol.
One of the inevitable questions will be: "would you get along with me without the money?" "Sure". "So we can be just friends now?" "Ehhh, no".

But hey, could work for some.
 
Dec 21, 2018
226
#23
I was horrified by the title but 25 bux a month + hour fee is pretty cheap to have some one to talk to. Sometimes you just need to get something out of the chest. Human are social animal.


It's like baby therapy.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,585
The Ocean
#24
Paying a monthly fee for friendship...

For some people loneliness is a real problem that has a large impact on mental health. Often it comes from sources such as medical issues, or being discriminated against in some way. If this helps people cope and exist in the world I’m all for that.

Hardly worthy of a pithy meme.
 
Dec 10, 2017
1,496
#27
I was horrified by the title but 25 bux a month + hour fee is pretty cheap to have some one to talk to. Sometimes you just need to get something out of the chest. Human are social animal.

It's like baby therapy.
The hourly fee is also $25 which is far from cheap.
 
Dec 21, 2018
226
#28
The hourly fee is also $25 which is far from cheap.
Like I say, therapy but cheap.

I think you just need to go thru a few "sessions" and then you will figure out how to do it for free on reddit or whatever. It's like practicing human interaction with no pressure.
 
Oct 26, 2017
330
#30
I would like to offer my “friendship”, about time to get paid for behaving friendly! Didn’t know they had such services for Europeans. Always thought was more of a Japanese society niche.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,888
#42
Yeah no shit escorts are emotionally unfulfilling. She should try a strip club next and marvel at how she quickly she somehow connects with all the workers
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,045
#44
Paying a monthly fee for friendship...
The monthly fee is just for access to the mail-order friend catalogue. Your friendlitute charges by the hour.

"RentAFriend.com membership is only $24.95 and you can then contact any of the Friends directly, saving time and money. Best of all, many friends charge as little as $10 an hour and a lot of the Friends are looking to make a long term friendship as well as willing to waive their fees depending on the activity. "

This has such a capitalist dystopia vibe, it's making me miss the good ol' days when it seemed like we would just be hunting each other for sport.

I know right, lonely, depressed people looking for non-medical solutions for their borderline suicidal thoughts and feelings... ewww!! so cringe!!
This is more about opportunistic assholes trying to make money off the backs of those lonely, depressed people. It's not just "cringe," it's fucking grotesque.
It's also not a solution, at absolute best it's a stopgap with a real chance of worsening those issues in the long run.
 

Aztechnology

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,545
#45
I'll rent someone to play videogames with me
What kind of games are we talking about?

Also I'm not even ashamed to admit it. I streamed video games at my low point, to find friends to play video games with. I still play with some people I met on Twitch to this day lol.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,312
#46
Befriending schemes are similar but probably not as lucrative or open to abuse. This rent-a-friend service better have supervision and regulations.