So what do you do if you’re thinking of a night out and all of your friends are busy? Get out the old black book? Go out by yourself? Or just stay in and feel miserable.
Now there a new option in the UK: Rent A Friend.
No, not an escort, if that’s what you are thinking. This is a genuine and legal service from the USA that has just launched on this side of the pond. You really can Rent A Friend for the evening – for a small fee of course. The usual rate is $10 per hour in the US, and presumably it will be something similar in the UK.
If the notion appeals to you, or perhaps you would like to offer your services as a paid friend then check out their website: http://rentafriend.com/unitedkingdom
This is how the service describes itself: “You can rent a local Friend to hang out with, go to a movie or restaurant with, someone to go with you to a party or event, someone to teach you a new skill or hobby, or someone to show you around an unfamiliar town.”
How does it work?
Well, first you have to become a member, which will cost you £17.18 per month. This will apparently give you instant access to over 218,000 friends. And then you simply search your local area for new friends who have similar interests.
Unfortunately all of the friends available on the UK site seem to be in England, so it looks like I will be staying in tonight. Which is a shame as there are some interesting looking people to choose from.
There’s Lizzie from London who promises to be a good listener and is always happy and smiley. Jo from Bath is apparently a witty, snappy dresser who is obsessed with socks. And presumably there will be loads of other eager Friends joining up now that the site is live.
I know that meeting new people can be difficult and this may seem like fun to some, the obvious safety considerations aside. But there is something rather sad about the notion of having to pay someone to spend time with you.
As Ben Franklin warned: “Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.” He obviously didn’t predict that one day there would be an app for that.