Rent a friend

A new Australian-based website allows you to hire a platonic friend for a fee.

Rent a friend

Whether you are looking for a dinner partner or just someone to talk to, a new Australian-based website allows you to hire a platonic friend for a fee. But should you?

The premise of the new website, Friends for Hire, is that you can pay someone a fee for their time, in a strictly platonic sense. The one caveat of the site is your activity cannot involve any physical contact. Beyond that what you do is up to you and your new rent-a-friend.

Suggestions for how you might use the Friends for Hire website:

  • sporting events
  • family or work functions
  • workout partner
  • someone to cook with or help out in the kitchen
  • meeting friends
  • going for dinner
  • sightseeing
  • tutoring
  • learning another language
  • dog walking
  • going to the movies
  • someone to talk to on the phone

The website divides its users into two categories: friends, who can charge up to $60 per hour for their company, and members, who are charged a $5 weekly membership in order to find a friend.

Co-founder and managing partner Josh Blundell told The Business Insider that Friends for Hire is not intended as a romantic matchmaking website or a platform for soliciting sexual services. “It’s definitely not a dating website. It’s for people who are lonely, without the expectation that things will move beyond a platonic friendship. If anyone was found to be outside the terms of service, we would remove them from the site.”

Blundell says he thinks that it’s getting harder to meet people platonically, with the rise of social media and dating sites.

You can see the new site at www.friendsforhire.com.au.

What do you think? Is this website a good solution if you are lonely? Or is it wrong to charge someone for your time as a ‘friend’? Is this a way for society to reconnect, or a band-aid for a much larger problem of widespread loneliness?

Would you ever use a site such as Friends for Hire? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.





    COMMENTS

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    Fossil
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:00am
    No
    I would not,

    Good heavens, If you can't talk to someone on the phone who is willing to listen for free, then talking to someone for a fee (n.b. free is better than fee which free with an R and that might stand fro a relationship or a relative or a real friend - whatever you like)
    a genuine friend or listener is worth much more than a fee paid one
    there could never be a substitute.

    taking the abuser out of the system is not much consolation, after the damage is done

    there are many ways to get a friend or a listener
    explore possibilities,
    the first step is be a friend to someone first, the rest will come in time
    and be fair, don't hog their time. learn to gauge when time is up, people have lives too they need to get on with it.
    CindyLou
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:52am
    Clearly there is a need for such a service, eg., I'd be happy to pay for someone to be a partner at a work function if I did not have another option.
    In response to Fossil's comments, I would have to respectfully disagree, it's not easy to get a friend later in life, people generally are busy, they already have a circle of friends and perhaps people using such a service are themselves busy and hence a service would suit.
    Each to their own.
    celticmagick
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:39pm
    I have been thinking of how to find a shopping friend. I have moved to a new area and am quite isolated being on a farm with a 4km walk to the local shops. I don't drive. But I could not afford to pay that type of money. How would someone like me go about finding a person who likes window shopping and art gallery visits etc who drives so therefore could pick me up and drive me home aftwards. I am 57 and female. Any ideas would be appreciated
    Scottie
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:02pm
    Why not try www.meetup.com ? From there you can join many interest groups, including theatre, shopping or women's groups. If there isn't a group there for something you are interested in, you can start one, and people can join. Have a look at it.
    Neeney Doc
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:38pm
    Having spent 42 years visiting & medically caring for mainly OAPs in their homes or in nursing homes with marvelous nursing staff, RDNS & palliative care nurses I have now retired. I would like to continue visiting elderly, lonely people as a volunteer but have been too incapacitated myself. When I read that Seniors would pay $60 for a friendly visit.. I could not believe it! What with? A single OAP is $60 per day.
    I guess those who retire having been mining magnates or pollies or CEOs with family trusts or inheritances or overseas tax havens could. But not our average elderly person.
    musicveg
    5th Apr 2014
    10:18pm
    It cost $5 a week to be a member if you want a friend but free if you want to be a friend, so why would you pay the membership? cheaper yo hire yourself out,love to hear if anyone has tried it out yet.
    Born an original Ranga
    19th Nov 2018
    4:59am
    I am seeing this about 4 and a half years later. As a now 50 year old, I have found that I don't live near most of my friends and you can feel that you may be too embarrassed to talk to close fiends. Speaking to someone who doesn't know you but is there as a counsellor or a rent a friend, willing to listen is sometimes all that someone needs.


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