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Social experiment: Would you rent a friend?

  1. Jul 26, 2010 #1
    New site lets you rent a friend for a minimum of $10/hour ... strictly platonic, fees are negotiable.

    http://www.everydaymoney.ca/2010/07/new-site-lets-you-rent-a-friend-for-10hour.html [Broken]

    This service is available only in the U.S.A and Canada.
    Could this service be extended to other countries?

    If marketed well, it won't ONLY be for the socially deficient and lonely people.

    Although making friends may be the toughest thing for some people, for whatever reason. For instance, you're moving to a big city, say N.Y.C. -- NYC can be very intimidating to many -- you don't know anyone there. Answer: you could rent an instant friend for a minimum of $10/hour (fees negotiable) to show you your way around the city, the places to hang out, it would increase your chances to meet people outside your workplace, outside your comfort zone, and that may help you climb the social ladder a bit faster.

    It's good job opportunity for people who are good at keeping a conversation alive, and also for those who are socially experienced.

    I'm trying to put a positive spin on this business opportunity... because people usually like to view themselves in a positive light and as better than average (Read "Self-enhancement bias")

    Could you share some of your ideas to put a positive spin on this?

    And, generally speaking, would do you think of this social experiment?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2010 #2
    Isn't this what en escort does?
  4. Jul 26, 2010 #3
    Escort service is a different business model ... they don't do what is described above.

    That's why I'm trying to put a positive spin on this in order to help potential customers put distances with the Escort-service model.
  5. Jul 29, 2010 #4
    Isn't that called marriage? Oh wait, that's buying a friend - not renting. Maybe it's rent-to-own.
  6. Jul 29, 2010 #5
    It's not a marriage contract ... just friendship.

    Rent-to-own! That's funny. We cannot use this description on a business model, it won't resonate very well with potential customers.

    It's just friendship, no sex involved.

    Basically, you can enter your zip code and search for someone nearby to spend time with you, doing anything you want to do---except sex.

    It's not a dating website, and not an escort agency.

    It could be a good job opportunity for people who have good social skills, and they can teach someone with a new skill or hobby, or show him/her around an unfamiliar town.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2010
  7. Jul 29, 2010 #6
    So basically you are doing market research in order to try and figure out how to re-brand something that already exists. Not all escort services involve sex. Legally they are not suppose to in a lot of places. If you have to buy a friend what makes them really your friend? As far as a good companionship model the Japanese geisha sounds like an intriguing profession.
  8. Jul 29, 2010 #7
    Yeah, I would like to see how gender-balanced the "rentals" would be. I'm guessing slightly more women would be rented than men.
  9. Jul 29, 2010 #8
    I'm not really doing a market research on this site. In order to make it right, I would need to reach/target a specific sample of my audience. I cannot and should not speak with the whole web.

    I'm just sharing this concept with this community ... and only two people (brainstorm and John Creighto) have jumped in to discuss this business idea.


    Yeah, I'm curious about that, too.

    Something similar happened to me: a woman asked me to pretend to be her suitor for a weekend, and we went visiting with her family. No money, no sex involved. But she promised she would return the favor if and when I would need a "fake" friend.

    From a business point of view, this was a failure.

    Would you rent a friend for a minimum of $10/hour - depending on the difficulty level of performance ?

    Say, you need an "instant" to go to....

    (a) A wedding, a funeral
    (b) the right places to socialize more effectively, widen your horizons
    (c) special meetings where your rented friend would make a speech, or sing.
    (d) sports training, golf, tennis, etc.
    (e) other

    People are becoming busier with their careers or jobs, they find little time or have no more inclination to cook, so they go to restaurants, or they order out, or frozen foods, and more and more, find very little time to socialize.

    Answer? Rent a friend.

    The only wrinkle with this idea: people could perceive friendship as a business commodity.

    This is potentially annoying.
  10. Jul 29, 2010 #9
    Especially when your "friend" starts playing games with you to try to manipulate you to order their services more often. This seems like a recipe for disaster to me. Maybe you should call it something other than a "friend" service. Maybe "companion" would be a better word to use.
  11. Jul 29, 2010 #10
    An interesting concept would be allow people to get credits to use the system by working in it. In other words make it a free lance type of thing.
  12. Jul 31, 2010 #11
    Could you please elaborate on credit-system?
  13. Jul 31, 2010 #12

    Societies have accepted online dating sites, sex sites such as Ashley Madison, which facilitates extramarital hookups ... maybe more time will be needed to accept the concept of renting a friend.

    Consider Jennifer Morrison or simply "Jennifer," platonic friend for hire: $20 to $30 an hour.

    Read more ....

    It seems to me that people who would use such a service would tend to choose a member of the opposite gender.
  14. Aug 2, 2010 #13
    To message #12
    I would also wonder what is really a friend. I would like some comments on this.
    A friend is it someone with whom you drink some beers? Someone with whom you agree on you comments of baseball? Or someone that agrees with you in politics?
    I would like to know what is a friend.
    John Galaor
  15. Aug 2, 2010 #14
    The "rented friend" is a pal. You pick and choose and find a profile of somebody who's into what you're into ... it should not be a substitute for meaningful face-to-face relationships.

    Not necessarily. Say you want to visit Miami for the first time, and cannot find anyone to go there with you, for what ever reasons, you could then rent a friend from Miami to show you around. The rented friend is sort of a tour guide for you. He or she will show you Miami entertainment scene, the cool places to hang out, places you might not have discovered on your own, thus increasing your Miami-enjoyment experience... maybe on your next trip to Miami you could impress your own 'real' friends.

    Examples depicted in the article I posted:

    >an introverted, out-of-town computer programmer hired Jennifer when he went to Las Vegas
    >A bored grandmother visiting family from the Midwest hired Jennifer for an afternoon movie
    >Christopher Barton, 31, of Boulder City, Nev., during a business trip ...
    >Two students rented parents to meet with college officials after they were caught drinking on campus.
    >A woman once hired a college girl to visit her mother in a nursing home three days a week after she moved away
    >to rent a fill-in family member for a wedding, like a father figure or someone to stand in as an important uncle to give a toast
  16. Aug 3, 2010 #15
    Ok, Ok. I got the concept. A friend in a light sense of the term. Then, being a hired friend, would not tell you something you don't want to here, unless it would be warning you of not getting into some trouble.
    Yeah. A good idea. A little shocking at first, then it is a sensible idea.
    John Galaor
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