Paying to Meet People

The other day while in New York and talking about online dating, one of my fellow divas made this statement, which I’m sure you’ve heard or said yourself:

“I feel like I shouldn’t have to PAY to meet men!”

She is finally trying online dating but feels negative about it, like most.

To her I would say that yes, maybe it feels unnatural at first.  Maybe it feels like it shouldn’t be necessary.  But it is.  in the 21st Century, online dating seems to be the easiest and most productive way to meet the largest volume of potential mates.

If you are serious about finding The One, you may have to do some work. 

(more about online dating in the future)

But what about paying to have friends?  That is another topic altogether!

Rent-A-Friend.com

When I heard about this website on WAVA’s New Life Live call-in show, I was without words!  Really?  Not seriously!  A site where people PAY to be friends with other people?  Normal, regular people?  Not even celebrities or famous people?  It just did not compute.

Upon further inspection, and reading a few articles about Rentafriend.com, I realized it is actually a great business idea.  The site boasts of having over 200,000 members so far.  The site launched in the later part of 2009 and is operating in several countries.  They even advertise that you can sign up as a friend for hire to make extra money.

Is it profitable?  Seems so!  People want to rent other people for a variety of reasons!  (This is not a sexual business, it says.  It is strictly platonic. )

… The jobless are hiring fake bosses to appear employed, divorced mothers are booking pseudo dads to attend their kids’ baseball games, and in one well-publicized case, a man was hired to attend a wedding and deliver a passionate toast about the bride and groom.1

That was a quote about Japanese users.  But here in the States, it is probably just about the lonely heart who feels like their current friends or family members are not there for them.   A 50+ woman hired a 30 year old woman to go to the movies with her.

The woman who hired Sarah has no family in Las Vegas and lives alone. It was awkward at first, Sarah says, but also easy — just two women sitting in a dark theater.

A week or so later, she hired Sarah again. She wanted help picking presents for her grandchildren. Sarah works as a nanny six days a week, so she knows what kids like.2

As a matchmaker who offers wing woman services, I can totally understand the need for a man or woman to hire someone to attend an event with them and help them meet people of the opposite sex.  But we are talking about professionals here.  I still can’t see anyone paying the average Joe to go to some ballgame with them.  Apparently it is happening!

Though it is a good business for the owners and ‘friends’, this is a sad state for us (human beings) to be in.  Is it this hard to make friends on our own?  Are there really no other ways to find people to do things we want to do? 

Meetup.com is doing a wonderful job bringing people with similar interests together.  I have several meetups myself and can attest that it does work.  I see friendships develop every time I host a meetup!  People like people and when you get them all together in one room, they tend to make connections.

So how is it that people are paying for an hour of another’s company for a movie?  That poor woman must not know about Meetup!  She could have her pick of several movie meetups to attend with strangers in her area for FREE.

But who will go with you to run errands, or escort you to your high school reunion, or something like this?  RentAFriend.com is perfect then.  Maybe it is harder for some people to connect with others.  Those people should be working with a therapist or life/relationship coach to help them develop the skills needed to connect with people.

Maybe this means I should advertise my coaching services on RentAFriend.com.  What do you think?

References

1 – “Lonely in Las Vegas: Web site lets strangers rent a friend.”   Abigail Goldman, Las Vegas Sun. Monday, March 8, 2010.

2 – id

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