This morning I had the pleasure of talking to Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist, columnist, executive coach, and author of “BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life In 28 Days”. I spoke to Jonathan about Rent a Friend and whether this service can actually offer true friendship.
What are your thoughts on people renting people for their friendship?
“Rent a Friend is an oxymoron of sorts – a friendship is something which by it’s very nature is nurtured and grows over time. Some things in life should not be paid for, and a friendship is one such thing. I can’t imagine it feels very good to know that the “friendship” is actually a pseudo friendship because it is merely a service being purchased. The definition of a friendship has changed over the past several years with the rise of the social media culture. Nowadays its conceivable that a person can have hundreds, if not thousands of virtual friends and stay in that word, isolating him or herself. So, in that respect at least rent a friend gets someone out of the house and interacting with a real life human.”
How can this impact their relationship?
“Renting a friend does not represent a friendship based on trust and mutual interests – rather, it’s based on scheduling and paying. Without availability and payment, the so called friendship doesn’t exist. At some point the buyer of such services might realize that the friendship is limited and lacks depth.”
In what ways can people make friends naturally?
“One of the best way to make friends is by doing something you enjoy doing. It ensures having mutual interests. So for example, if you’re a runner, join a running club. If you’re into knitting, join a knitting club, etc. Further, get offline and get out there and interact with people in real life. That may be through your house of worship, with colleagues, classmates, etc.”
Why might someone feel that they need to hire someone for friendship?
“Someone who feels they don’t have options or venues to meet friends might turn to rent a friend. Also, someone who lacks confidence or requisite social skills to forge connections or friendships otherwise. And of course, loneliness.”
Do these types of websites exploit peoples loneliness?
“I’m sure loneliness is part of what drives people to seek out such services. Without that, business might not do so well.”
If you want to see more of Jonathan’s work then you can visit his website HERE.