Jennifer Morrison freely admits that friendship helps supplement her income. Morrison takes reservations at a popular restaurant and has been paid to show a visiting computer programmer around town, attend a movie with a border grandmother, and scrapbook with a stay a-home mom. Morrison says she likes to meet new people and make extra money at the same time, that why she is part of a new Internet website where people can “rent-a-friend.”
The idea has been popular in Japan and Asia for several years, and is growing in the United States. Every month Rentafriend receives 100,000 unique views and has nearly 2,000 members who pay $24.95 a month, or $69.95 a year, for a login and password so they can look at the photos and profiles of over 167,000 potential friends.
Ori Brafman, coauthor of a book entitled, “Click: The Magic of Instant Connections,” is not sure Rentafriend is a good idea. Brafman says a lack of friendships represents the worst kind of social isolation. He said, “The danger isn’t Rentafriend per se, but rather what it symbolizes. We purchase fleeting replacements because as a society, we lack those close, meaningful bonds that are so essential.”
--Rent-an-everything web culture now offers friends, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2012141491_apusfealifestylesrentafriend.html; June 17, 2010, Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell
Proverbs 17:17 (GW) “A friend always loves, and a brother is born to share trouble.”