True friends are priceless, and yet we live in a time when people can get paid to be a friend for companionship, conversation, or coffee.
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Would you ever consider getting paid to be a friend to some stranger?
If you’d like to help out people who don’t like going solo when exploring a new city, attending events, watching movie premieres, visiting art galleries, and so on, you can earn some money doing so by joining a site called RentAFriend.com.
Before I explain how this works, here’s the most important thing you need to know: RentAFriend isn’t an escort service and since the “friend” part means strictly platonic, it isn’t a dating site either.
How Does RentAFriend.com Work?
Those who join RentAFriend fall into one of two categories:
- Members are those looking for friends. They need to pay $25 to RentAFriend.com to get access to all the “friends” who are willing to get hired.
- Friends are those looking to get paid to be a friend. They can register for free, work on their profile,s and wait for people to contact them.
In most cases, hobbies, interests, profession, or even age can be the reason why people choose you as a friend, so include as many personal tidbits as possible.
Of course, don’t pretend to like hobbies or interests you don’t really care about just to entice a certain group of people.
For instance, it’s tempting to list down opera as an interest to attract the richer, opera-going set, but if you’re not truly interested in opera, and they invite you to go with them, you’ll get found out pretty quickly.
If a Member sees your Friend profile and is interested, they’ll contact you via RentAFriend.com’s anonymous messaging system.
When you reach this stage, you and your client would be making the arrangements yourselves; from the hourly price, the number of hours, and the details of activities, such as date, time, place, and so on.
Pros of RentAFriend.com: Get Paid to Attend Parties and Other Events
Here are the reasons RentAFriend can be an interesting side gig:
- You are in control – RentAFriend doesn’t have a pricing table assigned to Friends. You can price your friendship services from $10 an hour to up to $100 per hour or more. Since prices are negotiable, you won’t be forced into a transaction that you didn’t approve of.
- Paying members only – Not everyone can send you a message. RentAFriend makes sure that only paying members contact you.
- Choice of communication method – You can choose to be sent a message, called up, or texted instead. You can control this setting on your profile.
- You can approve or deny any “friendship” as you see fit – As a friend, you are not obligated to accept everybody’s request for companionship. You can reject anyone, or agree to meet with everyone. It’s totally up to you.
- You keep 100% of payment – RentAFriend doesn’t take a cut from your hourly earnings.
If you’re comfortable meeting new people and socializing, this job wouldn’t feel like a job at all.
And if you were honest about the activities you listed on your profile and attracted members seeking companions for those activities, then there’s a huge chance you’ll have a blast while completing a task.
Cons of RentAFriend
A disadvantage (or injustice) in RentAFriend is that people may hire you (or not) based on your looks.
This can be a blessing to attractive members wanting to get paid to be a friend but might mean quite the opposite for members who aren’t as attractive.
Another factor that RentAFriend is unable to control is the degree that Members get attached to their Friends. Because the meet-up is transactional and involves money, feelings might get hurt when clients expect real, lasting friendships.
I read about a member who was frustrated that her new friend doesn’t text her back without payment being sent first.
Whether you’re a RentAFriend Member or Friend, you should join this community only if you understand that your responsibility with each other starts and ends only within the time discussed.
RentAFriend Safety Issues
As you might imagine, RentAFriend safety issues are a huge concern among Friends and Members alike.
Everyone is a stranger on the site, after all.
To be safe, make sure you read up on keeping safe with online dating. While you aren’t technically going on a date with a RentAFriend Member, meeting face to face does make you susceptible to all the dangers (and awkwardness) of online dating.
Because the initial introduction is through the RentAFriend website, a Member may seem like they’re great, but they may not be so great in person.
You may be looking for a great conversationalist, but end up with someone shy, for example.
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In an extreme example, you may meet someone dangerous. You may meet a scammer, thief, stalker, or even a serial killer.
But there are things you can do to keep yourself safe when meeting strangers, such as meeting only in public places, setting boundaries before the meet-up, making sure a friend or someone close to you always knows where you’re going, having a standby person to call to pick you up immediately, and learning self-defense.
Other Sites Where You Can Get Paid To Be A Friend
RentAFriend isn’t the only website where you can get paid to be a friend. Here are two more websites you can get hired to be a friend. They work pretty much the same way, but you’re allowed to browse through the member profiles and decide which website to sign up for (or if you’re an independent contractor, maybe you’ll want to sign up for all of them).
As the name implies, this site connects users with other users who are looking for virtual friends.
Cyber Friends are members of the site who have signed up with an hourly rate for their friendship services.
Gigs are specific tasks that have a separate rate from their friendship services.
Visitors of this site can browse profiles of Cyber Friends and rent the services of a virtual friend at their hourly rate. Users can also browse Gigs or profiles of Cyber Friends to request a Gig.
FriendPC allows their Members to connect to Virtual Friends who offer various services, mainly offering virtual conversations and emotional support through text messages, phone calls, or chat messages on different platforms.
You can also be a virtual gaming partner and play a few sessions with them online, or even be a fake virtual girlfriend/boyfriend to make someone jealous.
FriendPC also allows friendships to go from virtual to real-life, provided of course you follow their safety tips.
If you apply to be a Virtual Friend on their site, you get to set your own pay rates and schedule.
However, you may be charged a small fee to cover your listings. Also, you get to take home 90% to 95% of your earnings from each booking.
How Much Can You Make?
Because RentAFriend lets you dictate your own hourly price, you can set it for as low as $10 per hour to as high as $50 or $100 per hour.
Of course, your clients will justify your pricing based on what you could offer.
For example, if you’re a fluent English speaker and Chinese-to-English translator based in a hard-to-reach China province and your client is going there, if your company can significantly help the client go about day-to-day tasks, then they would probably be glad to pay you $50 per hour for your service.
The amount you make also depends on how many hours a week you can devote to being a friend.
Some “friends” work only 3 times a week and earn between $500 and $1200 a week, while those who work full time earn as much as $2000 weekly.
Would You Want to Get Paid to be a Friend?
Online companionship jobs like these are not for the faint of heart. They’re not like work-from-home chat jobs either.
As someone who will be selling their time to a stranger, the entire concept can be a scary ride, but if you do get to have fun, there’s a big chance you’d have a blast with the experience.
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Although some find this business model questionable and categorize it as escort services in disguise, these sites maintain that they don’t offer escort services or dating sites.
Of course, they can’t really control what their members would do once they’re messaging each other outside of their platform or meet in real life.
Be aware that this wouldn’t work as your main income, but a fun gig for raising extra cash on the side.
Would you be okay to get paid to be a friend? How about your thoughts on people paying strangers to be a friend? Share your insights with us in the comments!