A few days ago I was listening to a talk radio program that mentioned a service being offered in Japan that allows you to “rent a friend.” At first I thought it was a joke but as they continued to talk about it I found out that not only is this for real, but these types of services has been in business there for almost 10 years and guess what… business is booming!
The service allows you to get on-line and look at profiles, much like a dating website, and then for a fee- $28 US dollars per hour plus transportation- you too can rent a friend.
Clients use them to be in selfies, to go out for dinner, for moral support to share unsettling news with parents or relatives, or just someone to talk to, the options are endless. There are now at least ten companies competing for this business and it’s not showing signs of slowing down.
I gotta tell you I was blown away. We’ve actually gotten to the point where people are no longer willing to put in the emotional investment to connect with real people at a basic level. Like lawn work or household chores, people simply feel the need to out-source human connection for a small fee. And why not, I mean what’s really at stake here anyway- and better yet if you don’t like them or they don’t like you, fire them and hire another. REALLY!
After my initial shock and disappointment from hearing about this, I actually began to feel a sense of sadness.
Think about it for a minute. In a day and age where we are constantly connected and have the ability to communicate with anyone we want to, anytime we chose, from just about anywhere on the planet that we can get enough bars on our cell phones- more people that ever are feeling alone and disconnected.
In an report that was leaked from Facebook (which says it doesn’t mine personal data for advertising- yeah right) it tells us that most people post things they are learning about or plan to accomplish early in the week- and then post what they are proud of accomplishing on the weekend. It also can tell based on our postings when we are sad, vulnerable, and feeling disconnected. So don’t be surprised when you post something sad, you may get bombarded with ads from “Rent a Friend” to be there for your moral support!
It seems we are no longer interested in getting together with our real friends to share our triumphs and our struggles, we’d just rather post them to anonymous virtual friends that we don’t really know or haven’t been in contact with for years. My belief is many are spending more time worrying about virtual friends they will never meet- vs. the people the can meet and connect with most every day.
Every one of us has a real friend out there somewhere in this world. This is the person that would drop everything they are doing and come running for support in your time of need. This person knows all of your faults and insecurities, and willing to call you on your BS. Some of us are lucky enough to have several people like that in our lives.
These special people will celebrate your success, comfort you in your sadness, lift you up when you are ready to throw in the towel and are the people we may want to spend more of our time connecting- or re-connecting with. Simply said these are the people that help define and make us who we really are and will give us a real-life thumbs up or high five.
So this week when you get ready to post a selfie on your latest social media addiction, take a few minutes to reach out to your real friends on that amazing device called your phone. Better yet if they live in your home-town why not do an un-announced pop-in. Do yourself and them a favor soon-
Phone a friend.
If not you can always rent one for 28 bucks.
Thoughts for the week:
-One best book is equal to 100 friends, but one good friend is equal to a library. –J Abdul Kalam
-There are rare people who show up at the right time, help you through the hard times, and stay into your best times… those are the keepers. – Nausicaa Twila
You can eat and drink together, talk and laugh together, but you are only real friends when you have also cried together. – Unknown
The language of friendship is not words but meanings. –Henry David Thoreau
Lots of people want to ride with you in a limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. –Oprah Winfrey
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… it has no survival value: rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. – C.S. Lewis
No one will ever be as entertained by us as us! -Unknown
Looking forward to our next connection