Sell Your Friendship and Cash In? Let's Check it Out
The question? Can you be paid to be a friend online? Well… a large percentage of the world’s population are now spending the majority of their free time staring at a screen, and the effects are starting to be felt in rather odd ways. When this anti-social shift merges with an ever-decreasing standard of living for most Americans who desperately need a side hustle to pay their bills or build their savings, that is where things get interesting.
Most of us have heard you can rent a friend to attend an event when you need a plus one, like in the 1997 Jennifer Aniston movie Picture Perfect, but the idea has definitely grown and evolved over time. As our society becomes more and more reclusive, this is becoming an increasingly popular and accepted phenomenon. (Read my post about other crazy ways to make money: Unusual Ways to Make Money at Home (some might be a little weird!)
How Does Rent-a-Friend Work?
Introverts, those with very busy schedules, or transplants to a new city who have the extra money and want to attend an event, need a wingman/woman to help them make romantic connections, or just go out and socialize or have someone to talk to can become members of Rent-a-Friend. Anyone can browse their areas available “Friends,” but in order to make contact, users are required to pay a monthly membership fee of $24.95.
All the revenue Rent-A-Friend makes comes from the Member side. This means as a “Friend,” you pay nothing ever. Simply fill out to fill out an application and after you’ve been accepted, create a profile.
The best part this is you get to keep all the money you make. You can set all your own conditions, from the rate you desire, your hours of availability, as well as from whom you will accept invitations.
Is It Safe?
When I began researching this platform, I remember thinking, What sane woman would meet up with a strange man alone? As it turns out, Rent-a-Friend is strictly a platonic friends site. You are not allowed to schedule ‘dates’ through this platform, and they have a strict no-contact policy in place for their paid meetups. After the paid period ends, however, Friends are free to do as they please, which could potentially make for an uncomfortable transition.
The company secures personal information on all its Members and Friends and keeps tabs on dates, times, and locations of meetups, much like Uber or Lyft, so there is some documentation of where you are and who you’re with.
Obviously there are creeps who are going to take advantage of these meetups and try to negotiate a more “under the table” arrangement, and for this reason, many women choose to exclude straight men from their profiles.
As in any social situation, there is some element of risk, but in reality, this concept isn’t any less safe than a blind date. It would be wise to use solo safety tips like not leaving your drink unattended, pulling aside your server or bartender and asking them to keep an eye on you, and making sure you and the Member are never secluded or alone.
How Much Can You Earn Renting Out Your Friendship?
As mentioned above, the rate you charge is up to you. Friends can set an hourly fee of anywhere from $10-$50 for their company. It is also generally understood that the Member will pay for any expenses incurred during the meetups such as food, drinks, admission to events, or transportation, but all of this is negotiable.
Some Friends will waive their hourly rate depending on the activity (i.e. an exciting, expensive, or appealing activity or event like a concert, sporting event, or five-star restaurant).
The site encourages Members and Friends to discuss all relevant details beforehand so there are no surprises at the meetup that could make things more awkward or cause disagreements.
You can work as much or as little as you wish. Most Friends use this platform as a side gig during their free time, but there are full-time Friends out there. Obviously, Friends in more populated areas are going to have more interested Members, so if you live in a smaller town or rural area, there may not be enough interest to fill up your availability.
Here is a handy potential earnings chart from the Rent-a-Friend Site:
|IF YOU WORK PART TIME
(3 days a week)
|IF YOU WORK FULL TIME
(5 days a week)
|If you charge $20/hour||If you charge $50/hour||If you charge $20/hour||If you charge $50/hour|
|Weekly $480||Weekly $1200||Weekly $800||Weekly $2000|
|Monthy: $1920||Monthy: $4800||Monthy: $3200||Monthy: $8000|
|Yearly: $23,040||Yearly: $57,600||Yearly: $38,400||Yearly: $96,000|
Who Should Become a Friend?
This platform is not for everyone. While the concept undoubtedly seems bizarre to many and like an absolute nightmare for introverts or those with social anxiety, it checks out as a legitimately easy way to make money for the right type of social butterfly personality. (If the need for extra cash interests you, but this opp doesn't – check out my posts, Make an Extra $1,000 a Month – Idea List or 75+ Gig Economy Jobs.
College students and young professionals with free time could definitely benefit from getting paid while beefing up their social life.
Selling Friendship – The Verdict
I have to admit that initially, the idea of paying for friendship invoked day-mares of awkward conversations, sinister Members, and generally gave me the creeps. However, I have to report finding very few horror stories (though there were some awkwardly hilarious situations) and overall I found overwhelmingly positive reviews. Many Friends even mentioned having become actual IRL (pro bono) friends with Members. Check out the Testimonials here. I have to say, as someone who is relatively social, I would legitimately consider Rent-a-Friend as a viable money-making option
…if I had the free time.