Culture & Entertainment

Rentafriend: Where friendships are made by the hour

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Rentafriend: Where friendships are made by the hour

By: Guest Blogger
Two Friends Guest post by Kristen Oelschlagel Friendship is something that requires effort, that has to be nurtured over time—or so I thought. Now, if you need a friend quickly, you can rent one. Rentafriend.com launched in North America in 2009 and currently offers more than 513,000 friends for rent worldwide, with Canada ranking second in total offerings. “There are tens of thousands of friends available in Canada, and there are a few thousand members,” says Scott Rosenbaum, owner of Rentafriend. Rosenbaum got the idea from similar websites in Japan, where people can rent stand-in family members. After some research, Rosenbaum realized there weren’t any services in North America for finding platonic friends, and soon Rentafriend was born. I admit I was initially shocked by the mere existence of this website, but after perusing it for a bit, I decided it does have some valid applications. If you’ve moved or you’re travelling, it would be perfect for finding a guide to show you around. And many of the friends list special skills, so if you’ve been thinking about learning a new language, say, or learning to Tango, you might be able to find a teacher. For Georgetown, ON, friend-for-rent Adam McCormack, joining the site was more about helping people. “I wanted to welcome people to the area who were new, and to make sure everyone has someone to have a good time with.” While he has gotten a few emails over his four months on the site, he has only gone out once. “Over the Christmas holidays, an individual emailed me looking for someone to accompany her to some social events,” says McCormack, “She was new to the area and just looking for something platonic.” You always have to be cautious when going out with people you meet on the Internet, and McCormack says that this is where a pre-meeting comes in. The new “friends” arranged to meet for coffee to discuss details and expectations. “We ended up getting along fine,” McCormack says, “I was a bit nervous though, for sure.” The worst and most awkward part, he says, was discussing compensation. McCormack’s rate was just over $100 for the four hours they went out. Rates start at $10 per hour, but friends can charge up to $50 per hour. So what sorts of activities can you rent a friend for? Just about anything, as long as it stays strictly platonic. The website lists activities such as going to the beach, playing sports, going to a bar, going to a concert, attending business events, family functions, etc. (I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want a complete stranger accompanying me to a family function!) McCormack says it does feel odd to be a rented friend, but that he had a great experience and would recommend it to others. “I definitely hope I connect with other people in the future. I think it’s a great way for people who need to connect to get out there.” I think I might need a little more convincing before I try out Rentafriend. If you want to give it a shot, here’s what you can expect in terms of selection, city by city: In Toronto: 369 friends In Montreal: 125 friends In Vancouver: 111 friends In Calgary: 49 friends In Winnipeg: 18 friends In Halifax: 15 friends In Moncton: 8 friends In Regina: 3 friends  
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Rentafriend: Where friendships are made by the hour

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