Social Question

mrentropy's avatar

Have you ever used Rentafriend.com?

Asked by mrentropy (17140 points ) July 31st, 2010

I don’t know if I should give the full details of why I would need to rent a friend, but I would be curious to know if anyone has ever used Rent a Friend and, if you did, was it worth your time and/or money?

Or would I be better off hanging out on a street corner asking people to befriend me?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

37 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

No, I have an annual membership to Buy-a-friend I feel they have a larger selection and it is one flat annual fee.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I haven’t heard of this site until just now, but I am somewhat intrigued. In using a site like that after my brief perusal, I would think that to use it to its best effectiveness you would have to be pretty specific about the kinds of activities you’d like to participate in/learn from your new friend.

I think, depending on why you are looking for a friend, you could meet someone with similar interests if you participate in those activities you are interested in.

May I ask why you are considering renting a friend?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No,but I wish they had kickmyass.I’d rent someone from there once a month….at least! ;)

ninahenry's avatar

That sounds so weird. I wouldn’t like the idea of paying someone to pretend to be my friend. Also it’s not like you can know what to expect and send them back asking for a refund. Like @KatawaGrey said, if you spent the money on memberships to a bunch of clubs and activities you could meet people that way- book clubs, film clubs, rock climbing, walking, a swimming class, stuff like that :) if you can’t afford that there’s always voluntary work you could do in the community and your neighbourhood.

If you need someone to go somewhere with you urgently, go on your own instead? It can’t be that bad, right? Or if you needed someone to show you around somewhere there are tour guides and online reviews, iPhone apps and all the technology you could want out there to help you find interesting places to go to.

Try talking to people wherever you go, putting positivity out there and also enjoy spending time with yourself.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I saw a human interest piece about this on the news recently. Most people seem to use this when they travel and want a “local’s eye view” of an area, or things like that.

mrentropy's avatar

@KatawaGrey All right. Here’s the deal. Have seat.

I moved to where I am about eight years ago. At the time I was living 50 miles away from work, so it wasn’t often I spent time in town. I managed to get one friend, but once I met my wife he went by the wayside, for various drama-fueled reasons.

When I did move closer to work, I spent a lot of time dealing with my wife’s problems (alcoholic, probably bi-polar, very probably borderline personality disorder). One the kids were under the roof, that was pretty much it in terms of going anywhere in town, or doing anything that didn’t involve some kind of bar. Not that every minute wasn’t busy, it was. Kids needed stuff or wanted to go somewhere, having to pick the wife up at bars or jail. Dealing with EMS and police… When you’re in that kind of life, it doesn’t leave much time for yourself.

I have “work friends,” and while they’ll do nearly anything if I really need it, they all have their own lives, families, and what not.

As some people know, my wife was killed in a car accident in April. I no longer have custody of the kids. All I have is a tiny apartment, two cats and two birds. While they are fine company, I sometimes wish to have some sort of human to talk to.

Now that all the chaos is over I find myself kind of bored. I don’t know where anything, besides bars, are. I feel like it would be nice to take a tour of the parks in the area, but I really don’t know where they are or much about them. I don’t dance. I really don’t feel any urge to sit at a bar and drink all night. Frankly, I don’t think I want to meet anyone at a bar, anyway.

It’s almost as if I am new to the area ( @JilltheTooth ) and would like some kind of guidance and companionship. And I mean companionship because I’m not in any way ready to even contemplate getting into a relationship (dating sites are out, at the moment).

@ninahenry I am, essentially, an introvert. I’m not all that good at striking up conversations with strangers. I’m not in a position to meet new people at work because there’s only four of us, in total. And, really, I hate going out to eat or to the movies by myself. Really. I did make myself go to the movies once, and all I could think about was how I could have bought a DVD, popcorn, and a bottle of soda and not spent as much going to a theater – by myself (I’m not usually that cheap, but you’d have to understand that spending so much time taking care of so many people and animals put me into a kind of budget mode). Also, iPhone apps are great, if you have an iPhone; if you don’t they’re pretty useless.

So, anyway, that’s kind of where I am at this point in time and why I was wondering if it would be worth it to pay someone a few bucks to show me around the town I’ve lived in for almost a decade.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, I’ve never heard of any such services but I’m all for you trying it out and I hope you get a good experience out of it.

jazmina88's avatar

singin some broadway for you “Let me entertain you”.............

:):)

Frenchfry's avatar

I so sorry to hear about your wife.
Give it a try you never know but be careful please.
You know the internet.
I come on site like this to socialize and have fun.
I don’t work and I am a housewife. I move here four years ago . Have not met anyone. So I do know the feeling.
Have you thought of joining a club or take a class?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@mrentropy: I am really sorry to hear about your situation but in this case, I’m hoping boredom = time you haven’t had to yourself for all those years. This being the case, using Rent-A-Friend doesn’t seem like such a bad idea but, if you don’t want to go that route, what I often do when I want to get out and meet new people is to pick a specific activity that I enjoy and research the hell out of it. I then go where the most people with a similar interest will be. As silly as this may sound, one of the most successful activities I’ve done where I’ve made a number of new friends is book clubs. At a book club, people tend not to know each other so everyone’s in the same boat. Plus, you all have one big shared interest: you read the book and liked it enough to talk about it.

How old are your kids? Maybe you could do a special father/children day with some of their friends and parents. @JilltheTooth that’s my momma has made a lot of friends with the parents of my friends and boyfriends and she has kept many of those friends tot his day even if I have fallen out of contact with those friends.

In fact, I bet you could find a father on rent-a-friend in a similar situation.

Good luck!

Frenchfry's avatar

Oh! They are grieving groups for people who have lost a loved one. Try that!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here’s a thought. I’m just putting this out there.
How about doing something crazy like posting the name of the town and a restaurant near you and a time?
I’m willing to bet there are at least several people on this site who would meet with you and show you around. You would immediately have something in common.
Sit in a Panera’s for dinner use their wifi and check this site.

Is that nuts? Am I out of line? Is anyone willing to PM @mrentropy?

If you lived near me I’d do it in a heartbeat. I wish you well, brother.

LuckyGuy's avatar

A side benefit of contacting people here is the knowledge that you hold a certain level of respect and trust whether you realize it or not. With 9000 Lurve you convinced a bunch of people to click GA for something you wrote at least 1800 times. Think about that for a second. 1800 times someone appreciated a thought you expressed. There was no ulterior motive, just strangers appreciating you, your thinking and writing.

Go for it. You might start a trend.

ninahenry's avatar

I hope you find something you enjoy doing. Perhaps the cinema wasn’t for you but other things can be. You could give the site a try as I think it’d be a good way to explore where you live, but you could also do what @worriedguy suggested without so that you wouldn’t have to pay.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I vote to give it a try. I left a city where I had many friends and family close by for one where the culture was very different than what limited past experiences offered. I was working shifts, and like you, appreciated the co-workers, but it was frowned upon to hang out with them in a social aspect since I was in a management position.

Attending or joining a group can be hit or miss. Since you have specific things that you are interested in, “renting a friend” sounds like it can provide the companionship you’d like to have while venturing out on occasion. It comes at a cost, but it can also be terminated if it isn’t your cup of tea.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

One way I found to meet people and make friends was through volunteering. I used to volunteer at the literacy center at my local library. I was actually teaching English to non-native speakers there, not teaching reading. The point is that I was getting out and meeting people. I also learned a hell of a lot about immigration.

Is there something you’re really good at? You might try finding a local charity organization that could use some of your expertise.

In the meantime while you’re searching for some place to volunteer, try out the rent-a-friend site. It sounds interesting.

mrentropy's avatar

Wow. You folks rock, I want you to know that. And thanks for the sympathies, they are appreciated.

@Frenchfry That’s a good idea. My not-quite-a-sister-in-law-in-law wanted me to go to at least one. And I probably should. I don’t think I’m ready to be with a group of people who are grieving. There’s probably something psychological going on there. Or not going on when it should be.

@KatawaGrey The kids are no longer in my custody. It tore my heart out to lose them, but I suspect things will turn out better this way. I was told that I should take a year, at least, to do nothing. And it sounds like good advice, I’m just having a hard time doing that. I’m just so used to always doing something or going somewhere. Maybe it is best if I just take this time to sit and do nothing. After a year of that, I may not be afflicted by introvertedness anymore (yes, it’s a word; no need to look it up). A book club, though, sounds like a good idea. I’ll see what I can find that’s available around here. :)

@worriedguy Is it nuts? Absolutely! Is it out of line? Not a bit. Actually, it sounds like a good idea and a good reason to start a local Fluther outing. A… fluthering. Or something. Finding a restaurant shouldn’t be too hard because there’s only slightly less restaurants than there are bars. I am in Round Rock, TX (a stone’s throw from Austin) if anyone is interested in something like that.

@hawaii_jake I’m not going to do that. Not because I think it’s a bad idea (I don’t, I think it’s a great thing) but because I’ve spent the last six to seven years giving all of myself away for other people. I think I’ve earned the right to be selfish, at least for a little while.

I need to contemplate. And thanks, everyone :)

JilltheTooth's avatar

@mrentropy : Good luck! If I was nearby I’d take you to lunch…

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey @mrentropy
There’s a Panera’s at:
9901 N Capital of Texas Hwy
Austin, TX 78759
(Between Round Rock and Austin)

Are you busy tonight? Got any dinner plans?

You might end up eating alone but I’d bet money on it you don’t.

Just sayin’...

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I can help you with that and I won’t even charge you!!

YARNLADY's avatar

Take a look at the qualification for the “Rent-a-Friend” site. There are none. All you have to do is sign up, and put yourself up for rent. Try to imagine what sort of people would be trying to hook up with a stranger from the internet.

In other words – DON’T DO IT.

YARNLADY's avatar

To answer your last question, you would be better off going to a reputable tour company and asking for a personal tour guide. I used to do that kind of work, for a reputable tour company, and it was a lot of fun.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@YARNLADY I agree with you if it is just learning about the local area. If @mrentropy is looking for a buddy to go work out at the gym, go to the movies or join him at a local restaurant, a tour company doesn’t offer those services…as far as I know.

Granted, it won’t be any safer than meeting up with someone a person agrees to meet via an online dating site, a group website, etc.. Smart adults take precautions…meet in separate cars, during the day, and in public.

Buttonstc's avatar

I think that to a degree I partly know where you’re coming from and I want to try to express it without sounding insensitive.

Anyone who has been involved in a long term family relationship with an addict is by definition, co-dependent. If not, they would have left at some point when it got way too unhealthy all around to continue. Please understand that I’m not saying that to be judgemental; I was in the same boat. It’s just a factual definition which comes with the territory.

I fully understand why volunteer work holds no appeal. That’s all you did for years and has left you totally drained.

There is also a part of you that is relived to be free from an insoluble situation in which you felt yourself trapped for years. That may also be accompanied by guilt because deep down you think you don’t have a right to feel that way since it came at the cost of your wife’s life. That’s false guilt. Feelings aren’t right or wrong. They just are.

Her death was not your fault so you can’t allow yourself to be swamped by guilt about the relief you feel.

I know this may sound a little strange, but in a sense your wife’s death is more similar to a suicide rather than an accident. An alcoholic is basically choosing a gradual form of suicide. If it runs it’s course unchecked (by recovery and sobriety) their death is inevitable whether it comes by car, or medical disease like cirrhosis of the liver or whatever. They are shortening their life every time they drink.

I know what I’m saying may sound a little farfetched, but just give it some thought.

Anything positive and healing which you can now do for yourself can help in your recovery. That’s where you are now whether you’ve thought about it this way or not.

I’m not saying that you’re an alcoholic. Quite the opposite. But you have been deeply harmed by Alcohoilsm (of your wife). You and the kids are the collateral damage.

If you do nothing other than sit an listen, I think that you could find some measure of therapeutic effect from some type of group aimed at family of addicts or suicides.

The way that any of these groups work would be well suited to someone who tends to be an introvert (as you’ve described yourself to be). People can just come and listen until they eventually feel comfortable enough to participate either groupwise or just one on one with select individuals after the main meeting has finished.

I’m not suggesting this as your sole social outlet by any means but rather as an adjunct to whatever other social activities you decide upon.

I can certainly understand your sense of isolation. In an Alcoholic family system, EVERYTHING revolves around the addict. Outside friends fall by the wayside. It’s just living from one crisis to the next. And, in between, just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I was unaware of you wife’s death previously but I can imagine that for the several months in the immediate aftermath you were basically stunned and shell-shocked, so to speak.

So whatever you do now to get back into normal life is a kind of reaching out for normalcy.

I don’t even know offhand which type of support group to recommend for you since I don’t know what is available in your area, but I’ll do a little thinking about it.

As for the RentAFriend thing, I’ve never heard of it till now so my only reaction is to advise caution. Check them out with the local BB Bureau and see if there are any satisfied customers willing to recommend them. Just proceed with caution.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@mrentropy Can I buy you and @Buttonstc dinner?

zenele's avatar

I’ve used Rent-a-Jelly.

mrentropy's avatar

@YARNLADY I know, but I would take safety precautions. It was the “platonic” part that grabbed my eye, although that doesn’t explain why when I said I was a man it showed me only women. But, there you go.

@Buttonstc I don’t find that insensitive at all and I agree with you. I guess it would be a good thing to join a grief gathering.

@worriedguy I’d be up for that.

And sorry it took me a while. My sleeping patterns are very messed up these days.

Buttonstc's avatar

@worriedguy

Well, if I were in Texas, I’d definitely take you up on that. Unfortunately, a plane ticket from MI is a bit too costly to make that feasible :)

But it’s the thought that counts, so thanks :)

Buttonstc's avatar

@mrentropy

I’m glad you understand what I was getting at. Some people have taken great offense at the term co-dependent as they perceive it as an insult. It’s merely a factual description with no judgementalism intended.

www.hilltoppers-afg.org

You may find some interesting resources on that site. They also have a 24. Hr. meeting via a Forum board.

My hunch is that unless you are adamantly opposed to Al Anon, the most helpful connection for you right now most likely would be with others in recovery from the collateral damage of being in the family of an alcoholic.

Even tho your wife is no longer a part of the picture, the relationship patterns persist and you are still trying to recover from that.

At least there will be individuals there who can identify with your current feelings of isolation from the rest of the “normal” world.

For several years following my Mothers suicide, I walked around feeling like an alien because I was certain that nobody could understand the complexity of the feelings with which I was dealing. It was really weird.

What helped me tremendously was realizing that there were a few people who knew what it was to walk in my shoes since they had been there also.

You may or may not find the Forum there helpful but it’s all anonymous but with the possibility of eventual connection in RL since it’s for the Austin Family group.

My hunch is that you might find it enormously helpful to connect with another guy(s) also having to deal with addiction in their own spouse.

Hope that helps.

liminal's avatar

There is also something called http://www.meetup.com

It is a network of different local groups. They range from local hiking groups to groups who like to play board games. The sizes can range from small to large. There may be some groups in your area that are active in things that interest you. And, it is free.

zzc's avatar

I had first read an article about Rentafriend.com and was very interested in it. Today I was seriously considering becoming a “Friend for Rent”, when I discovered Fluther, this question and the responses. Some of the responses concerned me. I am a nurse and considering retiring, I’m 60. I was planning to practice longer, but management is unhappy that I am not faster using the computer. We just converted from paper charting to totally computer. It is the first computer charting I’ve ever done in 33 years. They also are unhappy because I “coddle” my patients, i.e. don’t make them get up and discharged sooner, after having a general anesthetic, for a day procedure, and I, ” Spend too much time talking to patients and their families.” I have stayed in nursing for 33 years because I enjoy my patients, their families, teaching and helping them. So, I thought I would just retire, earn some money and help people through Rentafriend.com. Like, “Besides enjoying music, plays, hot air ballooning….can be supportive, if you have a difficult situation, want to ask someone out for the first time and having trouble doing it, for instance, or have to visit someone in a nursing home, or hospital, had a break up, need to break up, spouse in town on business and has a cold-you want chicken soup, juice and cough syrup delivered, birthday coming up and no one to give you a cake, a recital without anyone there for you, want to provide something for the office staff and are clueless, want to be read to, listened to…..etc.” I like to help people, whether it’s needing company, having fun, or problem solving. There are success stories, from people who have used Rentafriend.com. I hope people will give me a chance to create one for them.

zzc's avatar

I’m very sorry you have had to experience the trauma you’ve described. I’m in Oregon, but perhaps you would consider Rentafriend.com in Tx, if you could use their services. I’d like to think there are other people, like myself, with good intentions, that may help you.

ScottRentAFriend's avatar

Hi everyone, my name is Scott and I’m the owner of RentAFriend.com. I found this page in Google and just wanted to thank everyone who can see the benefit to a service like RentAFriend.com rather than thinking it’s just a gimmick. I apologize for writing such a long response, but I wanted to show you that it’s a real service that was created and ran by someone who would use it. I’m a real person, my email is Scott (at) RentAFriend.com so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me.

Mrentropy, I wanted to thank you for sharing your situation and realize what you have been through is not easy. I created the website for a few reasons. First off all coming from personal experience I know what it’s like to be shy, somewhat introverted, and suffer from anxiety. (One of the benefits of running websites is the fact that I don’t have to work in an office or have face time with a lot of people. I don’t even have to leave my house too often.) But more importantly I realize there are a lot of people like me out there that have some social awkwardness. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but I can solely relate. When I do decide I want to go out, it’s usually local, it’s usually at the last minute, and I’m selective on where I want to go. I’ve noticed most social situations that are available around me to meet new people are bars, speed dating, and other things I had zero interest in. I just wanted someone local to hang out with.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship, and I surely wasn’t looking for sex. Because if I was looking for a relationship or sex, there were plenty of websites out there that provided these kinds of services. That’s not what I wanted. I just wanted a platonic companion. Someone to spend some time without any ulterior motives. You would be surprised how hard this was to come by.

I tried to use escorts. I found a few local ones from the Yellow Pages and some online but spending $100—$150 an hour was ridiculous. Not to mention that it was pointless explaining to the escorts that I was strictly looking for a friend and nothing else. They thought it was cute, but the price was still the same. I ever made a few posts on craigslist looking for local friends. I met up with a few people here and there, but craigslist was very sketchy. (Recently seeing how Craigslist removed the Escorts section it’s obvious that the sketchiness was felt by other people as well).

I realized there was a huge void of Friendship services like what I was looking for. All I keep seeing are sites that are pushing the bar further and further. Has anyone seen the site AshleyMadison.com? I saw an advertisement on a billboard out in public. It said “Life is short, have an affair”. Well folks, it definitely doesn’t get any more to the point than that. So as I was looking for a “rent a friend” type website I came across an article that said rent a friend agencies in Asian countries were a growing trend, and after doing a little research realized there was nothing like it in the US or Canada.

There were thousands of websites catering to relationships except for platonic friendship. My goal then was to create a website to solve a problem that I was facing and knew others as well. I was just looking for a platonic friend to accompany me to dinner or a movie. Once I opened the site and started getting feedback it was obvious that many people also saw the bigger benefit than I did. It’s become very popular with people who are a little shy and timid, but what blew my mind the most was the fact that normal “socially active” people (the type of people I never imagined using a service like this) makes up a sizable percentage of my members.

It turns out, that there was a bigger market than I expected from people I would have never imagined. Married people, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, professionals, people I know for a fact have a decent social life were using RentAFriend.com in ways I didn’t even anticipate.

As the site started spreading, I was hearing stories of such wonderful ways people were using the website. People who travel for a living were making arrangements to meet Friends before they even left to a new city. I didn’t even know this until I read about it in a news article recently that did a story on RentAFriend.com. A father, mother and 2 children drove down to Florida from Virginia for vacation. They were on a strict budget, and the father decided to contact a Friend from RentAFriend.com who lived in Florida to create an itinerary of attractions around Disney that were affordable and cheap. Things like museums, parks, that didn’t have high admission prices, sightseeing, discount shopping, stuff like that. He had planned the vacation the previous year, but because of the economy his company downsized. He was fortunate to be able to keep his job, but had to take a pay cut. He still wanted to go on vacation, but it was going to be on a more fixed budget than they were planning on. He only had $1000 total for 7 days, and wanted to extend it as far as possible. He paid the Friend $40 to make him up a 7 day itinerary with enough activities for the week. The Friend told him the cheapest supermarkets so they could prepare meals, drew maps of off the beaten path museums and things that would take up their time without spending too much.

Once he got down to Florida the family met the Friend for lunch and the Friend gave him a ton of great information. I was shocked to learn from the article that Florida residents get 50% admission to the Disney Parks. Not sure how legal this is, but the Friend offered to be the resident to get their family into Disney. They originally weren’t planning on going, because $300 for the 4 of them was way out of their price range. Not only did the Friend offer to allow them to get the 50% discount, but she also had a buy-1-get-1 coupon for 1 free admission. It actually cost him around $100 to get into the park. The Friend also told them about attending a day of timeshare presentations to get free breakfast and 4 free passes to another park. Information that the Friend offered was common knowledge to people down in the Disney area, but not widely advertised to people traveling there. Once I heard this, it was extremely clear that the best way to learn about new areas is from people who live there. Locals are the best way to learn about the best restaurants, best shopping areas, and can tell you things that you would have never read about.

I get many emails every week on unique ways people are using the website, and it’s great. It has become a service that a lot of people are benefitting from. The most common thing still I would have to say are just average people looking to do things that they normally wouldn’t want to do alone. Going to a movie, concert, sporting event, restaurant, etc.

Most importantly I can relate to the members of the website and took into account every feature that would be necessary if I was going to join a site like this.

I wanted to be able to see pictures and read the profiles of the Friends first. I found a few small companies that provided rent a friend type services, but you had to join and they would find a friend that they had available. (you weren’t able to choose your friend) I thought that was a horrible idea. I have enough neurosis in my life to have to worry about getting matched up with someone who was not what I was looking for, but had absolutely nothing in common with me.

I wanted a website where I would be able to view the people on the website without having to pay or signup to anything. The last thing I wanted was to join some website that would start spamming me and selling my email to people. I get enough spam as it is. I’m lazy at times so having to signup to a website to just browse photos and profiles is too much of a hassle, so I put in every possible feature I would want. I made searching RentAFriend.com fast and free. You don’t have to signup to anything… just enter your zip code and see Friends in your area available for rent immediately. I also don’t believe in the tactic, where you show 1 page of Friends, then in order to see more you make people join. I wanted people to see every Friend that is available on the website before they even think about joining.

There are many times when I’ve joined social websites, had to spend 10 minutes filling out signup forms before I could login, and when I did finally login the closest person was 6 hours away. It was a waste of time, and a huge let down. So my dream site would have a free search for everyone.

I’m not the most shy person in the world, but I’m definitely not the most social. I can NOT walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. That’s just not me. I even hate to pick up the phone and call someone I don’t know. Though there are many people who don’t fear talking to strangers and can pick up the phone to call a Friend, I can’t. Just to give you an example about my neurosis, about 3 months ago I was invited onto “The Today Show” and on MSNBC to talk about RentAFriend.com. Though anyone would jump at an opportunity like that, I didn’t.

It was my worst fear. Going to a big city, (NYC) getting interviewed, having to talk to strangers and people I don’t know and being on TV. I run RentAFriend.com solely by myself, so I didn’t have any workers who could represent the company and the thought of having to go to NYC scared the crap out of me, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. So what did I do? I got The Today Show to come to my house to do the interview. For MSNBC, I hired a Friend. Yes, I’m not embarrassed to say that, I went on RentAFriend.com, entered in zip code 10001 and went down the list until I found a Friend who looked as if they could play the role of the Vice President of the RentAFriend.com. They gladly accepted, I gladly paid, and it turned out great. (If you search for the RentAFriend.com Today Show episode you will see the RentAFriend.com story lasted about 5 minutes, but the interview of me took about 5 seconds and it took place in my office in my house. If you watch the MSNBC interview the person who I rented to fill in for me is not mentioned as the VP of RentAFriend.com anywhere on the net for the fact that there is no VP. I was a made up position to attach to a Friend who did the interview for me.

So building the website is was important to realize that there might not be a lot of people who would pick up the phone and call a Friend like myself, so I created an anonymous messaging system. I wanted to send emails to people, but I didn’t want my email address appearing when I messaged them. When a new member signs up to the website they can call the Friend or they can send the Friend a message. The member can decide what information if any they want to share with the Friend when they contact them. This allows for the members to contact who they want without revealing themselves until they are ready to. If the member doesn’t feel a connection in the emails back and forth, the member can stop communicating and the Friend will never know their real identity.

I pay my own credit card bill, so it’s not a big issue to me, but there are many people who don’t want to televise that they are a member of a website because their credit card bill shows the site name. I don’t even want my credit card company to know that I have a membership to a website called “RentAFriend.com”. It’s not that I’m ashamed, I just don’t feel my membership to a website should be anyone’s business but my own, so when I setup the site, all charges on credit cards will appear a RAF. It’s just a little way to not ever have to worry about explaining to someone why your credit card has a charge to a website called RentAFriend.com

I truly believe that RentAFriend.com is a great service, and with over 2500 members and almost 300,000 Friends it seems as if many people also feel the same way.

Of course if you do use RentAFriend.com, follow safety rules that you would expect from a dating website or when meeting a stranger. Always meet in public, always have a cell phone and your own mode of transportation (either a car, or money for a bus or cab). Never go to someone’s house, and if you are uncomfortable at any time leave. Use common sense.

I wanted RentAFriend.com to be an open book. There are no secrets. The website is strictly for platonic friendship only and all searches are free. The only time you have to pay is if you want to become a member and contact the Friends.

If you made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time to read it all. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I get a lot of emails, but I personally respond to all of them. Good luck to everyone out there!
Scott
Scott (at) RentAFriend.com (replace the word “at” with @)

mrentropy's avatar

@ScottRentAFriend I did read the whole thing and I feel kind of impressed. Thank you for taking the time to explain your site a bit more and for the background information. For some reason, though, I have a sudden hankering for going to Disney World.

When I’m ready to step out I think I just may use of your service.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@ScottRentAFriend I read through the whole post as well. I wish your site had been around when I moved to Minneapolis, was working shifts and it was frowned upon to fraternize with co-workers as a manager. I knew no one in the city and relatives were far away. It would have been nice to have hired a ‘friend’ who was willing to show me what the Twin Cities had to offer.

Thank you for sharing the vision and mission of your site, as well as the stories. I looked at it when mrentropy’s question was first posted and brushed it away for personal reasons that had nothing to do with the site.

And welcome to Fluther!

MissAnthrope's avatar

I love that one of the possible activities people can tick is ‘wingman/wingwoman’. I feel weird about paying someone to hang out with me, but I certainly could use a competent wingman. ;)

@mrentropy – I hadn’t known about your ordeal and I’m very sorry to hear it now. You have my sympathies for all that you’ve gone through. I don’t think there’s any more need to freak out about hanging out with someone from RAF than any other website. I mean, use your noggin and take precautions, you should be all right.

It’s an interesting idea. Personally, I’m a bit put off by the paying part of RAF. Yeah, I’d totally pay someone to be my local-with-the-know or whatever, if I were traveling. Just, as I think about it, I realize paying for a friends is much like paying for sex.. not something that makes me feel great. But that’s just me.. if it sounds like the perfect solution for you, I say go for it!

I’m actually kind of in the same spot of having moved back home after 10 years and finding that my friends have either moved away or are too busy having babies and shit. I have one friend that I met recently, all my other friends live far away. And I have social anxiety, so I don’t meet people easily. So, I understand. Just know (and sorry, Scott) that there are other ways to make friends if you are questioning this method. @liminal mentioned my #1 recommendation, MeetUp.com. It’s kind of insane how many groups and activities there are, truly something for everyone. Check out your local community/rec center for classes and activities, as well. I was surprised to find that the one in my county actually has several classes I’d like to take.

It’s too bad you don’t live closer.. there’s nothing I like better than giving people the royal guided tour of SF. :)

mrentropy's avatar

Thanks @MissAnthrope :) It’s not that I’m freaked out, really, it’s getting me to actually do something. If I make plans with someone I’m more likely to do it than if it’s just for me.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther