For many people, having large amounts of friends is a sign of a positive personality and an active social life. Sharing photos on social media that show you surrounded by others is a sign that you are personable and that people love you!
Well, that’s the pitch behind Japanese company Family Romance’s “Real Appeal” service. For a measly 8,000 yen ($71), you can “rent a friend” to pose for photos with you in a social setting of your choice. You can later share these images on social media to show your online friends how awesome you are in real life.
Customers can request “friends” based on age, gender, and other visual traits provided Family Romance has an employee that fits the criteria. High rollers can even hire multiple friends at once, giving an even larger impression of social prowess.
In fact, one customer testimonial recanted how they hired 10 Family Romance staffers to help celebrate his birthday.
I requested 10 Family Romance staff members pose as my friends, and we held a birthday party for me at a famous hotel in Tokyo, having a few drinks at the bar with a beautiful view of the night skyline. After that, we went to my room to drink some more, they presented me with a cake, and I took a lot of selfies (LOL). I’ve been busy lately, so it was a fun time and I was able to share some good photos on Facebook and Twitter.
Besides having a get-together with hired friends (which may positively affect mental health), Family Romance says their service is a great way to get back at ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Dumped for the next-door neighbor? Hire a staff member to pose as your new significant other to show that you’ve moved on too! You can hire the person repeatedly so you can keep up the charade until you actually find a new lover.
Hanayamata © Sō Hamayumiba / Houbunsha / Madhouse / Hanayamata Production Committee
Yeah, it may seem fun, but Family Romance’s service is not cheap. It’s 8,000 yen ($71) per person you hire, and that only gives you 2 hours of friendship. Clients are also responsible for travel expenses.
For some people, the cost of maintaining a certain image is worth the price. But, the rest of us will be happy with our pets.