It can be pretty lonely at the top.
For those who have money to burn but no one to spend it with, a Japanese company has a solution in the form of friends for hire.
The company, Family Romance, has a service called Real Appeal. You’ll be able to select gender, age and “appearance” of your companions for large and small events ranging from drinks with a couple of guys, to large birthday parties.
The service includes “unlimited pictures for social networking, free of charge,” the website says.
It also lists a range of examples in which you might need to hire friends. These include holiday pictures for Facebook, in which you’d like to include a friend or two. “I want to look like I have a nice network of connections, and I’d like to upload photos. Let’s solve this problem with Family Romance agents.”
In another scenario, the company offers to help you mimic the kind of pictures your more popular friends are posting of their parties. “The staff are happy to stand in as substitutes,” it says.
Naturally, these things don’t come cheap. Two hours costs up to 8,000 yen ($70) for each person you hire, and you have to pay for their transportation fees and whatever they consume at your party.
One of the customer testimonials on the site recounts a trip out to the seaside, where she was able to post many pictures to Instagram and her blog. She also notes that she was pleased to get likes and positive comments on her pictures.
Obviously, this is pretty sad stuff. But its mere existence speaks volumes about the growing link between likes and followers and self-worth.
Rather than throwing a fake party, there are plenty of other ways you could spend your time. You might even make a couple of real friends in the process.