Friends welcome - relatives by appointment. Except that some people are so short of friends they have to pay people to show an interest. How sad is that? Rent a Friend is a new website coming here from America this week. Lonely souls will pay for pals at an hourly rate.
Sounds OK. Lots of people move to a new town or work unsocial hours so need a helping hand. Good luck to them. Most of us can manage to pick up a few friends along the way just by being, well, friendly.
Sitting at a PC is great for Facebook contacts, but what happens if the rented pal just finds the whole thing so excruciatingly boring they would rather use their eyeballs as a ash tray than see the new "friend" again? Just when all seemed to be going so swimmingly. Big blow to a shy boy's confidence.
That's the trouble when it's for money. Sincerity goes out of the window. And even if you do genuinely like each other, once a few quid have changed hands the relationship is skewed forever.