These days, most of us don’t need an incentive to spend most of our day talking to friends, or even random people, on social media. But imagine if you actually got paid to be an online friend?
And no, it does not involve illegal or unsavory activities like chatting up a creepy stranger. It just focuses on providing companionship to people who are seeking it.
Today, a lot of people suffer from a lack of social life due to their grueling academic studies, their jobs, or some other issues. These social shifts have resulted in a lack of real friends one can talk to. Thanks to the internet, though, people have now come up with several ways to meet this need.
Additionally, it has also presented a money-making opportunity for other extrovert and social people. There are several sites which offer payment in return for companionships, while many other people are also trying it as a freelance gig.
How Does Becoming an Online Friend Work?
The process of becoming a paid online friend is pretty straightforward. However, for those of you who are getting any funny ideas, it is very different from running a dating site or an escort service.
Typically, the friendship is of a platonic kind, but it is up to both the people involved to define the parameters of their friendship.
Most of the online sites that offer you services to get paid to be an online friend will require you to register yourself by setting up an account with them. They will also pass you through a few tests or converse with you to help determine your personality and whether you are the right person for people who are looking for companionship to talk to.
While you are setting up your account, you will be asked to create a profile of yourself. This is a crucial and necessary step as that will enclose a detailed description of your talents, abilities, hobbies, aspirations, and personality, to name a few things. The better your profile, the better you can attract potential new friends for yourself. As such, people who come from diverse backgrounds, speak multiple languages, and have extensive knowledge of different cultures can have an advantage over others.
Once you set up your profile, the next step is to ensure that you are paid (which is the main reason, besides friendship, that you are doing this).
Most of these online “friend rental” sites can send you your earnings through electronic payment gateways like Paypal or visa. Some companies give you a negotiable flat-rate for every time you interact with a client for an hour, while others will let you set up your own customized fee, within limits.
Sites that let you set up your own rates usually take a percentage of your earnings as commission.
Once everything is set up, you will be available for potential clients to find based on their preferred country or location. Your clients can pore over your profile page, and if they think you have a few things common with them, they might contact you. Usually, the modes of communications are text messages or calls.
For those of you who are interested, being an online friend can be a fun and rewarding side job.
How Much Can You Get Paid to be an Online Friend
This depends on a lot of factors, including how well-known the site is among internet users. Some other factors also include the rate of hourly charges, how many hours you spend talking online, and how available you are. Most importantly, the level of your interpersonal skills will also determine how much you are paid.
Typically, these online sites can allow you to charge anywhere from $10 to $50. Therefore, if you are paid $25 for an hour, and you are available online five hours every day, you can make a whopping $625 per week, and still have weekends off.
That’s quite a substantial amount of money for a side gig.
If you want to increase the amount of online income coming your way, you can always increase your availability and work on improving your interpersonal skills to get a higher hourly rate.
As mentioned above, another great thing about working as an online friend is that you can work on your own time, as little or as much as you want. Some people only work on the platform a few hours a week, while for others, being an online friend is a full-time, 5-days-a-week job.
How much you earn to be an online friend is also dependent on your demand. For example, if you are from a small town whose name nobody has heard, you may have fewer friend requests than those who belong to hip-and-happening populated metropolitan cities, since people from those areas have more topics to talk about.
Additionally, you may be recommended to people looking for online friends if you are kind and caring, willing to listen, appear interested, knowledgeable about different topics, open-minded and non-judgmental, and interested in pop-culture.
Who Should Become an Online Friend?
Although becoming an online friend seems fun and easy, this kind of platform is not everyone’s piece of cake — especially people who have introverted personalities.
Certainly, the entire concept of making online friends of random strangers and chatting casually with them may seem alien, awkward, and nightmarish for people who don’t like to talk much or suffer from social anxiety.
However, this can be a dream job for outgoing social animals who can easily mingle with people from all environments and with all sorts of personalities. Therefore, for young outgoing university students or professionals, this can be a great way to get paid, even as they go about their daily schedule.
In contrast, most of the clients that will pay you to be their online friend will typically be socially-shy introverts, people who have very busy work schedules, and people who have recently arrived from other countries.
Is This Kind of Online Gig Safe?
The best part of working for an online friend site is that you have a lot of control over what sort of people you want to interact with:
Only paying members can contact you: Just because you are an online friend doesn’t mean you are up for grabs for everyone. Only paying members can contact you. If you have done your research well, that means your clients will be vetted and legit.
Choice of communication: Typically, online friend sites give you two basic choices of communications: text messaging or phone calls. You can choose whether you want only to text your clients or make yourself open to phone calls as well. Most websites may allow you to control this via your profile settings. Remember, though, that your preferred mode of communication may affect the price you can charge your client.
You can reject any client: As an online friend, you are not obligated to accept friendship requests from all clients. If you feel you won’t be comfortable talking with, or cannot relate to, a particular person, you have a right not to accept being their online friend. Good online friend websites also take complaints seriously, so if a client violates policy and abuses you, they can be banned from the network.
As with all online jobs, scams are a definite possibility and cyber-bullying, internet trolling, and online sexual harassment are all unfortunate realities. However, that does not mean there are no legitimate sites that cater to connect online friends and clients. However, it is still always best to be cautious. Here are some ways you can keep yourself protected.
Check for Secure Sites: One of the ways you can protect yourself from scams and illegal cyber activities is to find secure sites. You can identify those by looking for a lock symbol at the start of the URL address. Most scam sites do not have this feature. The lock symbol means all your data will be encrypted and anyone who drops in on the site cannot see your personal or private information like your real name, phone number, or address.
A secure site will make sure all your private data and information is safe with them, and your identity cannot be leaked outside. When you do online work like this, it is doubly important to make sure your identity is safe, and only secured sites can give you this added layer of protection.
Research Reviews: Before deciding on joining an online friend site, do thorough research on it and check out reviews and testimonies from people who have actually worked there. In fact, this is also true for people who want to find a friend online. Both the client and the online friend should do through research to find out the site they are working with or visiting is legitimate and legal.
If you can find people who have previously worked with the online friend company, you can mine a heap of good information from them. Be careful though that not all former employees may be truthful, particularly if they were kicked out from the company due to a breach of contract. So, make sure you contact as many people as you possibly can before you decide to join.
You may see some complaints for the business, however, these should not concern you overly much, especially if the positive reviews overshadow the negative ones. Be warned though that if a business has 100% good reviews, it is usually a sign that these testimonies are fake and were planted by the company itself. So avoid such sites. After all, even mega- giant companies, like Apple, don’t have 100% satisfied customer base.
In the same vein, don’t go for companies that have majority negative reviews.
Companies That Ask Money In Advance: As an online friend who is using the company’s platform to earn money, you will be required to pay a certain percentage of commission to the online friend company.A red flag that a site is not entirely legitimate is if they ask you for money upfront for setting you up as an online friend. They may ask you for advance payment on the pretext of startup or administrative fees, or give you some other valid-sounding reason. Never begin working for such companies as this is the one of the biggest sign that a scam is at works and you will probably never see your money again nor hear from the business ever again.
These scams happen across all industries, not just the online industry, so be extra careful to avoid this. Legitimate online friend sites will never ask you to pay an upfront fee.
Last ConsiderationOne of the issues you may face as an online friend is that some of your repeat clients may get attached to you. Since most of you only do this as business, some of your clients may get their feelings hurt if they start expecting real life friendship from you.
Even though you are in it for the money, it is a good idea to keep your clients’ feelings in mind, as well. Many of them are lonely people and are just looking for some compassion and companionship, so don’t shut them down. Instead, make sure they understand from the get go how the system works.
Alienating a client not just means hurt feelings, but also negative reviews for you. But if you are understanding and responsible, a satisfied client can help you get even more business to you.
With millions of people looking for someone to talk to, online friendship websites can be a godsend. In fact, they are a win-win situation for both sides.
A person looking for a friend gets one in just a few minutes, and you can do your good deed of the day and make some money on the side as well.
What’s more, the timings are very flexible, you don’t need a specialized skill to earn money, and it is fun. In fact, online friends have also made lasting friendships with their clients and become their IRL friends too.
So, if you think you have what it takes to be an online friend, do some research, set up a profile on a good website, and let us know how it goes for you.