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You can earn a living doing some pretty wild things these days. Things that would seem absolutely nuts to our grandparents.
One of those things is to get paid to be an online friend.
You can support yourself (with a potential full-time income) by just being friends with people.
That said, this isn’t something anyone can do. And it’s a bit more complicated than many people make it look.
Before we get into how to earn money as a virtual friend, a quick definition:
Table of Contents
- What is a virtual friend?
- How much can you get paid as a virtual friend?
- How to become a virtual friend, step-by-step
- How to get paid to be an online friend (5 ways)
- How to stay safe as a virtual friend
- How hard is it to make money as an online friend?
- Alternatives to being a virtual friend
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a virtual friend?
A virtual friend is someone who pays for your companionship online.
Plenty of people are looking for someone to talk to. Loneliness is a huge problem. Many don’t have close friends to hang out with or don’t want the commitment of being in a relationship.
But, with the exception of hermits, all humans crave interaction with others from time to time.
Some people just need someone impartial to talk to during tough times.
Some people sick of shallow social media interaction and are starved for real social connection (even if it means paying for it).
And some people just want a good ol’ wingman (or wingwomen).
In today’s day and age, finding these connections is easier than ever with companies that let you get paid to be an online friend.
This means you not only make money on the side by being a virtual friend, but it could give someone a new lease on social life.
Virtual friends are also great for people with disabilities who can’t get out of the house, the elderly, and those with social anxiety who struggle to interact with people face-to-face.
A virtual friend exists purely to offer companionship. It’s a platonic relationship that could exist through simple conversation, video calls, or even playing online games. All interactions occur online, and these friends don’t usually meet up face-to-face.
That said, you might start simply getting paid to talk to lonely people… but you never know where a virtual friendship might lead.
For more easy ways to earn, check out this guide to the best freelance jobs online for beginners.
How much can you get paid as a virtual friend?
A virtual friend works as a self-employed contractor at an hourly rate.
Here’s how much you can make as an online friend, according to Rent a Friend:
- Friends offering basic companionship services can charge $20 per hour.
- Those with specialized skills or interests can make up to $50 per hour. So a skilled full-time friend could theoretically make up to $2,000 per week.
That’s a big range. So, what exactly affects your pay rate?
Well, as with many jobs, the longer you’ve been doing something and the more experience you have, the more you can charge.
Plus, the more time you spend with an individual client, the more they will want to share with you. This can also lead to higher wages.
It might feel a little mean to charge people to be their friend. But just remember, you are providing them with a service they desperately need.
If it makes you feel better, you can think of yourself as an informal psychologist.
And if it still doesn’t feel right, check out these other ways to make 300 dollars fast online (or more).
Before you get too excited about earning $50 an hour or $2,000 per week, it’s important to be realistic.
Yes, the Rent a Friend website mentions $50 per hour, and I’m sure some users charge that much.
But the website also says most friends start at $10 an hour, and many are willing to negotiate (or even waive fees altogether) depending on the activities involved.
If you set your rates at $50 and are competing with friends that charge $10, you better be pretty dang special if you want any bites.
It’s also unlikely that you’ll book out your entire schedule unless you find several regular clients.
That said, it’s super easy to get started…
How to become a virtual friend, step-by-step
Most companies on this list involve some sort of initiation process before you start working.
Normally, you have to:
1. Sign up to the platform
The easiest way to get virtual friend jobs is by signing up to an online friends site or application. Filling in your info helps match you with people with similar interests. It also ensures you’re both in a similar time zone.
This is a key step in the process, and you must fill out all of your info accurately. If you don’t, you could end up matched with someone you don’t get along with or who has a 12-hour time difference. That friendship wouldn’t last long!
2. Take a personality test
The next step is usually some sort of personality quiz.
Your personality type is important in determining friend compatibility and helps the company find matches for you.
And don’t worry, this isn’t a job for only people who are extroverts. Introverts may find this virtual work more rewarding than going out in public. Plus, it could help build confidence for both you and your online friend.
3. Describe yourself and your personality
Companies also want to know about you from your perspective.
It’s your chance to tell people who you are, what you’re like, and what interests and skills you have.
Include anything that might help you stand out, like hobbies, favorite books and films, and foreign language skills.
4. Provide your payment details
Most online friend platforms pay via Paypal or electronic bank transfer. So, don’t forget to give the company your details, or they won’t be able to pay you.
Different virtual friend sites pay differently. For example, some pay at the end of each working week, others pay on the last day of the month, and some pay after every job.
Whichever company you decide to work for, be sure to note down what payment method they use and when you can expect to receive your money.
5. Activate your profile
Once your profile is complete, you’ll be visible to people looking for friends, and good to go. All that’s left is waiting for friend requests
Note: If you like the idea of getting paid to talk, here are 20 other little-known ways to earn money by chatting.
How to get paid to be an online friend (5 ways)
As you’ll see, there are several different platforms you can use to find clients. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but there’s nothing stopping you from trying them all to see which works best.
1. Rent a Friend
Rent a Friend is a website dedicated to providing friendship or companionship for lonely people. It technically covers both in-person and online friends, but we’ll focus on Rent a Friend Online.
Available in both the UK and the US, the site matches you with friends based on a short questionnaire. If you match, the two of you can email, instant message, or set up a video call using services like Skype.
Clients can also find your profile by searching the platform’s database directly.
Here’s what an example profile looks like:
Rent a Friend earns by charging clients a small membership fee. That means you, the friend, get to keep everything you earn through the site.
How much money do you make on Rent a Friend?
You can make $10+ per hour on Rent a Friend. Most new friends start with a base rate of $10, then go up from there. You set your own prices and can charge extra for special activities like online gaming or participating in an online cooking class together.
Is Rent a Friend legit?
Rent a Friend is a real website and people all over the world use it to find virtual friends. You can find people to do a range of activities including things like online baking courses, online gaming, or even face-to-face meetings with travelers or digital nomads who want a tour of your city.
Is Rent a Friend safe?
Rent a Friend is as safe as this type of organization can be. You are talking to a stranger online, and some people may get the wrong idea. However, the site penalizes anyone who treats your relationship as anything more than friendship, and they advise you to block and report these individuals to them.
With in-person meetups, make sure to take extra precautions like meeting in public places, telling family where you’re going, and sharing your location with them on your phone.
To read people’s experiences using the platform, check out these Rent a Friend reviews.
And here is a pretty entertaining video about Rent a Friend that went viral:
2. Rent a Local Friend
Rent a Local Friend is similar to Rent a Friend — a website that allows you to pay for someone’s company for anything from an hour to a week.
The site focuses more on travelers wanting to make friends with locals, so it also could be a potential place to get paid to chat in English.
In addition to chatting, the platform lets you create cultural experiences, kind of like Airbnb. Potential friends will select you based on your interests, so it’s super important to make your profile as detailed as possible.
You can charge by the day or by the job, and you can set your rates depending on your hobbies and interests.
When setting up your profile, the site says the average rates are $35 per hour. But weirdly, it will only allow you to set your rate to $20 per hour maximum.
This limit may be removed after activating your profile.
But if their $35-per-hour claim is true, that means a full-time friend could theoretically make $5000 a month. This seems like quite a stretch to me, but you never know until you try.
Speaking of which, in order to verify your account, you must make a “contribution” to the Rent a Local Friend network.
When I tried to make a contribution, the only option I could choose was $20.
That said, if you set your rates at $20 per hour (or potentially more), you could recoup your costs with just an hour of friendship services.
Keep in mind, this assumes that someone actually books your services, so there is some risk involved.
3. Rent a Cyber Friend
Rent A Cyber Friend is another site where you can get paid to be a virtual friend. Similar to other friendship sites, they match you with another person based on your interests.
The difference is that Rent A Cyber Friend is 100% online and allows you to charge by the minute.
After scoping out the competition, it seems like most Cyberfriends set their rates between $0.10 and $1.00 per minute.
The platform takes a 20% commission from your fees, so at this range, you’re looking at anywhere between $4.80 and $48 per hour.
You might think charging $1 per hour would be a hard sell, and if you only get clients from their platform, this might be true.
However, they also recommend promoting your profile to your social media followers.
You never know how much a fan would be willing to pay to speak with you — especially if you have specialized knowledge to share.
As an example, I follow one mini-influencer who offers chats for $5 per minute.
All of this makes Rent a Cyber Friend a pretty versatile platform, ideal for freelancers looking for ways to get paid to give advice, as well as people looking for companionship.
FriendPC is another great platform to make money as an online friend.
You can provide simple companionship and socialization. Or you can take things to the next level and offer in-person meet-ups, virtual gaming sessions, tour services (great for solo travelers), and even mentorship and life coaching.
Plus, this is one of the few platforms that allow you to offer a virtual girlfriend/boyfriend service. That might mean charging $5 to $15 per hour to chat on social media, or $15 to $30 per how for phone or video calls.
You only have to offer what feels comfortable to you, and you set all the rules.
This includes choosing your rates, scheduling your calls, and managing your diary for clients. You run your own friendship business and FriendPC merely simplifies the process of online payments.
Whether you want to help people looking for platonic friendships, get paid to talk to lonely people, or even offer more adult conversations, you can do it all on FriendPC.
In addition, they have a referral program, so you can make even more cash if others sign up to be friends via your link.
Lastly, FriendPC pays you the same day as you complete your task. So if you need to get paid ASAP, you won’t have to wait weeks for your paycheck.
On Fiverr, you can get paid to do pretty much any type of gig imaginable, including online friendship.
Just search for “friends” using the search bar, and you’ll see loads of freelance friends offering their services.
Unlike some other platforms, which most people haven’t heard about, Fiverr is a well-established marketplace with systems in place to help you if you have any issues.
Friend-seekers can browse hundreds of profiles and use the advanced filter settings to quickly find a friend for any need. They can also contact you to negotiate a price.
That said, compared to other platforms, Fiverr gigs typically earn on the lower end of the spectrum. And judging by the low number of reviews that the top friends have, it’s not a super popular place to find work.
But it’s free to list your services, so why not give it a shot?
You can expect to earn between $5 to $25 per hour on Fiverr for being an online friend, but the types of packages that sellers offer vary.
For example, some might offer a 3-5 minute chat or video call for $3. Others offer pen pal letters of various lengths and charge accordingly. And others charge a set rate for 30 minutes of friendship and relationship advice.
So, it all depends on what type of friendship you want to offer and how you package your services. You’re not going to get rich or earn six figures on Fiverr, but it can be a good place to get your foot in the door and build experience.
On Fiverr, reviews are super important. So if you want to grow your business, you better be a good friend!
How to Get Paid to Be a Companion on Fiverr
To get paid to be a companion on Fiverr, simply create your gig, set your rates, advertise it, and start attracting clients.
Since Fiverr is such a large platform, odds are someone will be interested in your services, no matter how niche. On the other hand, with such a large volume of traffic, you may need to work a little harder to stand out from the crowd.
How to stay safe as a virtual friend
Staying safe as an online friend is incredibly important. You never know who you’re talking to and both parties need to be on the same page.
Unfortunately, not every user on these sites has been subject to a background check. Not all of them will have honorable intentions either.
So, remember to follow the rules for the site you are using and always use common sense, especially if something doesn’t feel right.
Here are a few precautions to take when becoming a virtual friend:
▶ Be sure to read the person’s profile before getting in touch. You want to make sure these people aren’t looking for anything more than just friendship.
▶ Never share personal information (such as your social security number or bank details) with someone on a virtual friendship site. If they want to pay you outside the platform, they can use safe payment methods like Paypal (or Wise, if you want fewer fees).
▶ If you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to firmly state your boundaries.
▶ These friendships are your choice. If at any time the other person makes you uncomfortable, feel free to either end the conversation, end the friendship, or block them.
▶ There is no rush, and friendship is always a give and take. Take time building up trust levels and get to know each other. Just like you would with a real-life friend.
▶ If you’re using a strictly platonic virtual friendship, report any inappropriate requests directly to the platform.
▶ If you don’t feel comfortable using your real name, it’s perfectly fine to create a fake one.
▶ Stick with sites that use a secure payment platform. If a payment method seems fishy, avoid it.
How hard is it to make money as an online friend?
Rent a Friend is by far the most popular platform on this list. According to SimilarWeb traffic estimates, the website receives roughly 287,000 visits per month.
This may seem like a lot, but if you consider:
#1.) The site has over 620,000 friends available for hire.
#2.) Many of those 287,000 monthly visits are friends offering their services.
…it’s easy to see that competition is steep.
There’s a couple other things to factor in though.
#1.) A large portion of those 620,000 are likely incomplete and inactive profiles, and by staying active on the platform, your profile jumps to the top.
#2.) Rent a Friend has many in-person friends, so if you’re looking for online friendship, you might not have quite as much competition.
#3.) You really only need to find a handful of ongoing clients to earn a nice side income. And if you have some sort of social media following you can promote to, this may not be that difficult.
With that in mind, starting an online friendship side hustle could be worth your while.
Alternatives to being a virtual friend
Working as an online friend might sound fun, but for most people, it won’t be a huge moneymaker.
Here are a few more reliable income streams anyone can do.
1.) Become a virtual assistant
Virtual assistance is one of the best ways to start earning money online.
You basically help solopreneurs and small business owners with virtual tasks they need off their plate.
The cool thing is, you can start with an entry-level position that doesn’t require learning any new skills.
From there, you can gradually start specializing in higher-value skills that allow you to charge more.
To learn about how to get started as a virtual assistant, check out this free class.
2.) Offer freelance writing services
Freelance writing is the way I personally started earning money online.
And after quite a bit of trial and error, I grew it into a $500-$750 per day freelancing business.
You don’t have to be a writing genius to make a good living from freelance writing. If you could write something similar to this blog post that you’re reading, you’ve got what it takes.
If you’re interested in getting started, I made a free course showing exactly how to make your first $1,000 as a freelance writer. Feel free to grab it below.
3.) Start a blog or niche site
This is a strategy for anyone playing the long game.
It takes a lot of front-loaded time and effort to build a money-making website. But if you can power through, it can supply you with a steady supply of passive income each and every month.
This year my wife and I used passive income from niche sites to fund seven months of travel. There’s nothing cooler than seeing your bank balance grow while you’re off riding camels in the Sahara, hot air ballooning in Turkey, and wine-drinking in Portugal.
It will likely take a year or two (at least) of consistent effort to get to this point, and that’s if you’re following a proven plan.
If you’re wondering which proven plan to follow, here are two I personally follow and recommend (which teach two very different strategies).
1️⃣ The Shotgun Strategy (free class)
2️⃣ The Sniper Strategy (free class)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get paid to chat online?
Yes, you can get paid to chat online. There are many websites full of people looking for companionship and someone to talk to, and you can make a good income by becoming a cyber friend.
How do I get paid for virtual friends?
The easiest way to get paid is by using sites like Fiverr, which takes care of everything for you. You can also receive payment via PayPal, Wise, or other online payment platforms. Each platform has its own fee structure, so choose whichever makes the most sense to you.
Is Rent a Friend free?
Yes, if you sign up as a friend, you can advertise yourself for free to potential clients. Only people looking for friends have to pay. This both ensures they are serious about the process and helps protect people from dangers online. As a friend, you keep 100% of what you earn with clients.
Is it legal to get paid to be a companion?
Yes, it’s fully legal to get paid to be a companion. For some people, it’s an opportunity to make money on the side as a freelancer. For others, it just feels good to provide company to someone who needs it.
Is it awkward to get paid to talk to lonely people?
This depends on your personality. For some people, it’s a welcome break from routine to talk with someone new who needs company. For others, it may feel a little awkward and uncomfortable. For most people, virtual friends are a good way to make some money while also helping someone out.
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).