January 13, 2017
Can technology ever replace friendships, community and companionship?
Friendship and companionship has been around since the beginning of time. We’ve lived in tribes since the beginning.
Equally, the service sector has existed for quite some time. Caring and advisory services, like doctors/healers, village elders, lawyers and wise old men are some of the oldest professions within our communities. They would have advised clients, offered their services, knowledge and their time. They would have had their clients’ best interests at heart, and they then would have charged for their services – either in money, food, exchange of services, or even just kudos.
More recently, the services industry is booming. It’s common in our daily lives to hire plumbers for the bathroom, a tech wiz for the laptop, and a lawyer, physiotherapist, psychologist or brain surgeon – as and when needed. These people are there when you need them. They care for you, they carry out their duties with utmost dedication, and they receive payment on conclusion.
Someone to lean on
Could the same be emulated with friendship? By friendship, I mean companionship, company, a platonic relationship. Or even just someone to talk to and enjoyably share passing moments with. What is the essence of friendship that has kept it outside the realm of commercial or technological development for so long?
People could feel that if someone’s being paid to be a friend, then it renders the relationship as disingenuous, and thus self-defeating. Yet, the same argument could be applied to any other service. For example, a lawyer is paid to represent you, and a doctor is paid to cure you. Yet, they are very genuinely committed to achieving what they set out to do, and the generally get great results. In that respect, you’re as much a partner to the doctor, as you are with a friend, in both getting to your desired goals.
People pay to see counsellors, psychologists, and self-help gurus. We might share our deepest thoughts and secrets with our psychologist – things that we might never share with our closest loved ones. In fact, sometimes we might be able to communicate, explore and bond better with a psychologist exactly because there is that degree of separation. And doubtless, people can feel much better and greatly benefit from these interactions.
We’ve all been under the wonderful care of a nurse, physiotherapist or similar. Their care and attention is so genuine, and mutually rewarding. Yet they’re also being paid, and probably wouldn’t be there is they weren’t getting the pay cheque. Considering this, they are still excellent and assuring company when present, and the fact there being paid doesn’t detract from this.
Hire a husband?
Is it possible to hire someone to be a friend? Can you hire a friend the same way that you can hire a plumber, nurse or a local architectural firm?
Australia has a very popular company called “Hire a Husband”. This company connects people that need someone to do tasks around the home that essentially a husband might normally do – things light replacing a light bulb, mowing the lawn, or some basic DIY.
Is hiring a friend a possibility?
Relationships at your fingertips
It seems that the friendships and companionship is the final frontier for the technology advancement – yet, we’re making inroads.
Dating apps are now ubiquitous for the younger generation. People meet via iPhone apps these days, instead of at pubs or sports clubs.
It’s important to keep good company: Interested in trying our phone-based companionship and personal development services? Join our mailing list today and get a free 25-minute trial session.
Meet-up websites offer a platform for people to run meetings, and hold real-life events, for people of any specific interests. For example, there might be a gardening meet-up group happening around the corner from you next Saturday, or a cinema meet-up group every second Thursday. Online chat forums – allowing people that share any interest you could possibly imagine to connect and chat – have been happening since the beginning of the internet.
But did you know you can actually rent a friend? There’s a US based website offering this exact service – as explored in this BBC article. For a small fee, you can have a dedicated friend for the day.
Our life online
We’re now doing more and more things online as technology creeps deeper into every corner of daily life. Social media allows us to be more conveniently connected, but it’s also pushing us further apart and increasing isolation (read more).
There’s now people asking how we can use technology and the internet to help people reconnect with those basic needs of communication, friendship and companionship. Keeping Good Company is one of those companies. Why are so many people sitting isolated and lonely at home, if technology can cheaply and effectively provide a conduit for conversation and companionship. We just need to connect people. We offer a simple solution to a basic human need – we’re fighting the loneliness epidemic within the UK elderly population.
A telephone chat might not be as good as someone sitting on the sofa beside you, but it’s certainly not bad. There are 3.9m elderly in the UK that say their TV is their only company – having a jolly good chat and friend over the phone must be far better than the what the TV offers these days
While Keeping Good Company feel that a true friendship is hard to forge within a structured environment, there’s a lot of opportunity to create great buddies. People you can chat to, share things with, spend time with and discuss, explore and build common interests.
Keeping Good Company offers phone communication and companionship for the elderly – it’s a low-tech solution to a basic human need. There’s too many lonely elderly in the UK. We’re waging war on isolation and getting more people chatting, communicating and benefiting from great companionship.