Popular US-based service 'Rent a Friend' has been launched in the UK.
Rent a Friend allows users to hire a 'friend' for an innocent date at a cost of £6.50 per hour.
The service, which is already popular in the US, boasts over 2,000 subscribers who pay a monthly fee of $25 to access a database of 218,000 'friends for hire' offering themselves as company at social events, family gatherings, cinema visits or meals out.
The Rent a Friend US website explains: “Whether you are looking to hire a friendly companion to attend a social event or party with you, someone to introduce you to new people, or someone to go to movie or a restaurant with, RentAFriend.com can help.”
Scott Rosenbaum, the New Jersey based founder of the service, said that the website "takes a step back" from dating portals and offers something "strictly platonic".
"No one was offering friendship," he said.
Popular activities that people in the US are renting friends for include snow boarding, going to bar, as a workout partner and for Yoga.