A consultant/life-coach is someone who provides one-on-one attention to people [who don’t need psychiatric counseling]. It fits the description of a ‘friend’, without requiring you do to anything for the other person. A lot of people think there’s a stigma with hiring support, but in a day-and-age where people are characteristically antisocial, I think hiring someone specifically to pay attention to you is the best option.
Most of the online digital-age social interactions are half-hearted, and superficial; lacking a personal touch. Old and young alike notice this lack of empathy in our digital interactions, and very few people know how to counteract it.
-I once worked at a life-coaching company. The company was tailored to fit the needs of high-functioning business people, who lacked a real social circle. The service wasn’t anything ground breaking, and basically offered the illusion of friendship. The clients were frequently middle aged professionals who were always in ‘work mode’, and weren’t able to candidly talk with anyone about their lives.
-Young people could also benefit from some 1-on-1 time. Even brilliant well-adjusted teenagers crave social interaction, but are often isolated by the pressure to keep focusing on their education. A tutor, or a life coach, could be there to give them all the encouragement in the world. Someone dedicated to their personal needs, while keeping them focused on their goals.
The monetization of companionship in the modern age is already in motion. In Japan, you can hire people to spend time with you, cuddle you, listen to your troubles, and lay next to you as you fall asleep. Literally, rent-a-companion. The idea commoditizes the romance industry. Digital forums/social media means that people no longer ‘need’ each other for socializing, which makes friendship/companionship a luxury service.
But this idea is slow to catch on it America, in part, because of the negative stigma associated with admitting social maladjustment. Americans have underlying disorders caused by repetitive stress factors, so they don’t take mental ailments seriously. Especially something as plain as ‘loneliness’.