With smartphones and social media, it's become so much easier to connect with friends from all over the world. But now, SNS accounts have become more than just a way to keep in touch with others; they've turned into detailed profiles of individuals and their lives (or at least the part of their lives they want others to see), and a place to showcase everything from their daily shenanigans to their life-changing adventures. In fact, companies are even known to search personal profiles to help them get a grasp of the characteristics of a potential employee.

But in contrast to all the people with awesome pictures and hundreds — even thousands — of friends, what about the people who don't have any friends and have nothing to show? Even though it shouldn't matter, those immersed in the world of social media often become worried that they'll come across as anti-social, boring, and uncool.

Hoping to help such individuals keep up their online reputation, Japanese company Family Romance is offering a service where they dispatch staff members to pose for photos with clients. Clients will of course be paying to take pictures with total strangers, but living in the kind of society where image matters, such services have been found to be lifesaving for many.

Clients can make requests for "friends" of specific genders, ages, and visual characteristics to create the illusion of a thriving social life to cover up a "boring" life on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Besides this "fake friends" service, the company also receives plenty of requests to assist clients in making ex-boyfriends and girlfriends jealous.

But great returns come at great costs, and Family Romance’s rent-a-friend services can cost from 8,000 yen (US$71.86) and above, with a minimum booking time of two hours. Hotels, travel expenses, and any other fees are also to be paid by the client.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.