There are countless possible reasons for it, but loneliness and the demand for rent-a-friend services are fast becoming one of the world’s most widespread trends.

Global mobility, the decreasing attractiveness of organised religion and remote working, amongst other factors, are contributing to a phenomenon where it is not just the elderly who find themselves living alone and isolated from a regular social group.

The wrist-slitting result is that a growing gap in the market is revealing itself for professional ‘rent-a-friend’ services. Now we’re not talking about

Now we’re not talking about that kind of friend, rather a simple platonic connection with another living, breathing, imperfect human being.

The basic view is that younger people should have the resources to find and create their own friendships and romances. But many younger people are clearly having trouble in this department. The Mental Health Foundation’s Lonely Society report found that 18- to 34-year-olds were more likely to suffer from loneliness than those over 55, and it suggested that loneliness might be having a cohort effect, with younger generations feeling progressively more isolated.

It’s also the case that many of the health effects associated with loneliness are cumulative: if we want to prevent loneliness-related cardiovascular disease among 60-year-olds, we need to start addressing social connection among people in their 20s. via

So, if you are looking to start a business which HUGE potential future revenue upside – then consider starting a rent-a-friend service in your area. It might be a monthly dinner club, social walking groups or a fight club. The creative possibilities here are clearly endless.

Right now it obviously sounds a little weird, but as people in the future choose to live their lives in a more isolated manner, you’ll never be without a constant stream of demand.