[I]ncreasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?
Most children naturally seek close friends. In a survey of nearly 3,000 Americans ages 8 to 24 conducted last year by Harris Interactive, 94 percent said they had at least one close friend. But the classic best-friend bond — the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school — signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity, in part because of concerns about cliques and bullying.
“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”
“Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” she continued. “We say he doesn’t need a best friend.”
In a not-so-secret double life, Jennifer Morrison is simply “Jennifer,” platonic friend for hire.
The reservation-taker at a popular Las Vegas restaurant has accepted cash to show an introverted, out-of-town computer programmer around the Pinball Hall of Fame and the Bellagio’s famous dancing fountains…
It’s all because of a new arrival to the Web-fueled, rent-an-everything revolution — Rentafriend.com…
Ori Brafman, co-author with brother Rom of the new book “Click: The Magic of Instant Connections,” said the concept “seems really tragic, kind of surreally tragic” in ways that sex services don’t because it symbolizes the worst kind of social isolation.
“The danger isn’t Rentafriend per se, but rather what it symbolizes,” he said. “We purchase fleeting replacements because, as a society, we lack those close, meaningful bonds that our so essential. “