One very common complaint from the tech industry in San Francisco is the obvious lack of women. I don’t mean that women are needed to create software – this is not a write up about gender in the workplace. Rather, I am merely referring to Manti Te’o fake Twitter girlfriend incident and other technology that fosters these imaginary, online relationships. First, let’s examine three possibilities for creating your fake relationship on Facebook.

  • One very easy but pricey option is through Namorofake, a company that offers various price points depending on how long you want your relationship to last. For $99, you can have a fake girlfriend send you 30 messages for an entire month. According to the site, there are no available “girlfriends” so you might have to do some personal fakery if you are in a hurry.
  • Fakegirlfriend.co is another example that sends your Facebook wall messages that you create, but you have to sign up for their phone account. The sign-up form feels like a scam, because anyone technologically savvy is capable of sending messages from free fake Facebook accounts. You shouldn’t need a phone account with another provider to send yourself fake messages that you write. This brings us to our last option.
  • The most obvious and easiest way to create a fake girlfriend is to do it yourself – this wikiHow outlines the 7 steps to socially legitimize your significant imaginary other. The wiki is extensive and well detailed, but it’s not the only one. There are numerous others that can help. After all of that work (or money), you might think that having a fake relationship costs as much money and effort as a real one.

In all seriousness, there are users out there who have very legitimate reasons to create fake relationships. In fact, I was astounded to read on the Daily Beast how many reasonable fake girlfriend situations existed:

I’m a guy and in high school I bragged about a fake girlfriend. My reason was because I’m gay. – G.D.

When I was in high school, all of the people around me started meeting and sexually experimenting with girls before I did. I was pudgy, awkward, and generally not ready for that stage of life yet. So I created a girl that I’d met at camp and used her as a general excuse for not flirting with girls in my immediate vicinity. Eventually it became a form of storytelling for me as the stories got more elaborate and eventually more salacious. It lasted longer than I’d like to admit.  – Anonymous

Social networks, for whatever they are worth, can offer some escape from real world requirements for relationships. They can help us cope with the offenses that we cannot do without fabricating our life. When I was in my younger years in college, I joked that having a fake relationship can help me say no to aggressive suitors. I never did, but one very close friend of mine created a humorous Facebook account imitating a terrible popstar. They were “Facebook married.”

There’s also been an influx of technology for finding relationships. Uber and Grouper are just one of many apps that are teaming up to set up random meetings for strangers. Grub With Us in San Francisco sets up meals for foodies – to meet other foodies. In fact, there are probably as many technological opportunities to create relationships in real life as there are technologies that reveal those relationships. As start-up developers spend a large portion of their time away from actual people – I can’t help but wonder what sort of relationship needs they have that can also apply to the rest of the world. Facebook is not going anywhere soon, so until there are other means of finding and retaining the perfect girlfriend, having imaginary ones don’t seem all that blasphemous.