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I have a hard time scheduling meetups with friends lately. This has started since I have begun a day-job, and thus have less free time.

Often, both parties are interested at meeting up, but the time it takes to actually schedule it can take so long that it starts to feel like a drag.

Often, the conversation is a back-and-forth of different dates and plans, often I can't make it, or the other person can't make it. Or people forget to reply.

It often looks like this:

Me: Hey, long time no see, how would you like to meetup sometime soon and do X?

Other person: Yes, it has been a long time. That sounds good, but I can't make it that night, how about date Y?

Me: I cannot make it on date Y, how about date Z? (by this point, specific plans have been abandoned and I focus on first getting an date set)

Other person: No, that does not work for me. (sometimes suggests a new date)

From this point on, either we figure out an date, or the conversation kinda dies here.

Is there a more effective way of doing this? Or at least a way to waste less energy when meeting up is not feasible.

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I run into this problem because I have an old friend (all the way back to grade school) who lives 3 time zones off from me. We like to have long calls on the weekend every month or so to catch up, but scheduling them can be a bit of a pain due to the time difference, and the fact that I have to cram my non-work life into weekends, so lots going on.

The solution is that the person starting the conversation doesn't specify one particular day / time, but rather a couple, e.g. "Would you like to talk this weekend? I'm going to be busy with chores Saturday till x, and I'm running Sunday morning, but I could do a call either Saturday from y to z, or Sunday afternoon. What works for you?".

Usually that makes it pretty easy for the 2nd party to pick out an agreeable time. It also makes it pretty easy to tell very quickly when things just aren't going to work. I highly recommend it.

It's similar to the way computer protocols negotiate parameters. For example, SSL starts with an exchange where the client says "here are the cipher suites I support" and the server picks on and says "ok, let's use this one" (SSL/TLS Handshake Overview)

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    I'm backing this solution too, works very well for me and the bf. I have a regular job (Monday to Friday, business hours) and he works in the entertainment industry, so lots of busy weekends and crazy hours. We basically let each other know upfront the dates we will be too busy and schedule proposed activities around it. – Juliana Karasawa Souza Nov 1 '19 at 10:07
  • For a web tool that does this (helpful for larger groups), I'll recommend when2meet.com – jsarbour Nov 11 '19 at 18:09

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