A lot of us would love to spend more time with our friends — but it often takes several rounds of back-and-forth before landing on an evening or weekend when everyone is free.
A shared Google Calendar can solve some of the scheduling issues. Not the part where you have a hard time finding a day when everyone can get together, necessarily, but the part where you have to wait around for everyone to reply to the group text about whether Wednesday or Thursday will work (and there’s always the one friend who doesn’t respond to texts very often, which means everyone else has to hold all of the available dates on their schedule until they get a chance to reply, etc. etc. etc.).
At The Atlantic, Tori Latham writes about how the shared Google Calendar improved her friendships:
Staying true to form — a love of organisation is one of my defining characteristics — I created a shared Google Calendar. Everyone could mark when they would be out of town or otherwise occupied (denoted by an “OOO,” workplace parlance for “out of office”), as well as put down “holds” in advance for larger events (dinners, birthday parties, weekend trips).
To my relief, my friends bought into the idea with only a little cajoling. “Check the G-cal” and “Put it on the G-cal” have become common refrains during our hangouts (even if those statements are sometimes sarcastic and come with an eye roll).
I’ve used shared Google Calendars to plan dates with former boyfriends, so I know the system works — and while my current social group doesn’t share a G-Cal, we still regularly send each other Google Calendar invites to both suggest and formalise hangouts.
Here’s what I love about using G-Cal:
It goes through email, not through text. I am the friend who doesn’t respond to texts very often. My phone is perpetually face-down, on silent, so I can focus on my laptop and get my work done. This includes checking and processing my email, which means I’m much more likely to see and respond to an event invite. (Yes, I know that you can get text notifications on your laptop too. I turned those off the minute I realised they were there.)
It puts friend events on my calendar for me — and takes care of the reminders. I don’t have to remember to transfer a dinner discussion from a text chain to my calendar and nobody has to send out a reminder text.
It makes it very easy to suggest a different time or change plans. If a friend wants to hang out at a time that won’t work for me, I can use G-Cal’s “propose a new time” feature to say yes to the hangout — which makes everyone feel good — while offering a time that might work for both of us. If we had a shared Google Calendar, we wouldn’t even have to do this step (assuming we kept our calendar accurately updated). Likewise, if a friend invites me to have lunch and something comes up, it’s super-easy to reschedule.