Staying in touch with close friends requires more effort when everybody lives somewhere else on the planet. Scheduling calls to catch up certainly works, but it requires time-commitment, and time zones make scheduling unnecessarily complicated.
After living in NYC for a year, I ended up doing the following: If I walk somewhere for about 30 minutes, I'd text 2 friends or family members, asking if they're available for a chat. Often one of them would end up calling me. This way, no prior planning was necessary, things felt more spontaneous and I was able to use my NYC walking time to catch up.
- If I text a friend
Hey X, are you free for a call?, chances are they're at work, asleep, with friends or don't look at their phone. They'd see my message 2 hours later and reply
Yep, sure, calling you now. The problem here is that by that time I'm unavailable, as the message is from 2 hours ago.
- If a friend doesn't know about this setup, they'd think I want to discuss something specific or urgent, however those kinds of calls are just to catch up and stay in touch.
- Often, either none of my friends were available, or multiple responded, so it was always a tricky balance on how many friends I'd text, with the risk of both of them replying
Yep, I'm free now
- If one friend is never available, you kind of "forget" to text them, as you already assume subconsciously that they won't be available
A Telegram bot that manages the communication and revokes messages as soon as you're unavailable again.
How does it work:
- Say hi to the bot via t.me/WalkWithFriendsBot
- You add all the Telegram contacts using
- You type
/freeto mark yourself as available
- You tell the bot how many minutes you'll be free (this number will be sent as part of the message to your friends)
- The bot now sends out messages to all your friends in your contact list, one message every 20 seconds
- The order in which the messages are sent is based on when you last had a call with them, to prefer people you haven't chatted in a while
- As soon as your first friend hits the
- You and your friend will be connected
- All other invites will be revoked, meaning if e.g. the friend was sleeping during that time, they won't even see that there ever was a message
- It works on every major platform, including iOS, Android and macOS
- It supports revoking of messages and notifications, even from the lock screen
- They have a solid bots API
- Registration for new users is easy & fast
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