Is there a common phrase or a word to convey the same meaning?
closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, bib, Noah Sep 26 '12 at 1:36
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There are hundreds of ways to say "I don't have a specific topic to get to, I just wanted to talk to you." Touch base, catch up, check in, say hi, see how you're doing, follow up, ... there's no shortage of idioms.
Or you could lead with what you're not calling about: "I don't have any news, but ..." or "I'm not calling to ask you for work, but ..." though typically people who want to touch base, check in, followup etc actually are calling to see "do you have any work/business for me that is not urgent enough for you to call me, but that you might mention when we happen to chat?". They don't want to say that out loud, so they say something reasonably meaningless.
Of course, you might have a specific purpose: "I was calling to see if my X is ready" or "I am calling to see if you have made a decision about Y yet". If the call is more personal you might say "I just wanted to hear your voice" or "I was wondering how you're doing these days".