0

How to describe situation when two people can't meet cause they're never at the same place at the same time.

Example: John and Michael are friends. They both do the shopping at the local shop every day, but they have never met. John is saying: how come we do the shopping on the same shop, but we can't ... what?

I guess there must be some phrasal verb that fits.


I think above example wasn't the best one cause it suggests a coincidence. Let's try another.

John and Michael are friends... obviously. They want to stay in touch, but every time one calls another, one of them is busy or not available. They cannot find a proper time to talk.


One more example.

John and Michael are... working in the same company. They need to discuss something really important so they want to have a meeting. John called Michael to arrange one, but Micheal was during another meeting. Few hours later Michael run into John and asked about the meeting but John was about to leave the workplace. They just cant find the time when they're both free.


Thank you for all the answers. I think the best are "to connect with somebody" and "to meet up with somebody".

In my language there's a saying "we will catch eachother later" (literally). It means we don't need to schedule a meeting, but we will try to catch the short moment we're both free later.

I think "to catch up with someone" might be it.

5
  • There is the expression 'Box and Cox': 'Box and Cox, farce (1847) by John M. Morton †1891 English playwright, and Cox and Box, comic opera (1867) with text by Sir Francis C. Burnand †1917 English playwright and music by Sir Arthur S. Sullivan †1900 English composer, adapted from Morton's farce; from the arrangement in the farce and opera whereby the same room is rented to two men named Box and Cox, one occupying it by day and one by night without either's knowing about the other.' [M-W] But obviously not for friends. Oct 16 '20 at 15:53
  • They have incompatible schedules. Oct 16 '20 at 16:10
  • 'two ships passing in the night' is a common metaphor for a fleeting encounter but missing each other the rest of the time.
    – Mitch
    Oct 16 '20 at 19:49
  • Are you asking for one word that is a substitute for the whole of can't meet (which is what the actual formulation of the question implies) or just for a substitute for meet that is suitable for these contexts (which is how all the answerers so far seem to have interpreted it, and which is implied by your reactions to their answers)?
    – jsw29
    Oct 16 '20 at 23:20
  • They both have the last name "Pauli".
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 17 '20 at 2:26
1

If two people cannot schedule something at a mutually agreeable time, one could say that they cannot coordinate or cannot coordinate schedules. This represents a deliberate attempt to meet, so it wouldn't apply particularly well to two friends who never happen to meet by chance at a shop they both frequent, however. The term is a bit formal, more commonly used in a business setting when scheduling meetings - pehraps a more informal option would be to say that two people's schedules don't line up.

When this happens by chance over the phone, it is called phone tag. One person calls the other, but they don't pick up. That person then either sees the missed call or hears a message on their voicemail, and calls the first person back. The first person doesn't pick up, and must call the second person back, and so on, and so on. This is aptly described as a game of tag, with the person who missed the call being "It", and having the responsibility to attempt to re-initiate contact.

2
  • Ok, but I'm looking for a word with a wider use, not only for calling. Oct 16 '20 at 18:06
  • "coordinate (schedules)" sounds right, but it's so formal. I won't use it for sure when talking about casual meeting in a local grocery shop. :) Oct 16 '20 at 19:36
0

One option is the verb connect

Defined in The Free Dictionary:

connect (with someone) in. to meet someone; to talk to someone on the telephone. For your We connected over a drink and discussed the matter fully.

Another is the verb run into

  1. Meet or find by chance, as in I ran into an old friend at the concert. [c. 1900]

connect has an aspect of planning to it while run into has an aspect of happenstance.

Your examples might become:

Example: John and Michael are friends. They both shop at the same place every day, but they have never met. John is saying: How come we shop at the same shop, but we never seem to run into each other there.

I think above example wasn't the best one cause it suggests a coincidence. Let's try another.

John and Michael are friends... obviously. They want to stay in touch, but every time one calls another, one of them is busy or not available. They cannot find a proper time to talk.

In this case the attempt at planning is seen and an option might be:

John and Michael never seem to be able to connect.

One more example.

John and Michael are... working in the same company. They need to discuss something really important so they want to have a meeting. John called Michael to arrange one, but Micheal was in another meeting. A few hours later Michael run into John and asked about the meeting but John was about to leave the workplace. They just cant find the time when they're both free.

Here again connect seems appropriate:

John and Michael just can't find a good time to connect.

0

[did not] coincide

Definition of coincide

intransitive verb 1a : to occupy the same place in space or time The base of the triangle coincides with one side of the square.

would be a word that conveyed that they never were in the same place at the same time but does not imply anything about coordination or lack of it.

1
  • It's the best proposition so far. Oct 16 '20 at 19:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.