Jan 9, 2013
As a working professional a couple of years out college, I’ve been noticing how interactions with my friends has changed since the beginning of college – and especially since graduation.
In college, my social groups typically formed around groups with common meeting places -- freshman dorm, newspaper, church, “draw group” (essentially a group of friends that ‘draw’ into the same dorm).
Because there was a common space where everyone could hang out, everyone else felt comfortable just showing up (at least at designated times), and so there were always people to talk to. No-permission-required-meeting was a self-sustaining norm.
With jobs and schedules, we shift to a permission-required-meeting-situation – you don’t just show up at your friend’s house, we say “Hey, what’s a good time to meet up?”
This adds an additional barrier to meeting, and so that happen less often.
People usually realize this at some level, and employ a variety of ad-hoc strategies to counteract this. These are usually well-deployed in our professional lives, but in our personal lives, there are some complications, and usually room for improvement.
Disadvantage: Often most of our close friends don’t form groups. Only a small subset of mine does.
Disadvantage: for most people, compared to face-to-face interaction, it’s not the same.
Disadvantage: The well-known “my schedule is too full to see you” is illuminated by analogy. In The Road to Serfdom (1944), economist FA Hayek discussed the politics of price and wage controls. These policies would shelter one particular group, he wrote, but at the risk of leaving everyone else out in the cold, and now slightly colder.
Something similar happens with planning one’s schedule. Perhaps because I’m busy with the above and additional planned activities with my other friends, I don’t see my friend Christine* enough, and I rarely talk to my college friends Lina* and Maya* anymore
So Christine and I have decided to go running every Tuesday evening after work. Sure, I’ll be even more scheduled, and less likely to meet new, interesting people outside of my designated “meet new people” events.
But at least I’ll get some exercise.
Commenters: really curious to hear additional tactics, improvements, or experiences!
 Hayek warned that in this situation, each group would increase its clamor to be “let in,” but granting each seemingly-reasonable demand would lead one step closer to a planned economy. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable but ill-connected or ill-organized groups, such as immigrants or the non-unionized-working class, would be left largely out in the cold.