“Are you free” is a decent phrase we can use to find out someone’s availability. However, it does not allow the other party to think about their schedule, and it can be seen as rushed. This article will explore better alternatives to use in place of “are you free.”
What Can I Ask Instead Of “Are You Free”?
We can give you many different variations of “are you free.” However, we find the most appropriate ones to be the following:
- When can I follow up with you?
- Are you available (at this time)?
- When would be a good time to arrange this?
- What is the best time for you?
- When you get a moment, can we discuss this?
- Are you okay if we set up this meeting (at this time)?
- Are you around on (date)?
The preferred version is “when can I follow up with you.” Rather than asking a simple question like “are you free,” which often seems rushed, “when can I follow up with you” gives the other person a chance to consult their schedule and see what time works best for them.
When Can I Follow Up With You?
“When can I follow up with you” works well because it gives the other person a chance to decide on the meeting time. While we might like to talk to them now, this question phrases it so that we expect to see them at some point in the future.
The question works well when you’re speaking to a superior. It shows that you are proactive and want to know more about something, so you are trying to find out more about your boss’s schedule.
We can also use it in other situations when trying to set up meetings or business calls. As long as someone has their schedule ready, they will be able to give us a suitable time that works well for them. We can then confirm whether it works for us as well.
Here are a few good examples of it in action:
- When can I follow up with you about this matter?
- When can I follow up with you? I’d like to set up a meeting when you’re free.
- When can I follow up with you about this? I’m eager to learn!
Are You Available (At This Time)?
“Are you available” is a great way to find out whether someone has the time to set something up. Usually, we ask about their availability in the future (while “are you free” typically asks about it in the present).
It helps to ask about their future availability because it gives them time to think. While we expect an answer from them, we at least give them a chance to check with their schedule to find out which time slot will be “available” to them.
These examples will help you make sense of it:
- Are you available at six to talk about my raise?
- Are you available at five-thirty to discuss these matters more?
- Are you available at three for the meeting that we have set up?
When Would Be A Good Time To Arrange This?
“When would be a good time to arrange this” works when we want to clarify a time with someone. Usually, we already have the meeting or event planned. Now, all we need to find out is what time will be “good” for it to take place.
We allow the other person to refer to their planner to find out when they can fit it in. If we’re hosting a meeting, it would be good for them to find a time that works when they do not have a lot of work to do.
Check out these examples to learn more about it:
- When would be a good time to arrange this event for the children?
- When would be a good time to arrange the meeting with the staff?
- When would be a good time to arrange the CEO’s visit to the headquarters?
What Is The Best Time For You?
“What is the best time for you” works when we want someone to check their diary or schedule. It allows them to decide when a meeting will take place fully. Typically, they’ll give us a list of times that work, and we will then pick from that list which one works best.
They give us a list when asked this question because it helps us to establish a time that works best. For example, if you are free at two, five, and six, and they are free at four, five, and seven, you can select five as the appropriate time because both of you are free for it.
If they do not give you a list and only give you one time, it’s likely that you won’t be free for that time. If this is the case, you’re back to square one, trying to figure out the best way to arrange a meeting with someone.
Here are a few examples:
- What is the best time for you to get this meeting ready?
- I can do six, seven, or twelve.
- I think seven works best for me, so we’ll do it then.
- What is the best time for you tonight?
- Five, six, or seven, probably.
- Six o’clock it is, then!
- What is the best time for you?
- I can do either three or half four.
- Half four is probably the most suitable time for me. I’ll arrange it for then.
When You Get A Moment, Can We Discuss This?
“When you get a moment, can we discuss this” works well when we want to give someone a moment to finish their work. While a “moment” isn’t a specific time frame, it at least gives a busy person some time to gather themselves before agreeing to our request.
This question works well because people have a hard time saying “no” to it. Since “moment” is not specific, we can allow them to get back to their work and discuss the matter with us when it suits them. That’s why it’s hard for them to turn the request down.
Check out these examples to help you understand it:
- When you get a spare moment, can we discuss the meeting you held?
- When you get a moment, can we discuss the email you sent me?
- When you get a moment, can we discuss that thing you mentioned about my work yesterday?
Are You Okay If We Set Up This Meeting (At This Time)?
“Are you okay if we set up this meeting” is another great way to allow someone to check their own schedule. “Are you okay” works because it asks whether they’re happy with us to go ahead with the set time.
Typically, this question indicates that the meeting has already been planned. It works well to show that multiple people have already agreed to the time.
However, we might ask a boss, “are you okay” with this time to clarify with them that all is good. If they say “yes,” the meeting can go ahead. If they say “no,” it might just mean that you’ll have to carry out the meeting without them.
Here are a few examples:
- Are you okay if we set up this meeting for three, then?
- Are you okay if we set up this meeting for six like we agreed the other day?
- Are you okay if we set up this meeting for tomorrow morning? Everyone else has agreed to it.
Are You Around On (Date)?
“Are you around on (date)” works well again to ask whether someone is free. It gives them a chance to consult their own schedule to find out whether they have the time to set up the meeting. If they do not, you can rearrange it with them for a time that suits you both.
Here are a few examples to show you how it works:
- Are you around on the 14th? I think that’s a good date to host the meeting.
- Are you around to discuss this on March 6? I would like to talk to you more about it.
- Are you around on January 22? I think we have a lot to talk about.
Should I Use “Are You Free” Or “Will You Be Free”?
A few different phrases might also apply when asking, “are you free.” Most of it depends on the context and tense you want to write in.
“Are you free” works when you’re asking someone whether they’re free right away. It is usually a rushed question and doesn’t give people time to think. “Will you be free” is a question about their availability in the future, which is best when we want to meet with them later.
You can also use “are you free” to arrange future events or meetings. However, it’s not the best phrase to use since “are” is a present tense verb we generally want to use to find out the current availability.
You can see how “are you free” works in the present:
- Are you free right now to have this conversation?
And now you can see how “will you be free” works in the future:
- Will you be free at six o’clock tonight to discuss this matter further?
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.