“S***… I’ve double-booked”

Are you are the double-booker, or are you the double-bookee (the person who has been double-booked on)? It’s not very comfortable to have either of these identities – unless you were secretly hoping the plans would be cancelled anyway. Either way, being dumped for another booking is never a nice feeling… and I'm sorry if this article feels a little too raw just after Valentine’s Day (at least if you're never actually booked, there is 0 chance of being double-booked on in the first place!).   

The ability to double-book largely depends on how organised you are as a person, whether that entails physically adding an event to your calendar, or just mentally remembering when and where you are supposed to be meeting someone. Unfortunately, I have found that without physical reminders (such as an alert on my phone), the possibility of double-booking is quite high. Double-booking doesn’t necessarily just mean between friends either, it could be a combination of friends and family, boyfriends, work or lectures... the list is endless. So how do you prioritise which is most important? Is it even measured by importance? The potential bookings I have named range from academic commitments to earning money, to social events with friends, family or a partner– but who or what becomes a priority is not so simple.


Starting with friends… what type of friend is it? A housemate or a course mate who you see pretty much every single day, or is it a friend from home who you rarely get the chance to meet and they’ve already paid for their train ticket to come and visit you? In this situation, perhaps the latter friend deserves a bit more attention. I think time is a very influential factor: compare how much time you spend with each person, and also how easy it is to rearrange for another time. But also, who you would actually like to spend your time with too is important.


One of the most difficult things to rearrange is a birthday celebration, especially a big one such as an 18th or 21st birthday which was mostly likely arranged weeks in advance, with a daily update on the dress code, and even a Facebook notification reminder an hour before the event itself. You’re also guaranteed to have a text message from someone before the event’s due to start saying: “Where are you? I’ve been waiting for 30 minutes.” - full stop emphasised because there will most definitely be one!


This brings me onto family bookings. I feel they can often be more emotional... or you get more grief because grandma has been looking forward to seeing you all week or dad has especially booked the day off work just to spend some "quality time" with you. So how do you tell your parents that you haven’t even made it out of bed, let alone to the train station without sending them into self-destruct mode? Sorry - I'm yet to find the answer to that one.


The most "important" booking is not actually a personal choice but is instead determined by the university. However, this depends on how much you value paying 9 and a half grand a year for education: is it really worth skipping a really, really important seminar for an assessment if something more fun pops up? I don’t think that failing a module over a double-booking is necessarily worth it. Finding your way nicely out of double-bookings is usually assisted by how well you phrase an apology, and cause least offence. It’s also important to have a legit reason for the double-booking, and it might help to show an effort to rearrange too… and if all else fails, then you know to pull the "sickie" card next time.