“S***… I’ve double-booked”

The topic for this week is double-bookings. Are you are the double-booker, or are you the double-bookee (the person who has been double-booked on)? It’s not comfortable to be on either side of the situation – 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 am sorry if this article feels a little too raw just after Valentine’s Day (at least if you are never actually booked, there is 0 chance of being double booked on). 

Now, whether this article is relatable depends on a few things. Firstly, having people to actually make such bookings with, and secondly, whether you are the type of person who enjoys spending their spare time making such bookings – as opposed to staying in bed and watching Netflix. If you are neither of these, feel free to stop reading. 

The ability to double-book largely depends on how organised you are as a person, whether that entails physically adding a booking to your calendar, or just mentally remembering where and when 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, it could be a combination of friends and family, boyfriends, shift work or uni...and many more too. So how do you categorise which is most important? Is it even measured by importance? The potential bookings I have named range from academic commitments to earning money or social events with friends, family or a partner– but who or what becomes a priority is not so black and white, and context is definitely needed to make that decision (along with a pros and cons list).

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.

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 very likely planned several 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 mum an hour before the event’s due to start saying: “Where are you? I’ve been waiting at the station for 30 minutes.” Full stop emphasised because there will definitely be one if you have kept your mum waiting. This brings me on to 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 kindly tell your parents that you haven’t even made it out of bed let alone reached the train station without sending them into self-destruct mode? 

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 seminar or lecture if something more fun pops up? I guess the ‘importance’ of this booking as opposed to social bookings relates to its impact on your employability (if you are organised enough to think that far ahead). 

I don’t think that failing a module over a double-booking is worth it. Social double-bookings, on the other hand are largely influenced by tact i.e. how well you phrase your apology to look as sincere as possible and cause the least offence.  It’s also important to have a legit reason for the double-booking, and it helps to show an effort to rearrange for a later date… and if all of that fails then you know to play the ‘sickie’ card next time.