We have this "friend" that always seems to "hijack" our day. You may have someone like this in your life. This is the person that always wants some of your free time, and once you get with them, you can never seem to get away. It really does feel like being held hostage.
In China they have this custom of "building relationships". Basically this is how the game is played: You inject yourself in to their life in such a way as to make them feel they "owe" you. Then when you need some help, they will feel they need to return the "favor". No one can quite play this game as well as the Chinese. We think we can do it, but they always seem to win. In fact, my husband and I don't even try to play the game, but even as spectators, we still end up feeling that we "owe" other people.
As part of this "relationship game", the participants could offer you gifts, or take you out of dinner, or help you take care of other things in your life. If you don't need any help, they will still find a way to help you. And when you least expect it, they will give you a gift. If you give them a gift in return, they will give you an even better gift. And the worst part is that once they "hijack" you, you can't get away from their help, and you can't refuse it without losing the game entirely.
So we have this one guy who has decided that he needs to build a "relationship" with us. One key way we know it is the "relationship game" is that he really doesn't want his boss to know he is socializing with us. So the other night he invited our family out to dinner. I think we should have refused his offer, but my husband accepted, and we took our entire family. Little did we know that our evening was being hijacked.
We had a nice dinner together, and enjoyed good food. He insisted on paying, even though we had a lot of people. After dinner was over, he asked if we would like to go see the sights. Some of our children just wanted to go home, but he insisted that it would only take an hour to drive past some of the sights in the city. After 2 hours, we knew for sure we had been hijacked. And once he had us in his car, we couldn't get away. We were basically stuck until he decided to take us home. And not knowing the area, we didn't even really know how far from home we were. Finally, after 3 1/2 hours being away from home, he freed us, and took us home. But as we were getting ready to leave the car, he was trying to make plans for how we would get together again on the weekend. We told him that we probably wouldn't have time, and thought that we were safe from his hijacking.
Last night about 9:00 at night he called and said he was in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by. Because he lives so far away, it was embarrassing to tell him no. So we agreed to let him come, even though we were tired. He came and sat and talked for awhile, and once again we felt our day had been hijacked. Finally about 10:00 he left. But before he left, he made arrangements to drive my daughter to the train station today.
I should have stayed home. I kind of knew it at the time, but wanted to see my daughter off, so went along. I forgot he was a hijacker... After we dropped her off, he offered to take us to see some sights. When we declined, he came up with more and more interesting places to take us. He just wouldn't take no for an answer! Actually some of the places were very interesting to my husband, but we were already feeling hijacked at this point, so he declined. But then this man offered to take us out for lunch before going home. It was lunch time, so we relented. He suggested a restaurant that was close to our house. My husband suggested we go to one even closer to our house. We just wanted to go home. But as we were driving in that neighborhood, suddenly we realized we were heading back over the bridge, and going to opposite direction from our house! We had been hijacked again! He had decided to take us to another place he knew, clear back on the other side of town where we had just been! And then he insisted on paying for the meal, and we couldn't get the bill from him to pay it. Finally, after eating lunch with him, and driving clear back across town together, and 4 1/2 hours from when we started out, we finally arrived home.
I just need to remember that he is a hijacker, and remind my husband to refuse his invitations in the future. We are fine with making friends, but we still have our own life! Do you have a hijacker in your life?