We all know that situations occasionally arise before our awareness does. We show up for a doctor’s appointment and his nurse steps out of the room momentarily. The electrician shows up at the house when you are the only one at home. The well-meaning neighbor stops in to see how things are going the evening your husband is away on a business trip. When such is the case, here are a few guidelines:
* Keep the topics of conversation at the same level as you would if someone else were standing there. Just because no one is in earshot, it doesn’t give you an excuse to go to personal or intimate levels of conversation. As much as women like to go deep with their conversations, it isn’t always wise. Before you venture into any given topic, check your motivation to make sure you don’t have a hidden agenda, such as using him as a sounding board, testing his personal resolve, or looking to get your ego stroked.
* If a male workman shows up without a partner and you are home alone, phone a friend and ask if she can come over for a few minutes to enjoy a cup of tea — now! I have a friend in the neighborhood who shares this boundary with me, and when one of us calls the other with a spontaneous tea invitation, it’s like speaking in code: Drop everything. Come now. Tea kettle’s brewing. See you in a minute. If a friend is not available, avoid more conversation than is absolutely necessary while this man is in your home.