July 16, 2010

Staying Safe: It May be Strategy That Counts

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     “Dear Abby” (Jeanne Phillips) missed the boat in her recent response to a 27 year old woman who lives alone, and asked for advice as to what to say when strangers come to her door and ask “Do you live alone?”

     Dear Abby said it’s okay to lie in this situation, and say “No, I don’t live alone. My boyfriend, (brother, nephew, etc.) lives here too.”

     I have reason, often, to talk to people in similar circumstances. And I believe the better response is “No, I don’t live alone. Why do you ask?"

     That answer is better for a number of reasons. First, It is probably the truth. If the homeowner has a dog, cat, pet mice, or goldfish, she probably does NOT live alone. Second, the answer itself does not give out any personal information, true or false. Naming the relationship of a person who supposedly comes and goes in one’s home excludes everyone else who might be assumed to live in the home.

     If the homeowner says my “…boyfriend, (brother, nephew)… lives here too” she is telling the stranger it is NOT the mother, sister, friend, pastor, plumber, or friend, any of whom may come and go on a regular basis, and theoretically could reside in the home.

     It’s still better to tell the truth, even if the interpretation is somewhat of a stretch. The stranger at the door is not entitled to more.

Posted by Peggy S. Hedrick at 9:35am

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