You're both sipping some Darjeeling tea, you share a public WIFI connection, you both would have been called "web workers" in the early 2000s — and she may be able to read your mail with you as you access Gmail in your browser.
Fortunately, you can avoid that latter commonality (and maybe concentrate on others): by using HTTPS to connect to Gmail, all data sent from and to Gmail in your browser (including your emails) will be encrypted and incomprehensible to anybody even if they get all the data on a shared internet connection. You can even make Gmail enforce these secure HTTPS connections.
Access Gmail More Securely via HTTPS
To encrypt all traffic between your browser and Gmail (so a traffic scanner on, say, your local network or a public WLAN cannot decipher it):
- Access Gmail using https://mail.google.com/.
- Note the 's' at the end of "https".
Force Gmail to Always Use a Secure HTTPS Connection
To make Gmail use an encrypted HTTPS connection always and automatically:
- Follow the Settings link in Gmail.
- Go to the General category.
- Make sure Always use https is selected under Browser connection:.
- Click Save Changes.
Note that HTTPS connections are typically slower than using Gmail unencrypted. Enforcing HTTPS with the setting above may also cause errors on some mobile devices and Gmail mail checkers.