Specifically, I'm looking for something that would fit in the same situation, but I need a less negative connotation. Saying that when my Dad, for instance, walks into the room while I'm talking about him, well, that sort of seems to imply I think he's the devil.

Naturally, any help or criticism of my question is welcome. I can't improve if I don't know something's wrong.

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    This may just be a personal thing but I use it all the time and the idiomatic use of it never seems to have the negative connotations, particularly if you say it with a genuine smile. :D – Catija May 22 '15 at 18:40
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    The expression's literal translation is also present in Hindi. For the positive turn, we use a different expression- (We were just talking about you, therefore:) you're gonna live a long life. – Tushar Raj May 22 '15 at 18:41
  • My grandfather often said "speak of the devil and in he walks" if someone who was a recent topic of discussion arrived. – Davo Nov 1 '17 at 11:58
  • @Catija that's a reasonable point, and is probably a contributing factor to why I'm able to use this expression with my dad. I just want something more appropriate to say in general usage or with someone that I don't want to take a chance of them misunderstanding. So Jeff's answer is pretty good. Just wish I got more responses; maybe I accepted his answer to soon? – Twisted Code Nov 30 '18 at 21:54

Not a direct replacement, but something you might say to your Dad when he comes in: "Were your ears burning?" See Origin of burning ears if you are not familiar with the expression.

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