Skip to main content

How to Change the Subject

Caught in a sticky situation? Practice these skills and get ready to cope.


  • Step 1: Shift the subject Shift the subject by listening for words in a conversation that can lead you to a memorable or funny situation off the current topic.
  • Step 2: Distract the speaker Distract the speaker by asking if they or anyone listening to the conversation needs a drink or a snack.
  • TIP: Be polite by saying, "Excuse me," first.
  • Step 3: Ask a question Ask a question that is designed to change the focus of the conversation.
  • Step 4: Give a compliment Give a compliment to the speaker about their appearance, weight, outfit, or overall look.
  • Step 5: Mention changing the subject Mention bluntly that you are going to change the subject. Use a smile to keep it from being more uncomfortable than it may already be and talk about something positive.
  • FACT: Did you know? More than four in 10 teenagers polled say things over instant message that they wouldn't say in person.

You Will Need

  • Listening skills
  • Quick thinking
  • Tact
  • Politeness (optional)

Popular Categories