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From time to time I go out with my friends and their partners (or even at work during lunch time), and sometimes my love life is brought into the conversation (since I have the right age to start a family, and I am the only single of the group).[1]

I perfectly know that it's only small talks, but each time I give an answer it takes a bunch of time to change the topic. Is there any tactics to change the subject quickly (and possibly not brutally)?

For the moment I tried the following scenario:

  • Telling the raw truth (which lead to a bunch of questions)
  • Faking a nonunderstanding (then they usually insist)
  • Faking a nonhearing (same result)
  • Avoiding the question with a neutral joke (I would not say a thing until I talk to a lawyer)
  • Avoiding the question with a depreciative joke (Do you have some friend to get rid off?)

[1] My friends know perfectly how sensitive it is for me, so it's basically their partners or my colleagues

  • 2
    I find it hard to give a good answer to this question without some sense of why it's awkward for you to just give a truthful answer that also makes further questions unlikely. An abrupt attempt to change the topic entirely using the answers provided so far seem rather awkward to me, and I generally think its better and more effective to be forward and honest with people rather than deflecting / manipulative. You might successfully change the topic, but it likely will come off as weird and insecure IMO. – Slow loris Aug 29 '17 at 15:49
  • Where is this taking place? It's a sensitive topic anywhere in the world, but some more than others. – Tom Au Aug 29 '17 at 17:28
  • The truthful answer I give is "I'll stay single because I'm not attracted by any woman". I perfectly fine with this answer, but it seems so incredible that it triggers a large set of questions which are very sensitive for me. – GlinesMome Aug 29 '17 at 18:50
  • It happens usually during lunch or during the "aperitif". – GlinesMome Aug 29 '17 at 18:51
  • What country/culture is this in? – user288 Aug 29 '17 at 22:11
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I have a good friend who is permanently single. He prefers that. I love what he answers with.

I have been single a longgggg time now and it's really working out. I am pretty sure I'm the one. It's great. I'm loving it.

And he says it with confidence and it really does seem to get people to have a good laugh and move on.

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People like talking about themselves. I'd give a generic response then immediately turn the focus onto them and let them talk.

Oh, just not at that stage in my life yet, but what about you? How was your trip to Hawaii with John?

Or any question about or directed towards them. It could be about their life/family but if you want to even stray away from that you could ask about current events, movies, etc.

  • And use a hot topic. Something that everyone will want to know. Gossip, if you will. Change the topic to someone in your group that is not able to come. I know this not always a cool move, but you accomplish your goal, and as long as you don't badmouth that absent friend, you are good. – Vylix Aug 29 '17 at 14:41
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Oh, enough about me. Tell me about your (recent and interesting subject). How's that going? :)

It's a canned response you can use if they're following up on their questions a bit too much.

Say it casually, with a smile and all. Change subject subtly.

Or straight up say,

Oh, I don't want to talk about it. So what's going on for you? (Or) What's your opinion on (something recent and interesting)?

Either way, that should put a pause in the conversation, and an opportunity to either end it or move on to something else.

Turn the tables subtly, and make it about them.. Let them start talking instead. They will like talking about themselves a bit for a change.

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