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Distraction

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Excuses > Distraction

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Find ways of getting the topic off the subject in question or you as a culprit.

Things you can do include:

  • Change the subject, particularly onto something the other person likes talking about (such as football).
  • Excuse yourself with a need to go to the bathroom.
  • Look outside and say 'did you see that?'
  • Stop them part-way through their argument and question minor details.
  • Challenge the argument, suggesting it was somebody else.

Example

Excuse me, what time is it? I've an important meeting now. Can we talk about this later?

Hang on a minute. Did you see that??

Hmm. This needs careful discussion. Let's go for coffee somewhere. I know a good place not too far away...

That's a nice watch. Where did you buy it? 

Discussion

Although we can think about many things at once in our unconscious mind, we have a simple linear, one-track consciousness which is guided and constrained by time. Anything that arrives into that conscious stream of thought and action can knock us off-topic, causing confusion and leading away from the original subject.

People always have many things about which they are interested and about which they may be happy to talk, which can give opportunity for distraction.

Accusing and questioning a suspect can be very difficult for many people. In such cases they might well welcome a distraction, accepting the tacit offer to talk about something less stressful.

See also

Confusion principle

 

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