How to Change the Subject at a Dinner Party

Dinner parties can be SO much fun. You set a magazine-worthy table, you planned a simple and elegant menu that’s gone off without a hitch, and you collected all your favorite friends for a night of delicious food and delightful company. Everyone’s having a great time, but that can change in the blink of an eye, turning your perfect evening into a nightmare of epic proportions.

At almost every dinner party, at least one diner will bring up an inflammatory topic that’ll make everyone uncomfortable or start a good mood-killing argument. Here are a few solutions for changing the conversation before things get too nasty.

  1. Try to stop negative conversations before they start by listing off-limit topics on the invitation. Note in a cute way that there’ll be no talk about politics, religion, or anything serious. Parties are supposed to be light & fun! You can also announce this at the beginning of dinner.

  2. Put interesting or funny conversation topics on slips of paper and place them under each person’s charger at their place setting. If the mood starts to take a bad turn when someone thinks potty training is a great topic of conversation, clink your wine glass a couple times and instruct everyone to look under their charger. Start a memorable and fun conversation by picking a diner at random and asking them to read their topic out loud. When each discussion dies down, pick a new person. If you have trouble thinking up interesting topics, check out Chat Packs. 

  3. Hold the bad topic bringer-upper’s partner hostage with a butter knife and some butter until he/she changes the topic. Get wild-eyed and say, "Change the subject, or she’s toast. Get it? Toast. ‘Cause it’s a butter knife, and I’ve got some butter." Everyone will laugh. It'll be hilarious. Do it. 

  4. Make it a rule that everyone has to get up and silently interpretive dance until the offenders stop arguing and talk about something else. Worst case scenario: the party turns into a dance party. 

  5. Become topless. Once everyone notices, casually change the subject.


Expect the worst. Host your best.