I am curious as to if there is a phrase or word for when some one brings something up then tries to drop it.

I suffer mild OCD and my biggest trigger and cause of a lot of ruined social encounters are the events when somebody goes... "Last Thursday.... Oh sorry dont worry I never should have mentioned that" Or "I had this great story... But I shouldn't say" This seems to happen a lot around me, so I wondered if it has a name as it must happen around others too, even if they are able to accept it needn't be discussed. Thanks very much !

  • I’d just call that being a tease or just teasing.
    – Jim
    Mar 26 '17 at 15:06
  • 1
    topic-switching describes it.
    – Xanne
    Mar 26 '17 at 17:52
  • Truncated or aborted topic sounds about right. "Abrupt" and "halting" could serve.
    – The Nate
    Mar 27 '17 at 4:15
  • I'm not sure what to call it (interesting question!) but I have a suggestion. Can you think of these incidents as follows? It can happen that Person A starts to talk about a topic, and then suddenly realizes it might trigger anxiety in Person B (you), and therefore drops it. Now the longer you can wait before asking A to clarify, the less concerned B will feel about triggering your anxiety -- and the less likely B will be to abort touchy subjects in future! Mar 27 '17 at 7:42
  • Either they are a flibbertigibbet (flighty, spacy, scatterbrained) or they have their own distractibility (ADHD). Mar 27 '17 at 19:51

It's not specific to conversation, but:

Backpedal v. Reverse one's previous action or opinion.

seems like it would cover it, eg:

Anne started to talk about last night's barbecue, but backpedalled when she remembered that Bob was vegetarian.


Two words and a potential third come to mind after reading your description. Let's start with:

fickle adj. changing frequently, especially as regards one's loyalties, interests, or affection.

If someone is fickle, it usually refers to their love life, as in they can't make up their mind about who to be with - not too keen to commit to a relationship. In your case, the person could be fickle in thought, meaning that they can't commit to a topic in conversation, constantly changing to something else.

The second word is:

caprice n. a sudden and unaccountable change in mood or behavior.

This has a similar meaning to fickle but lends itself more toward their emotion and behavior. Joe's thoughts seemed to be driven by nothing more than caprice. The gist being that there seems to be no logical flow to his train of thought, constantly switching on a whim.

Lastly, we have:

caper v. skip or dance about in a lively or playful way.

While this doesn't directly describe the person in question, it does depict how their ideas are moving. He capered from topic to topic with seemingly no path to follow. In this example, it's less about non-commitment and more about free-flowing thoughts. Imagine him errantly skipping around like a child, landing on different ideas, seemingly at random, not staying on one for more than a second.

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