Alice and Carol are best friends. Alice is having a fling with Carol's boyfriend Bob and wants to do the right thing and come clean to Carol. The conversation would usually go like this:
In summary, a major confession is put on hold, when the other person says something that makes it even harder to confess. Usually the other person will find out from another, less appropriate source or situation.
Another common case is when Bob is about to declare his crush to Alice, and Alice (who sees him as a trusted friend) tells him first that she is in love with Charlie.
Compare with Oblivious Guilt Slinging.
- This happens in Chicken Run between Ginger and Rocky. Rocky has decided to tell Ginger that he can't really fly like he told everyone he could. They meet on the roof of a hut, and Ginger thanks him for saving her life earlier in the movie. She then starts talking about how excited she is to finally be escaping the farm tomorrow (Rocky's supposed to give a flying demonstration for them.) After trying to break the news to her gently, Rocky gives up.
- Happens almost verbatim in How to Train Your Dragon:
Stoick: "Hiccup?"Hiccup: "Dad! Uh, I have to talk to you, Dad."Stoick: "I need to speak with you, too, son."Stoick, Hiccup: [They both take deep breaths, then they both speak at once] "I've decided I don't want to fight dragons./I think it's time you learned to fight dragons."Stoick, Hiccup: "What?"Stoick: "Uh, you go first."Hiccup: "Oh no, you go first."Stoick: "All right... You get your wish: dragon training. You start in the morning."Hiccup: "Oh, man, I should have gone first!"
- In Sky High (2005), Layla is going to confess to Will that she likes him, by asking him to the school dance. As she was going to talk about the school dance, Will figures it's the perfect time to mention that he's going with the most popular girl in school. So Layla ends up telling him that she's going as well. With his archenemy.
- A variation is used in Old School (2003?), except one of the main characters is interrupted by one of the worst coincidences in the world.
- In Drillbit Taylor, Drillbit starts to gear up to tell Lisa, a teacher he has fallen for, the truth about him (he's actually a homeless guy pretending to be a substitute teacher to protect three kids from a bully), but before he can get to that, she starts going on and on about how glad she is that he's such a great guy, since she usually dates absolute losers with nothing going for them, so he loses his nerve.
- In Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, Rosalee and Pete both have something to tell each other. Pete was about to confess his love for her, but Rosalee goes first and tells him that Tad invited her to go back to Hollywood with him. At first he gives up, saying, "it was nothing," but then he plucks up his courage and kisses her on the lips.
- In The Butterfly Effect 2, Julie has something to tell Nick, but he wants to go first: he wants her to marry him. He then gets interrupted so she decides not to tell him that she's pregnant.
- For the first six seasons of Frasier, Niles tries to confess his love to Daphne, only to be preempted by one inconvenient thing after another. In the seventh season, their roles are reversed.
- Chuck: Every other episode between Chuck and Sarah.
- In Once Upon a Time, it's implied that Mulan wants to tell Princess Aurora that she loves her. But Princess Aurora has news she wants to tell first: she and Prince Richard are pregnant!
- How I Met Your Mother: In "Showdown", Ted and Robin was about to break the news that they broke up when Lily interrupted:
Lily: God, you guys are covered in sauce. We'll get to that. Me first. My mom is driving me crazy about the wedding music. The woman takes one cruise to Jamaica, and suddenly, it's "not a party without steel drums." Doesn't everybody know you're not supposed to stress out a bride right before her wedding?! Okay, sauce, go.Ted: Long story. I'll tell you later.
- In the Hivebent arc of Homestuck, Eridan has gotten up the courage to tell his moirail, Feferi, that his feelings towards her are romantic. note Then Feferi tells him that she has something she wants to say too, and he lets her go first. Cue Feferi breaking up with him.
- In the finale of The Spectacular Spider Man, Spider-man's love interest, Gwen, tries to break up with her current boyfriend so she and Spider-Man can finally be together, but her boyfriend opens up to her about how grateful he is for her being by his side, because otherwise, he would probably have picked up his old drug addiction back up. Unable to send him down that road again, Gwen doesn't break up with him despite her own desires.