1. He changed his mind.

  2. He had a change of heart.

I think these two sentences are confusing for me.

As far as I know, the first sentence seem to be used in the following situation. For example, one day he planned to go to New York, but he changed his mind because of his family stuff.

What about the second sentence? For example, one woman in America went to Korea for volunteer work for 2 years. She had a boyfriend in America. For the first several months, she kept touch with him. But one day she couldn't talk with him on the phone because he blocked her number. In two years she came back home, and she found he had another girlfriend. He seemed to ditch her. In this situation, I think both "He changed his mind" and "He had a chage of heart." would be used interchangeably. Am I wrong? Which sentence would be better?

  • I would not use either idiom in your second situation. To leave a romantic partner or spouse for another person without telling him or her is neither a change of heart nor a reconsideration.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 3, 2019 at 7:08

3 Answers 3


From a basic point of view, the two sentences mean the same thing. But when you get into the specifics of the idioms...

He changed his mind

A change of mind may or may not indicate an emotional influence. The idiom indicates that an opinion or decision was changed.

He was going to turn left, but changed his mind and turned right.

He had a change of heart

A change of heart more often has an emotional influence. The idiom indicates that an attitude was changed.

He hated dogs, but had a change of heart and now loves dogs.

I believe a strong argument could be made that the primary difference between the two idioms is artistic. The word "heart" often elicits feelings of warmth, love, things personal or important. On the other hand, the word "mind" elicits a more technical context, logic, reasoning. But in the end, the idioms are synonyms.


The two expressions are mostly similar, especially considering the effects: in the end you want to do something differently (or in the opposite way) then you wanted to do at the beginning.

The difference rests with the place where the change originates.

  1. He changed his mind.

The change originated in his "head" (mind). Maybe he made some rational calculations, maybe he had a hunch.

  1. He had a change of heart.

The change originated in his feelings. Something determined him to change his feelings about something, and therefore he is likely to act differently than before.


I think you have to go over the concept of 'Thinking with your mind' and how it differs from 'Thinking with your heart'.

Mind sees rationality, figures, pros and cons; whereas Heart sees bonds, love and empathy.

I saw this beautifully explained answer, in this post.

Although, all our thought process happens in our mind/ brain, we often let our emotions affect our thoughts and decisions, in which case, it is said that the decision was made from the heart.

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