Focus decides what you look at first
Your subject is what you have focused at. The only difference between these two photographs is the change in the focusing points. You look at what is focused at first and then the other elements in the photograph. So its important that you focus on the person you would like to emphasize. Just by including people or elements in your photograph does not make them the subjects.
For this purpose, even on auto focus mode you should manually select the focusing points, overlapping your key subject or focus on what you want to focus at and then recompose. If you select all the focusing points, the camera will focus at the subject which is at the nearest distance.
Also you would notice that the depth of field is directly proportional to the focusing distance. When the focusing distance is less, the people in the background (the two ladies) are relatively more blurred compared to when the focusing distance has increased.
The alternative to have everything in focus is to close down the aperture as if you increase the focusing distance, the elements closer to the camera will be quite blurred as the depth of field is more behind the subject than in front of it. so with an increase in the distance, DOF will increase more behind and not as much in front.