Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him

A scene with (at least) three characters present (Alice, Bob and Carol). Alice is refusing to talk to Bob for some reason, so she repeatedly says to Carol, "Please tell Bob...". There are a few variants on this:
  • Bob sometimes replies directly, sometimes also via Carol.
  • Carol sometimes actually repeats what she's been asked to say, sometimes doesn't bother.
  • If it goes on long enough, an exasperated Carol might tell Alice to tell him herself.

Bonus points if Alice and Bob are sitting right next to each other.


Comic Strips
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin's mother drifts into this following a Horrible Camping Trip.
    Calvin's Mother: Calvin, tell your father that any judge would take this trip as grounds for divorce.
    Calvin: Dad, Mom says...
    Calvin's Father: ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT!

Fan Fic

  • In Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Ellie doesn't talk to Manny, with Crash and Eddie in the middle, but the middle guys end up rewording the messages she says into their wording, trying to make him leave her alone. For Manny's credit, he can hear her as they walk. For example:
    Manny: I thought we could walk together.
    Ellie: Crash, ask the mammoth why he thinks that.
    Crash: She said she thinks you're a jerk and to go away.
  • In the film version of this in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermione gets so fed up with this in relation to the arguing of Harry and Ron that she finally shouts in exasperation "I'm not an owl!", referential of the post owls in the series.

  • Granny Weatherwax and Magrat put Nanny in the middle in Witches Abroad.
  • In Thomas Costain's novel The Black Rose, Walter's grandfather has made an oath never to speak to him, and always speaks to him via his mother. Near the end, though, he accidentally addresses Walter directly three times, and decides the oath is permanently broken.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Happened between Harry and Ron, with Hermione in the middle.
  • In Magyk, the first book of the Septimus Heap series, the message rat Stanley is initially relieved when asked to do a job for wizards, as his previous job had consisted of conveying messages between two arguing sisters that had eventually descended into this. Things were so far gone that he was essentially running back and forth and saying nothing, until finally the sisters' mother was shocked by the huge bill and canceled the service.
  • Happens in The House of the Spirits, after Clara and Esteban's disastrous fight over Blanca and her boyfriend Pedro Tercero that would end in tragedy. From then on Clara never told him a word anymore, though later she softens up a little and writes messages to him instead.
  • In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Amaranta and Fernanda spend years not talking after Amaranta verbally humiliates Fernanda in front of the family due to her pompous attitude. Not even Amaranta's death changes their minds; when Ursula asks the dying Amaranta to say goodbye, she bitterly says "it's not worth it anymore".
  • Towards the beginning of Ptomely's Gate from The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Nathaniel and Bartimaeus go through a variation of this, with Nathaniel's secretary, Ms. Piper, as the unfortunate intermediary. It finally ends thus:
    Nathaniel: ...tell him, Ms. Piper, that if he successfully completes the following mission I shall agree to his temporary dismissal for the purposes of recuperation, and let him be satisfied with that.
    Bartimaeus: Tell him that this offer will only be acceptable if the mission is simple, swift, and utterly without danger.
    Nathaniel: Tell him—-oh, for heaven's sake, just tell him what the mission is and have done!
  • In Judy Moody: Around the World in 8 1/2 Days, nearly an entire chapter is just Judy's little brother, Stink, doing this for Judy and Frank when Frank is upset with Judy and won't speak to her because she missed a dance practice for a school project because she was spending time with a new friend named Amy Namey.
  • In The Baby-Sitters Club book Mary Anne Saves the Day, all the girls in the club are fighting, but Mary Anne and Kristy still end up sitting for the Pike kids together. Mary Anne is forced to talk to Kristy through the kids, because even while they're on the job, Kristy refuses to acknowledge anything Mary Anne says. Mary Anne manages to salvage the Club's reputation somewhat by pretending that she and Kristy are playing a game of telephone.

Live-Action TV
  • In one episode of Scrubs, Dr Cox gets annoyed with Elliott for deliberately setting him up to say the wrong thing to a German patient, so when she asks him for help, he talks to a stapler. For much of Season Six, once she becomes "Private Practice Barbie", Dr Kelso refuses to acknowledge her existence, and talks to her through the nurses.
  • Whites: Caroline refuses to speak to Roland at the end of Episode 4, so he has to make conversation with Robin.
  • Used in Boys Before Flowers, but it takes very little time for Jan Di to get fed up with Jun Pyo and start yelling at him directly.
  • The Big Bang Theory had an interesting variant where Howard was not only not talking to Leonard but also insisting that Leonard had passed on ("dead to me"). Sheldon was willing to participate until Howard acknowledged his presence and thereby violated the terms of his own premise.
  • Is there any family sitcom that doesn't invoke this trope at least once?
  • An episode of Hogan's Heroes (if memory serves, the final episode) had an example of this that followed the trope description at the top of the page. Colonel Hogan confronts General Burkhalter about keeping a rocket launcher in the camp, which is a violation of the Geneva Convention. Burkhalter tells Colonel Klink to tell Hogan that he's not speaking to him and won't discuss the matter. Then Burkhalter gets on Klink for talking to Hogan, so Klink tells Sergeant Schultz to tell Hogan that he isn't speaking to him either. Notably, the conversation goes faster and faster until Burkhalter and Hogan and Klink are yelling at each other directly, until Schultz speaks up and asks them to slow down so he can relay what they're not saying to each other.

Video Games
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, after finding out the truth about Brad, Trevor is angry at Michael and, on a mission with Franklin to rescue Lamar, sends an insult his way. Michael in turn tells Franklin "Tell Trevor I said 'Bite me'".

Web Comics
  • Spacetrawler has a variant where it's less about refusing to speak, and more about recruiting the third party to bolster their argument, and the third party is an Extreme Doormat.
    Nogg: Cardinal62. Tell them we're the good guys.
    Cardinal62: (To Emily) We're the good guys.
    Emily: Well, tell alien-fish that I know a dozen good seafood recipes he'd go lovely in.
    Cardinal62: (To Nogg) She knows a dozen good seafood recipes you'd go lovely in.
    Nogg: Well, you tell her that-
  • In Darths & Droids, Princess attempts this. The person she refuses to speak with is right there, and her intermediary won't cooperate. It's eventually revealed that said intermediary, who seems to be acting difficult, is actually stuck saying the opposite of everything she means to.
    Princess: C-3PO, please inform Chewbacca that I'm not sharing a cell with him.
    C-3PO: Chewbacca: Princess insists on sharing a cell with you.
    Princess: Nevermind. Lando, please inform—
    Chewbacca: Oh, don't pretend you didn't know.
  • In an early Something*Positive strip, Pee Jee and Aubrey try to talk through Davan, who refuses to co-operate, setting Choo-Choo on them. (They then "try" to talk through Choo-Choo about how they should attack Davan).

Western Animation
  • In Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, in "Big TV", Dr. Katz refuses to talk to Ben when Ben bought a big screen TV without his permission. The trope is initially played straight (with Laura being the party relaying the messages), but is subverted in short order when both parties forget who they're not talking to.
    Ben: Dad, look me in the eye, and tell Laura to shut up.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer and Lisa talk via Marge/Bart when Lisa ruined Homer's barbecue in "Lisa the Vegetarian". (Homer soon gets confused about who he is/isn't talking to).
    Homer: Marge? Since I'm not talking to Lisa, would you please ask her to pass me the syrup?
    Marge: Dear, please pass your father the syrup, Lisa.
    Lisa: Bart, tell Dad I will only pass the syrup if it won't be used on any meat product.
    Bart: You dunkin' your sausages in that syrup, homeboy?
    Homer: Marge, tell Bart I just want to drink a nice glass of syrup like I do every morning.
    Marge: Tell him yourself, you're ignoring Lisa, not Bart.
    Homer: Bart, thank your mother for pointing that out.
    Marge: Homer, you're not not-talking to me, and secondly, I heard what you said.
    Homer: Lisa, tell your mother to get off my case!
    Bart: Uhhh, Dad. Lisa's the one you're not talking to.
    Homer: Bart! Go to your room.
    Lisa: Why don't you just eat him, Dad?!
  • In Doug, the breakup of The Beatles homage band The Beets plays out like this, with all four members of the group holding a press conference where they face away from the microphone and say things like this ("I'm not telling them, YOU tell them!") before one finally has enough and very curtly says that they're splitting up.
  • Shaggy and Scooby didn't speak to each other throughout an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, trying to use Daphne as an intermediary. However, she was too annoyed with both of them to actually do it - plus, both of them heard what the other was saying.
  • PB&J Otter: Jelly and Pinch put Peanut in the middle of their fight in "The Silent Treatment," to the point where he collapses on the ground from tiredness of running back and forth between them.
  • In "Date Night" from Dinosaur Train, Don refuses to speak with the babysitter Keira, using Buddy as his messenger, until he finally warms up to her.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, Raimundo and Kimiko do this through Omi once. Since they were right next to each other at the time, they directly respond to one another while keeping up the Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him charade, leaving naive Omi to politely try to send the message at each interval.
  • In the Arthur episode, "Mom and Dad Have a Great Big Fight", D.W. pictures this happening in an Imagine Spot if her Mom and Dad never stop fighting.
    Jane: "Tell your father, 'Merry Christmas'!"
    (D.W. runs over to David, who is sitting at the other end of a long table.)
    D.W.: "Mother says, 'Merry Christmas', Father."
    David: "Tell your Mother, 'And a Happy New Year'!"
    (D.W. runs back to the other end of the table as the imagine spot ends.)

Alternative Title(s): Tell Her Im Not Speaking To Her