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It Doesn't Mean Anything

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Two people who are Just Friends do something that proves otherwise. Be it an Accidental Kiss, Almost Kiss, Fake-Out Make-Out, Kissing Under the Influence, or whatever. Afterwards, they will simply insist that It Doesn't Mean Anything or didn't happen. Their body language usually betrays their true feelings towards the situation, and one of the two will usually come right out and say "It Meant Something to Me".

The inner motivation of the individual doing the denying is typically either fear of intimacy by someone who is insecure or avoidant, or the machinations of a sociopath deliberately gaslighting their partner after they got what they wanted from the encounter. The tone can thus easily vary widely, from low comedy to bitter tragedy.

One common version of this is when, for one reason or another, character A asks character B to pose as his/her boy/girl-friend or significant other. Usually ending up with both characters awkwardly ambling through being told what a cute couple they make. This is also one of the first things the Tsundere will say in her defense.

If this trope involves them insisting that a shared kiss didn't mean anything, the agreement will often be followed by a kiss. Nothing to do with word salads, Faux Symbolism, Death Is Cheap, Speaking Simlish or The Points Mean Nothing.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sousuke and Inaba in Full Metal Panic! pretend to be boyfriend/girlfriend to impress Inaba's friends. While they are "practicing", Kaname keeps telling herself that this trope is at work.
    • Kaname also has a tendency to dismiss Sousuke's fierce loyalty towards her as simply an execution of his duty as her bodyguard rather than love, unaware that he's come to see her as a Living Emotional Crutch.
  • In The Wallflower, after an accidental kiss between the two, Kyohei convinces Sunako that a passionless kiss doesn't mean anything and that she should just forget about it.
    • They later begin using this same line of thinking when everyone tries to convince them that they're in love with each other, which is all but obvious to everyone but them.
  • In order to protect themselves from a pissed off attacker, Keima pretends to be Tenri's lover in The World God Only Knows. This is something he's quite used to doing, but when Tenri (and Diana) remember afterward it gets trickier. Fortunately, Tenri knows it was all acting, but Diana is pretty annoyed and tries to make Keima marry Tenri.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: The Killing Joke. After Barbara Gordon/Batgirl has sex with Batman, she argues that they can go back to their previous student/mentor relationship. Batman thinks otherwise, and it breaks up their partnership.
    Batgirl: It was just sex for God's sake! It doesn't have to mean anything; it's not like we have to care! I don't care, you don't care! We just go back like it was, that's all!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Lover is about an illicit affair between a fifteen-year old French girl and her wealthy Chinese lover in French Indo-China. Due to the social mores of the time it's unthinkable that two people of different races would fall in love, so they have lots of passionate sex while denying throughout the movie that they have any romantic attachment, pretending the whole thing is just a monetary arrangement.
  • In Plan B, this is Bruno and Pablo's initial attitude towards their kisses. Their first few kisses are done to amuse their friend Ana, who makes a point of telling a not-quite-convinced Pablo that him kissing Bruno won't make him suddenly gay. Then they have a longer Practice Kiss with Bruno coaxing a reluctant Pablo into doing it by insisting that it's just a kiss and nothing will happen between them.

  • The Mirrorworld Series: Jacob more or less says this to Clara. She doesn't quite believe him. Neither does Fox. Come to think of it, he has his own doubts on the matter...
  • Cat from the Night Huntress series insists that her attraction to Bones is caused by alcohol, instead of being revealed by it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Gothic (1995). Despite being opposed to everything he is, Gail Emory sleeps with Sheriff Lucas Buck. Before doing so, she makes a point of letting him know that this is solely due to sexual desire.
  • Arrow has one involving a third party. In "Keep Your Enemies Closer", Felicity Smoak catches Oliver Queen in bed with his business partner Isabel Rochev. He explains later that he slept with her because she meant nothing to him, saying it's best if he doesn't get involved with someone he cares about. Felicity is clearly not happy with this explanation, saying only that he deserves better.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), Apollo and Starbuck have some major drunken making out and things start getting heated before Apollo tries to slow them down, noticing that she seems to be upset. Starbuck's immediate response is to claim she just wanted an easy lay, and that there is nothing between the two of them - an obvious lie to anyone who's watched them together up until that point.
  • The infamous Mistletoe/Caroline induced kiss in Bones eventually leads to a conversation between Booth, Bones, and Dr. Sweets, during which Bones proclaims that the kiss "was totally sexless" and "was nothing". Sweets disagrees.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Buffy used this defense with Spike after their first kiss, second kiss, and... the rest of their "relationship".
      Spike: What is it to you? This thing we have.
      Buffy: We don't have a 'thing'. We have this.
    • Played for Laughs in "Lover's Walk" when Spike moans that Drusilla has rejected him over his Enemy Mine alliance with Buffy in "Becoming". "I told her it didn't mean anything, I was thinking of her the whole time, but she didn't care." Of course Drusilla is a seer, so she probably knew something that Spike didn't.
    • In "Who Are You?", when Faith (in Buffy's body) has sex with Riley Finn, his affection during the act freaks her out so much she pulls away from him and starts babbling, "This is meaningless."
    • In "Innocence", Willow flees the room after catching Xander kissing Cordelia.
      Xander: All right! Let's overreact, shall we? We were kissing. It doesn't mean that much.
      Willow: No. It just means you'd rather be with someone you hate... than be with me.
    • And in the same episode, Angel's evil Split Personality, Angelus, uses this as a Break the Cutie tactic on Buffy, who isn't yet aware he turned evil after Their First Time.
      Angelus: Lighten up. It was a good time. It doesn't mean like we have to make a big deal.
      Buffy: (in tears) It is a big deal!
      Angelus: It's what? Bells ringing, fireworks, a dulcet choir of pretty little birdies? (laughs) Come on, Buffy. It's not like I've never been there before.
    • In the Angel spin-off, Wesley and Lilah do this throughout their Dating Catwoman relationship.
      Lilah: Don't go making more of this than it is. I'm not one of the doe-y eyed girls of Angel Investigations. Don't be thinking about me when I'm gone.
      Wesley: I wasn't thinking about you when you were here.
    • A weird example in season 7; in "Touched", Buffy and Spike spend a night simply holding each other—fully-clothed, never kissing—and the action is shown adjacent to all the other couples having sex. The next day, they feel awkward about it and try to brush it off as nothing. That is, until Buffy gets fed up and they both admit It Meant Something to Me. Once again, however, they back off from the implication that follows from that admittance.
  • In Community episode "Debate 109", the kiss between Jeff and Annie was strategic and joyless.
  • In the second season of Dead Like Me, Daisy kisses Mason and then adds, "Don't make any more of it than it is."
  • Doctor Who: In "Smith and Jones", Martha gets kissed by the Doctor. It's for plot reasons (he has to transfer some of his DNA to throw off the aliens chasing him) but she does develop a crush on the Doctor...
    The Doctor: Just forgive me for this. It could save a thousand lives. It means nothing. Honestly, nothing.
    (The Doctor kisses Martha, long and hard, then runs away)
    Martha: That was nothing?
  • After Aeryn and John's first kiss on Farscape they both claim it was because of oxygen deprivation and a stressful moment. They also used the stress excuse for the first time they slept together.
  • For All Mankind. When an astronaut has to marry The Beard so both parties can cover up their homosexuality from an FBI investigation, she tells her lesbian lover that the marriage doesn't mean anything. Her lover on the other hand is furious and promises to break up with her if they go through with it.
  • In Friends after Monica and Chandler sleep together for the first time, they insist to never do it again, then ask each other when they can do it again. A few episodes later, an unsuspecting Rachel sets herself and Monica up on dates with male nurses, and Chandler finds out from Joey. Pre-empting rejection, he tells Monica that since they're just goofing around, it doesn't matter whether she dates anyone else. She's clearly stung and admits she was going to get out of the date for him, but if they're just goofing around, she'll go on the date after all. They work it out by the end of the episode, whereupon all pretence that they're just Friends with Benefits is over.
    • Also notably averted with Monica and Joey—Chandler and Monica are asked to explain exactly how they got together, and Monica admits that it was actually Joey she had been looking for with the intention of sleeping with him, precisely because she wanted something "stupid and meaningless". (Joey was The Casanova, while Chandler had a track record of getting attached to women he slept with, even casually, and she was much closer to Chandler than Joey thus valuing their friendship more). However she found Chandler first and, well...
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Barney and Robin cheat on their respective partners with each other and quickly decide that it doesn't mean anything, it can't mean anything. This despite them having had two interrupted almost kisses a short while before. Strangely enough, it's Barney of all people who admits that it meant something to him; Robin denies it and goes back to her boyfriend
  • Scrubs had JD and Carla drunkenly kiss after JD spent the night trying to convince her to forgive Turk. They both say this immediately after and maintain it after telling Turk about the incident. In this case it really didn't mean anything, but finally made Carla realize how easy it can be to make a small mistake, giving her the impetus to forgive Turk for his.
  • In Smallville, Clark and Lois naturally do this more than everyone else put together. Throughout the first few seasons after Lois's arrival, they are Vitriolic Best Buds, but do things that reveal UST at least Once an Episode every time Lois is around. Finally in Seasons 8 and 9 it gets to the point where neither can deny it any longer. And there was much rejoicing, both in-universe and out.
    • Chloe would also act this way towards Clark frequently in the earlier seasons, though she eventually grew out of her crush. They ended up as Platonic Life-Partners.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. T'Pol does this all the time during her relationship with Trip Tucker. Given that her emotional control is suggested to be less than many Vulcans (and there's a lot more prejudice against Interspecies Romance in these pre-Federation days) she's afraid of getting involved with Trip. This leads to a lot of Belligerent Sexual Tension.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, if the protagonist and Rachel start having sex again, Rachel asks if it means they’re dating again. The protagonist replies that it doesn’t have to mean anything.
  • The protagonist and title character of Melody decide this after their heat-of-the-moment kiss. However, they are both obviously in denial.

  • In Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Lucy kisses Mike after a particularly unpleasant encounter with some youth gang members. She immediately denies that it meant anything, but it obviously did for both parties.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan and Justin share a kiss at one point... while gender-bent and in a moment of emotional vulnerability, so unusual hormones probably had something to do with it. Afterwards the two of them laugh it off and both agree it didn't mean anything, and nothing more is made of it.
  • In Penny and Aggie, Penny reacts this way after her frenemy, Handsome Lech Stan, gives her a good-bye kiss out of habit (he'd ended up in her bedroom by accident) and they both get unexpectedly turned on. The scene pairs this trope with That Didn't Happen.

    Web Original 
  • At the end of Greek Ninja, Sasha and Daichi have a moment, specifically he hugs her, in a way that is obvious it's not just casual. Such intimate contact is not common in Japan between friends, so when she questions him on it, he simply replies: 'I meant it the western way then.'

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In the episode "Beast of the Temple", Wheeler decoys a dragon wrecking the country from Linka when her foot sticks fast in a tangle of roots, resulting in an extremely warm welcome when he comes back. At the end, Wheeler remarks that he thinks he'll miss Thailand. This surprises Linka because he didn't want to be there in the beginning. Wheeler answers that her hugging him changed his mind, and Linka tries to downplay her reaction by saying that Wheeler was just a better option than the dragon. After she turns away, Wheeler's face switches to a "kicked puppy" expression.
  • Danny and Sam from Danny Phantom and their Fake-Out Make-Out to fool Hunter of Monsters Valerie. They obviously felt something, but deny it. This continues on throughout the rest of the series.
  • When the crew goes on a cruise in Futurama, Leela pretends to be Fry's girlfriend so Zapp Brannigan will leave her alone. After she kisses Fry and Zapp leaves, she tells Fry, "That was for Zapp." Fry asks if she has anything else for him.
    • In the same episode, Fry also ends up posing as Amy's boyfriend in front of her parents (for similar reasons). Leela is clearly upset but Fry assures her that his fake-relationship (and kiss) with Amy means nothing compared to his fake-relationship with Leela.