Sheldon: She's not my girlfriend.
Penny: How long has this been going on?
Leonard: Four months.
Sheldon: She's not my girlfriend.
Penny: Are you telling me, for the past four months I have been asking you what's new and you never thought to go with Sheldon has a girlfriend??
Sheldon: She's not my girlfriend.
Sheldon: All right, everyone pay attention. Yes, I have a friend named Amy Farrah Fowler. Yes, she is female. Yes, we communicate on a daily basis, but no, she is not my girlfriend.
A standard response in the face of an accusation that two characters are more than Just Friends. Usually said with an exclamation point — or ten — at the end, and emphasis on the "NOT", maybe accompanied by breaking something.
"He is not my boyfriend!" is another version, albeit not as common, probably in a 65/35% ratio. There are also instances when the two accused say it simultaneously.
Is it true? Technically, yes. Hilarity — if not bloodshed — ensues, because:
- Nobody believes them anyway.
- The speaker and subject are long overdue for a Relationship Upgrade.
- The subject was under the opposite impression.
A common variation, especially in the second case, is when the speaker is asked about the not girlfriend/boyfriend in question, and they respond with the line, even though the accusation was never brought up in the first place. Alternately, the accusation is made, but not the name, which the defendant then gives up. In either case, cue satisfied smirk by the asker.
The number of exclamation marks and how much the characters protest and try to convince people that they aren't together is usually proportionate to the amount of Unresolved Sexual Tension between the characters in question. Presumably, characters who really are just friends wouldn't feel threatened by the accusation. For extra fun, try saying it about some characters who have Belligerent Sexual Tension. Sometimes the character is in love, but doesn't realize it.
Especially common in shows and on channels ("Teen" Nick goes crazy with this) where kids and/or preteens are the main audience. Quite interesting, as more often than not, most kids aren't ready for that kinda stuff yet, and therefore could use whatever interpretation comes their way. For some, the trope can be coupled with the fact that it allows for both a male and female protagonist in starring roles (thus reaching a wider audience) but is as far as either the Media Watchdogs or writers will ever go in terms of illustrating romance and relationships in a series.
See also Relative Error, for when the pair involved are relatives of each other; Mistaken for Romance, for when the pair involved actually aren't a pair; and Not That Kind of Partner, for another way of denying a romantic relationship.
An Overdramatic Dating Commotion might force one of the characters involved in the mini dating scandal to come forward and make it clear that the other character isn't their significant other and they're definitely not an item.
Compare/contrast with Stupid Sexy Friend, wherein deciding they should just be friends is contrasted with the thoughts they can't get rid of about being more than friends, Insistent Terminology ("She's not my girlfriend, she's my very close gal pal!"), and Relationship Labeling Problems, in which they won't outright deny being romantically involved, but they won't quite declare themselves an official couple either. Compare Is That Cute Kid Yours?
- Anime & Manga
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- Western Animation
- Happy Heroes: In episode 9, Smart S. gains legions of fanboys and fangirls after beating a world record. While he's out meeting his fans, one of the fangirls sees Sweet S. with him and runs away in heartbroken tears when she assumes she's his girlfriend. Then a fanboy sees him with Careless S. and assumes he's his boyfriend. Then Happy S. assures the audience that Smart S. has "no friends", not realizing until it's too late that maybe that wasn't the best choice of words as the entire audience breaks down in tears.
- Mitch Hedberg: "I don't have a girlfriend, I just know a girl who would get really angry if she heard me say that."
- In Batgirl (2009), Damian is going undercover as an actual child and is approached by Recurring Extra Nell.
Stephanie: Stick with your girlfriend—
Damian: She's not my girlfriend.
Stephanie: You're getting married. Now see if you spot anything out of the ordinary.
- Interestingly enough, Terry drops this quote verbatim in the Hush Beyond comic when Bruce calls Max his girlfriend. It appears to be a mix of Ship Tease and Everyone Can See It, but Played for Laughs rather than romantic tension.
- Captain America: A running gag involving Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter during the Mark Waid run on Captain America. Played with in that they used to date and have a very strained relationship at present.
- In the Captain N: The Game Master comics from the Nintendo Comics System, Princess Lana acknowledges to Samus Aran that Kevin is Not Her Boyfriend. The result is your classic Betty and Veronica Love Triangle.
- Dominic and Claire: In their story together, Cousin Rusty teases Dominic about loving Claire which he denies. Dominic returns fire by taunting Rusty over Samantha from Sunnyville Stories; Rusty says she's just a friend, blushing when doing so.
- The F1rst Hero: Jake Roth's parents think that Ms. Desmond, one of their company's employees, is his girlfriend. He tries to tell them otherwise as they enter the elevator, but the door closes on him before he can finish his sentence.
- In the Gravity Falls: Lost Legends story "Face It", after the story's plot is concluded, Pacifica sent a text message telling Dipper that the hug she gave him didn't mean anything. Unfortunately for her, she actually sent the text to Mabel, and unconvincingly claims the text is just a joke.
- Green Lantern has Kyle Rayner and Bleez. While Kyle's identity is a secret, anyone who meets him and Bleez (and who isn't familiar with the history of the Green Lantern Corps) assumes they're a couple because... well, she's hot and they assume Green Lantern would have a hot alien girlfriend.
- The Incredible Hercules: Amadeus Cho famously denied that he and Herc were romantically involved in any way, saying "I am not his eromenos"note . Among other funny lines like "The technical term is adventuring companions" and "I've read those Internet postings too, and take it from the source, they're total bull!" Much later in Prince of Power #1, the Griffin taunted him by saying he heard someone killed his boyfriend and asked if it was too soon. Cho just replied that it was right on time.
- In the Mega Man (Archie Comics) series, Vector Woman frequently teases Protoman and Quake Woman about their "relationship".
- In Minimonsters, many people (mostly Victor) teases Frank about his not-so secret crush on Henrietta, and that makes Frank blushing and shout desperately that she's not his girlfriend.
- In Pocket God, Sun tells Toola that Ooga's not her boyfriend when she asks about their relationship.
- Robin: Poor Tim has to tell people multiple times that he and Steph aren't dating, not helped by the fact that he slowly realizes he likes her but feels like he can't break up with his current girlfriend Ariana because of all the horrible things that had happened to her lately. When Ari breaks up with him he starts dating Steph before the week is up.
- Wonder Woman Vol 1: The young merfolk Firra and Renno who live just off Paradise Island have to explain empathically that they are not dating and are just good friends. In this case neither of them have any romantic interest in the other, but Wonder Girl has a hard time believing them since Renno was spending so much time at a dance with Firra.
- Y: The Last Man: Yorick frequently has to inform people that his bodyguard Agent 355 is not his girlfriend. Ironically 355 often pretends Yorick is her transgender girlfriend in order to hide that he's the last man on Earth.
- "I'm Not Your Boyfriend" by 3OH3.
- 10cc, "I'm Not In Love".
- The song by Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean", is focused on this trope. In this case, it's Played for Drama, since she is also falsely claiming Jackson is her son's father. Billie Jean represents various groupies who tried to lure Jackson and his brothers into sex so they could have kids and rope the boys into marrying them.
- In Cabin Pressure, Herc is not Carolyn's boyfriend; he is certainly not her partner; he is ... a man she knows.
- A staple of musical theatre is the "Conditional Love Song," sung by the Official Couple before they've had time to fall in love, though they invariably will:
- "Make Believe" from Show Boat ("might as well make believe I love you... for to tell the truth, I do!").
- "People Will Say We're in Love" from Oklahoma!.
- "If I Loved You" from Carousel.
- In "I'll Know" from Guys and Dolls, Sky and Sarah sing about their perfect loves and how unlike each other said love will be. A few scenes later, they start to realise their attraction to each other.
- "Don't Like You" from The Beautiful Game (a.k.a. The Boys in the Photograph) by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton.
- "Not That Kind of Thing" from the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of The Wedding Singer.
- "The Bro Duet" from Moment By Moment.
- Just before "My Petersberg", Dmitry and Anastasia arrive on a street where Dmitry's ex-con partners are gathered, drunk and still drinking. Upon seeing the duo, they tease him saying he got a new girlfriend to which he responds with the usual "She's not my girlfriend!", grab's her hand, and tries to walk away from the group, leading to a fight.
- After "The Press Conference", Marie asks Anastasia where her young man is, referring to Dmitry, as she believes they're together. Anastasia tells her he is not her young man and Marie tries again while Anastasia again claims they're not in a relationship.
Marie: Where is your young man?
Anastasia: He is not my young man.
Marie: If it's not plain to you that he loves you-
Anastasia: He is not my young man!
Marie: When he refused my reward for finding you, I thought 'Anastasia has found herself another kind of Prince. One of character, not birth'.
- The Pajama Game: Babe, in denial that she's attracted to Sid, sings "I'm Not At All In Love," a claim which is met with smirking derision from the girls:
It's easy to see that her daffy grin
Is the grin she always wears,
And she's breathless because
She ran up a flight of stairs!
Obviously! Naturally! Certainly!
- RENT: Benny teases Mimi about their past relationship in front of her new lover Roger: "Does your boyfriend know who your last boyfriend was?' and Roger angrily responds: "I'm not her boyfriend, I don't care what she does!"
- Diane and Nick from Come from Away are mistaken for husband and wife by Claude in the song "Screech In", who is bewildered that they could make their marriage work with him living in England and her in Texas. They then clarify that they've actually just met. They end up married anyway. Interestingly, the specific conversation also happened in Real Life.
Claude: Alright. Where are you folks from?
Diane: Texas and—
Claude: Texas! (to Nick) What part of Texas are you from, buddy?
Nick: No, I'm from—
Diane: No, I'm from Texas. He's from England.
Claude: Wait. Now how does that work?
Nick: How does what work?
Claude: Well, how does your marriage work with you being in England and her in Texas?
Nick and Diane: No— we're not married!
Claude: Oh, I'm sorry— I just assumed you were married... Well, would you like to be?
Diane: Well, why not?!
- Trevor in Lizard Boy when Siren threatens Cary.
Siren: I will become as powerful as that Mount St. Helens monster! And then, I will kill your boyfriend!
Trevor: He is not my boyfriend!... yet. [turning to Cary] But, I do like you.
- In Jasper in Deadland, Jasper says the line word-for-word early on and is adamant that he and Agnes are just close friends, but later on he realizes he does love Agnes romantically.
- Ace Attorney: Gumshoe outright uses this line for defense, as well, with regards to Maggey Byrde. Phoenix doesn't buy it for a moment.
Phoenix: (Note to self: Gossip with Maya about this later!)
- In Cafe Enchante:
- Regardless if the player chooses to romance Canus, several locals believe that Kotone and Canus are dating despite their attempts to dispel the rumors.
- In the beginning of Ignis's route, Dromi flat out asks if Kotone is Ignis's mate, since he often sees them together. Kotone did not get the implications but Ignis clearly did and became very flustered and denied anything.
- Collar × Malice:
- Yoshinari mistakes Okazaki and Ichika as dating early in Okazaki's route since he noticed them spending lots of time together despite their insistence they were not dating.
- When Enomoto first meets Saeki and Ichika reveals that she has been to Saeki's house plenty of times, Enomoto thinks the two of them are dating. Then it's switched around when the drunk Saeki notices Enomoto and Ichika arguing and thinks they are the ones dating.
- Downplayed when Yanagi meets Saeki and Ichika has the option to tell Yanagi that she and Saeki are Just Friends. Yanagi is amused and reminds her that he is not Enomoto who tends to jump to conclusions.
- In Yanagi's route, when helping a lost little girl, she thinks that Ichika and Yanagi are a couple. Yanagi tries to explain it in simple terms so that the little girl could understand and ends up saying that Ichika and the little girl are like sisters to him. Ichika quietly muses to herself that for some reason, it bothered to hear Yanagi think of her like a sister.
- Since Doki Doki Literature Club! starts out as a parodied or even played-straight Romance Game before it gets creative, the protagonist has several dialogues where he denies having a thing with one or the other of the girls. Whether he actually is courting said girl has no effect on whether he will deny it. The only girl he never has to say this about is Monika.
- Everyone seems to be under the impression that Toko and Reiji have some kind of relationship in The Shell. Rather than being defensive about it, Reiji is mostly bemused.
- Yamato in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! regarding Miyako, repeatedly, as a single indication toward anything remotely different causes Miyako to appear out of nowhere and seize the opportunity.
- Rin Tohsaka in Fate/stay night can get like this. Especially prevalent in one scene in "Unlimited Blade Works", where Shirou can warn Lancer to stay away from Tohsaka, to which she keeps desperately denying that she and Shirou are in love, while Shirou just smirks and doesn't deny anything, and Lancer laughs his ass off at Rin's reaction.
Rin: Why are you not saying anything? This is looking as if we actually are in love!
Lancer: [laughing] Please. There's no "as if" about it!
- In Higurashi Daybreak, the Higurashi: When They Cry fighting game, when you're playing Story Mode as a Keiichi-Rena team, most of the adults will ask if you're a couple. Rena is delighted at the notion, but Keiichi protests. This actually becomes the stakes for the last two battles, thanks to a Love Triangle with Mion at her most Tsundere.
- Minotaur Hotel: After a certain point in the main route, people mistake you for being in a relationship with Asterion, and you have to correct them that you're not in a relationship with him (yet).
- Sable's Grimoire:
- In Sable's Grimoire: Man and Elf, the haughty elf Lisha gets flustered and angry whenever someone suggests that she and Sable are more than friends. Unfortunately for her, everyone they meet makes that assumption.
- In Sable's Grimoire: A Dragon's Treasure, Sable is the one to get defensive and embarrassed whenever someone suggests that he and Drakan are a couple.
- Zero Escape Trilogy:
- Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: In the cargo room, after Akane's gushing over Junpei's photo starts reaching Sickeningly Sweethearts levels, Santa tells them to knock it off, to which Akane says that they're not a couple.
- Virtue's Last Reward: When Quark refers to the girl from Tenmyouji's photo as "his [Tenmyouji's] first love", Tenmyouji replies that she's not. Sigma doesn't buy it for a second and calls Tenmyouji a "hopeless romantic". Tenmyouji is Junpei and the girl is Akane, so Quark and Sigma turn out to be right.
- Zero Time Dilemma: When Carlos asks if they're a couple, it's Junpei's turn to say it about Akane. While holding the ring he intends to use to propose to her that very day.
- Channel Awesome:
- In "Thanks for the Feedback: Date with Doug", The Nostalgia Chick denies having any attraction to The Nostalgia Critic. It was a little too firm to be believed anyway, but lost all credibility when Doug and Lindsay confirmed later that the characters had already had sex at this point.
- She does it again (just with the word "ally" instead of "boyfriend") when Mara Wilson wants to kill her to hurt him, but contradicts herself a few minutes later when they both mope about missing him.
- In The Guild, Codex insists that "there is no circumstance under which [she and Zaboo] are together in any shape or form". Zaboo feels differently.
- Helluva Boss: Ozzie and Fizzarolli vehemently deny that they are in love. To an assistant who just walked in on them about to have sex in Ozzie's kitchen. Nope, it's just unemotional sex, no romance involved, because love is stupid. The assistant knows better than to not play along and quietly leaves the room.