How To Handle The “Nothing” Reply

You should be familiar with it. It looks something like this, a friend’s tapping their feet on the floor while also staring at the clock and no matter how many times you ask, she says there’s no problem or simply snaps, “I said there’s nothing!” Then 2 hours later, a call comes in and she rushes out excitedly only to return smiling with a Jumia package. That was the “nothing” she was referring to. Yes, you must have been in that situation before either as the asker or the “nothinger” as I like to call them.

Understandably, you may have felt like shooting that person after that reply, or simply beating them up because obviously, their body language and mood made it clear that there is actually a SOMETHING! I have them all around me, but what can we do but manage since I do the same thing regularly. Haha

 You must have observed that your mood would possibly change too to become anxious like theirs (you have to watch  them pace as you can no longer concentrate on whatever you ought to do) or sad/depressed (for that crying friend who still refuses to talk) and in some cases even share their guilt.

There are some reasons why the nothing reply shows up

  • The person is just not ready to answer yet. It happens especially in a case where what is about to be revealed would make them look stupid like how she misplaced the wristwatch you just gave her 2 days ago.
  • It could be to just evade further probing. I know that’s what I do when I don’t want to talk immediately but still have not zipped up the feelings enough to avoid being noticed.
  • Maybe it’s YOU they don’t want to talk to; Hey! Hard nut to swallow but it happens. He could just be waiting for big bro’s advice on the matter and one last born is asking.
  • Sometimes, they’re trying to “protect” your feelings. They could have heard a rumour about you or have seen your horrible result or they know about the secret surprise birthday party about to happen in 20mis and don’t want to the first to tell you about it.
  • The Nothinger could actually want more probing. In this case their “nothing” could be them asking you to keep the questions rolling. They probably just want a little attention or cuddling. Then some cases when they do talk, the SOMETHING could end up actually being nothing.
  • For spite; sounds horrible but when you know someone cares about you, one way to really hurt them is to deliberately make them know you’re not alright and still refuse to say the reason. Like if dad didn’t get you what you asked for and you go around the house moping and giving one word answers. It also works as a means of  punishment, the silence hits home faster than words I must say, especially if the other person suspects she’s gone wrong somewhere.

To all the Nothingers out there, and I mean you too cause I feel we’ve all being culprits before, let’s try answers like “I don’t feel like talking now”, “I can’t say” or my little sister’s favourite, “ I don’t want to tell you” or just plain “ Later”. They’re closer to the truth and remove some of the hurt, helplessness, inadequacy and even anger that comes with the “’ nothing” reply. It causes a lot of discomfort and punctures relationships. It’ll be better to simply explain your pain and ask for some space.

And if you’re the questioner, the look in the nothinger’s eye should guide you on your next move, if to probe further or just drop it. Personally, I drop the questions after 2 “nothings” and try again later; I usually get my answer then.

If what the person wants is some probing or cuddling, you’ll know. Like I said, it’s all in the eyes.

Have you been in the “questioner” or “Nothinger” position before? Please share in the comment box. Ill so love to hear yours.

Hi, I'm Chioma Jeremiah. I'm passionate about helping my community see the beautiful light that each day brings. My goal is to inspire you with everything that will make each read the best for you.


  • Alex B

    Lol.. I’ve been in both positions.
    As a ‘questioner”, I could ask, drop, then ask again or ask and drop it totally. It depends on the verbal and non verbal feedback I get.
    As a “nothingner”, your first five reasons are usually… I’ll try to engage the responses you suggested instead.

    • Favour Chin

      I’ve been both the questioner and nothinger

      Questioner:I remember asking my sister about what my brother had just told her and she was like “nothing”,I asked again cause I really wanted to know it and I got the same reply and I just started staring at her and thinking of how I could run towards her quickly has “Flash” and give her some pains on her cheeks😂

      Nothinger: well I do this very few times when angry, but normally I don’t like the nothing word ,I do say,”I can’t say”or “I don’t want to tell you”I prefer being straight forward and so clear😎😁

  • Francis

    “In this case their “nothing” could be them asking you to keep the questions rolling. They probably just want a little attention or cuddling. Then some cases when they do talk, the SOMETHING could end up actually being nothing.”

    This really got me. but i must say, I have always been the questioner most times. Few times i have been ‘nothingner’.

    Always got pissed.

    Thanks for the alternative response to nothing.

    Am still enjoying the cruise……

  • Precious jay

    For the spite, I do that a lot
    To my parents and people around me …
    To be truthful……. 🙄😉I love doing it

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