Jamie: Why are you staying?!? She doesn't care about you. She's treating you like garbage.

John: It's not about her. I am staying because I need to fulfill my purpose.

Do you say "It's not about her"? It doesn't sound right, but I feel like I've heard this before. I use "It's not about her" to mean "I am not staying because of her", but is it the same? What's the short form for "I am not staying because of her"?

  • 2
    "it" in this case refers to the entire situation and decision, which is not "about her."
    – Esther
    Jul 31, 2022 at 4:02
  • How would you say it? It's not about it sounds wrong.
    – Sayaman
    Jul 31, 2022 at 4:20
  • 1
    I would say it exactly as written in the quote. "[this decision] isn't about her at all, I [have made this decision] because I need to fulfill my purpose"
    – Esther
    Jul 31, 2022 at 4:22
  • 1
    "It's not about her" is also perfectly fine.
    – cruthers
    Jul 31, 2022 at 22:56
  • Why is "it's not about her" correct?
    – Sayaman
    Jul 31, 2022 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


In some contexts, about can mean something close to because of when stating an action's reason or purpose.

Collins COBUILD senses:

When you mention the things that an activity or institution is about, you are saying what it involves or what its aims are.

  • Leadership is about the ability to implement change.

If you do something about a problem, you take action in order to solve it.

  • Rachel was going to do something about Jacob.
  • Of course there may be some problems you can't do anything about.

John's decision to stay, or act of staying, is about some goal he has. He claims he is not staying for her.

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