Is He ‘Negging’ You?


First, there was ghosting. Then, HuffPost reported on the new trend, mosting, where someone lays on the compliments, makes you feel special and exclusive, THEN they ghost you (I want to know what sicko does this because I have some choice words for them). In addition, there’s a whole list that can be found here, that includes breadcrumbing, submarining, and my personal favorite—shaveducking—which means you’re only attracted to someone when they have a beard.

Negging, however, can be hard to spot when you’re involved. Summarized, negging is the act of putting someone down to bring down their confidence, usually veiled in a compliment. It’s a manipulative tactic usually used (usually) by men to bring down women who are seen as too confident and sure of themselves to then secure a date, but cannot be limited to those genders or that exchange of power.  Urban Dictionary defines it has “low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances.” Um, EW!

To be clear: negging someone is completely abusive, and it is not normal behavior.

The tricky thing about negging is that it’s not always obvious since it might initially sound like a compliment, like the examples I’ve received below:

“You’re really ambitious. Are you sure you have time for me?”
“You have such a beautiful face. It reminds me of my ex.”

“Your eyes are so beautiful. Are they even real?”

“You have legs for days… must suck being that tall, though.”


A step further is that negging can be outright racist:

“You’re so hot… must be those Latina genes.”

“I love your hair! How do you…get it to stay like that?”

“I mean, you’re pretty, for a Puerto Rican girl.”

Notice that most negging statements are a compliment, followed by an insult. One of the ways I recognize negging right away is that if I can remove what comes before but, or before a pause, and if it sounds like an insult, there’s a high chance that I’m being negged or insulted. For example: “You’re really pretty!” is a compliment, “You’re really pretty, but I would do something about those eyebrows” is negging. Imagine if someone walked up to you and simply said, “you should do something about those eyebrows.” How does that make you feel outright?

Even further, if you want to see if this is a genuine compliment or not, see what happens when you clearly express that you didn’t find that funny or if something he said hurt your feelings: if an argument ensues or if they outright insult you even more, that’s a surefire way to know you’re getting negged, and it’s time to get out of there.

Dating and Relationship Writer Demetrius Figueroa has a zero tolerance policy for negging. “I hate any method for flirting whose goal is to undermine someone’s confidence in the hopes that they’ll find you more attractive…people neg when they flirt because they lack confidence,” he says. “It’s as simple as that. A confident person doesn’t need to tear others down to build up their confidence.

Anyone who negs is someone who doesn’t think they can flirt with someone attractive without first taking a shot at them. It’s such a toxic way to approach flirting. It teaches people (though let’s be honest here, mostly men), that the only way to get someone to be interested in you is mess with their head.”

There’s a few ways to shut it down, but know that, in some instances, there are going to be men who explode and insult you. Remember that your safety IS the priority and it is NOT your fault that you are in that situation. My usual way of getting out of those situations is to laugh it off and leave the area as quickly as I can, or to simply say that I’m not interested, and keep it moving.

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