How To Tell If A Guy Is 'Negging' You, And How To Shut Him Down

by Arielle Lana LeJarde
Paramount Pictures

Has a guy ever insulted you because you didn't respond well to his advances?

That's called "negging," and it's fucking horrible.

Urban Dictionary describes this flirting technique best as "low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances."

My take on it? It's misogynistic, stupid and will never get you anywhere (if your goal is a non-toxic, healthy relationship).

But let's explore what exactly negging looks like and why guys do it so that you can recognize it as it's happening and shut down an a-hole before he has a chance to mind trick you into going on a date with him.

How To Spot Negging

I've had my fair share of negs, in real life as well as online.

One time, a guy called me "high-maintenance, but pretty," asked me out and then called me a skank when I turned him down.

And they say chivalry isn't dead.

Negging can be as simple as a:

1. A backhanded compliment: You're really pretty for an Asian girl.

2. A critique and suggestion: That shirt looks good on you, but I don't think blue is your color.

3. A weird statement: You remind me of my mom.

4. A question (with an obvious answer), which can be perceived as an insult: Are your nails/hair/boobs real?

5. An outright diss: You are so short. How can you even see?

These are just a few personal examples I've received, and I know many of you may be able to relate.

Why Guys Neg

TheRedPill is every feminist's nightmare — a subreddit that describes itself as a "discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men" — but I knew I could find (comedy) gold in it to help explain why guys try negging.

Naturally, I found this gem of a thread called "HumanSockPuppet's Guide to Teasing Bitches."

That's right. To some guys, negging is just teasing. It's totally not trying to lower a woman's self-esteem so she feels vulnerable and more likely to go out with you, or anything.

According to HumanSockPuppet, this is how and why guys should neg:

Speak to women as though they are children — because emotionally, they are. They have the same small passions and cravings for fantasy that children have — girls just want to have fun ... you can speak to women as though they are children and observe first-hand that they respond identically to children.

The worst part is HumanSockPuppet isn't even the only one who feels this way. User bl1y practically describes the technique the same way on another thread:

A Neg works in the exact opposite direction of supplication. Instead of telling a girl you just met how pretty she is, you tell her that maybe if she fixed her mascara you might be willing to be seen with her in public. Some people think the purpose of the Neg is to bring her down. It's not. It's designed to tell her that you're both on the same level, and your interaction is one between equals.

Later, he also goes on to say, "A Neg also serves to blast through her Bitch Shield."

I don't know, but I really don't think someone who calls women "bitches" finds them to be equals.

So yeah, as you can imagine, the reasons for why guys neg are founded in completely ludicrous and offensive theories and beliefs about women.

Bottom line? There's NO legitimate, valid or sane reason for why a guy should be negging you. So you don't have to tolerate it.

How To React To Negging

From a young age, we're taught "boys will be boys" and "he teases you because he likes you." But I refuse to accept that guys treat me like crap because they're "just being guys."

A guy who is putting me down isn't showing he likes me AT ALL.

And apparently, a lot of women agree. I found this Reddit thread asking how women react to negs, and the results restored my faith in humanity.

Turns out, most women also reject these assholes outright:

I was bullied as a child, this is a sure fire [sic] way of making me want to get as far away from someone as possible.

— anonymous

By laughing and walking away. If I'm going to spend my time with someone, I'm not going to endure insults to do it. I'm worth more than that.

— /u/celestialism

I feel secondhand embarrassment for the person doing the negging.

— /u/lazybarista

I automatically deduct 30 IQ points.


I react to it the same way I do to any backhanded compliment or politely phrased insult, I decide the person is probably an asshole invested in maintaining their 'coolness/status/whatever' and who thinks that they should manipulate other people's insecurities because their own insecurity level is so high.

— nevertruly

As for me? Well, I'm a big fan of insulting them back.

You might try giving them suggestions of better insults or — my personal favorite — grading them on their negging performance.

A personal example:

Arielle Lana/OkCupid

Bottom line, ladies, the next time you feel like you're being negged, shut that down right quick. You deserve better.

Oh so much better.