How To Respond To Negging On A Dating App, Because No One Likes Back-Handed Compliments

You know when boys used to be mean to you at recess, and you went home and cried, and your mom was like, "Oh, sweetie, that means he likes you!" It doesn't matter if a decade or two has gone by since then; some of them still pull the same crap. Only now, they "neg" you — they give weirdly backhanded compliments to lower your self-esteem, hoping you'll subconsciously want to work harder for their approval. Luckily, there are ways to respond to negging on dating apps... if you want to respond at all.

Negging is a classic technique beloved by pickup artists that's gone mainstream. A while back, my friend was dating a reformed pickup artist (true story), and he explained the strategy to me like this: "You approach a girl at a club, look her up and down, and say, 'Great dress, except for the color.' Or you offer to buy her a drink, and when she asks for a vodka soda, you say, 'Really? That's what you want?'"

In real life, your options are either to sputter back a response or to walk away. But on dating apps, it can be tougher to figure out what to do — that is, beyond screenshotting the offending message and texting it to your friends for advice.

You Can Unmatch...


Dating expert Meredith Golden, founder of SpoonmeetSpoon, suggests unmatching with anyone who negs you. "Delete him!" she says. "There’s a virtual world full of good guys, so stay away from anyone who starts killing your buzz."

Don't think you're being too picky by unmatching right away. If someone is sending insults right off the bat, they're not going to get any nicer. The first impression is pretty much as good as it gets. And you're not missing out by removing them from your phone/life/heart.

"Some guys just don't have manners, and this is a red flag you should be mindful of," Golden says. "These aren’t the guys who 'get' girls, by the way. These are the guys who will still be swiping, hearting, and negging two years from now."

There's no need to overthink it. Unmatch and move on. There are plenty of people out there who will treat you with the basic kindness and respect that you deserve.

...Or You Can Teach Them A Lesson


Tinder's newest Reactions feature lets women — and only women — send certain responses to annoying messages that will not-so-subtly put douche-y people in their place.

If someone negs you, you can use Tinder Reactions to send them a virtual dramatic eye roll or a warning strike. If their comment is really gross, you can throw a virtual martini in their face. (I've always wanted to do that. Haven't you?)

When someone negs you, they're banking on the fact that whatever terrible comment they slide your way crushes your self-esteem and gives them all the power. But by calling them out, you can grab that power back for yourself. It's fine if you don't want to date someone who negs you — but maybe you can teach them to be a better person for the next girl who comes along.

I have hope that underneath every neg-loving loser, there's actually a sensitive soul lodged somewhere deep inside... And maybe, with a little coaching, they can learn the error of their ways and begin to communicate like an upstanding human being.

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