By Rebecca Andrews
“I went on a date with a real-life Hitch!” my friend Lisa shouted in my ear, splashing champagne on my dress. “I totally fell for him but then found out what he did for a job. I felt like the biggest idiot!”
We were on the dance floor and 11/10 drunk.
“Dude, you went out with a dating guru? GIVE ME HIS DEETS!” I shouted back. And she did, by way of Instagram handle.
The following morning I Insta-duced myself as “Lisa’s friend who needs your dating advice.”
What for? I like to partake in dating experiments and the night Lisa spilled champagne on me, I’d decided I wanted to try “Negative Dating”.
What is negging?
Negative dating — also known as ‘negging’ or “The Neg” — is a form of emotional manipulation that uses insults or backhanded compliments to put women on the back foot, make her feel unwanted thus fueling her to seek the negger’s approval.
“You’re pretty, for an Asian.”
“You remind me of my little sister. Cool.”
“Shame that dress shrunk. It’s really nice.”
It sounds mean, extremely immature, and in truth, it’s really unattractive. So why does it ever work on women?
According to Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler (friend of Freud), the main motives of human behavior are superiority and power, partly in compensation for feelings of inferiority — meaning we want people to believe we are great, and also to tell us so.
Thanks to Neil Strauss’s book The Game, in which he wrote about his experience infiltrating a group of pick-up artists (also known as PUAs) and exposed their dating techniques, there is loads of information on the topic: how to neg a woman, what you can say, how to bring her down a notch with just a few phrases … but, I couldn’t see anything written by women about how to neg men.
Would it work if I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it?
The expert’s advice
Lisa’s ex Madison had been working for four years as a consultant for Real Social Dynamics, the international ‘leaders’ in dating advice for men. Charging up to $2000 for IRL sessions, and coaching over ten thousand guys, he was technically a dating expert.
But one technique he does not advise on is negging.
“It’s a very old and basic technique. No one really does it anymore,” he said to me over the phone. “But it’s still effective emotionally. Essentially it is playing hard to get, a seduction idea that has been around forever, preying on low self-esteem.”
I needed to know from Madison the key things men think about before they go on a date, i.e., weaknesses I could hone in on.
Here’s his advice:
- Presentation: their hair, clothes, body, style, i.e., is he attractive?
- Situation: the ability to organize a cool date and afford the night out, i.e., can he provide?
- Social hierarchy: where he ranks in his group, i.e., men are all primates still.
His final tip: “Use the words ‘real man.’ If you throw something about what a ‘real man’ would do in a situation, or that your ex was a ‘real man, he will freak.”
So, now that I knew where to aim, I was ready to neg.
Putting it into practice
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting great results from The Negative Dating Experiment. Males always seem more sensitive than females, particularly when it comes to poking at their self-esteem.
At best, I thought I would be snubbed and ignored, but YOLO and don’t hate the player, hate the game, guys. So off I went to a party to find myself a guinea pig.
A man-mountain walked into the party. He was 6’5″, with bright eyes and a very open, happy face. I liked him immediately. I was standing with a group of friends when I caught his eye and a few minutes later he approached with a smile.
“Have we met before? I feel like I know you?” he asked. Unoriginal, but friendly and complimentary, it’s a great line. Also a perfect intro for negging.
“Well, you are familiar to me too, but maybe you’re just common looking?” I froze, waiting for him to walk away. Instead …
He laughed, “Sounds like I’m your type, then.”
What?? Did he just neg my neg? I tried again.
“Doubtful, because I never forget a real man.” I had no idea what I meant, I just needed to use the words.
He looked at me. “I like that this is your sense of humor.”
Gah, he had negged my neg and complimented me.
And thus began …
We were throwing them like confetti at an 80s wedding.
Me: “You know this story would be interesting if you told it better.”
He: “Girls who listen are sexy.”
Me: “You came here alone, didn’t you? I can tell you’re used to that.”
He: “I don’t need back up to socialize. You should try it. Maybe you’ll get more confidence.”
And it continued this way throughout the whole party. Neither of us took it seriously, and I think this is the defining line between negging flirtily and being a mean manipulative person.
In my case, the negs were met with counter negs that turned into excellent banter and resulted in a number swap at the end of the night.
So as much as I’d like to say negative dating is for manipulative human haters, it can also be fun and flirty.
Do I advise it? For sure. Give it a go — at worst you’ll learn how to recognize negging if anyone tries it on you in the future.
So neg away and get yourself a mountain-man. Or lady. Whatever.
Rebecca Andrews is a slightly odd writer whose love for pretty much everything is evident in her storytelling.
This article was originally published at SheSaid. Reprinted with permission from the author.