For a while there, I literally forgot about the heinous dating concept that is negging. I hadn’t experienced negging for a long time, enjoying relatively normal interactions with people I was considering dating, or was in the early stages of seeing.

But then a friend of mine sent a series of screenshots to our group chat this morning, asking us if the person she was in convo with was being rude, or just joking around.

These messages were from someone she met at a party. They hit it off, ended up going home together, and then did the old follow-on-Instagram business. Everything was fun and chill, until these messages.

Now, I can take a bit of a roast. In fact, I enjoy being roasted as part of a flirty exchange – roast away, potential suitors! But there’s roasting and then there’s negging – and you can usually sense the difference because negging will make you feel like actual shit.

I feel like roasting someone is part of a flirting scenario where the person is also taking the piss out of themselves. Negging, on the other hand, is the strategic use of criticism. Wikipedia said it best, tbh:

…an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator’s approval.

I’ve been negged in the past – a guy I used to hook up with on and off over the course of a year was a right piece of shit, and would routinely manipulate me by picking at my faults. It never, ever felt cute and flirty – it always felt pointed and cruel. He would make inflammatory comments – for example, he would mention a distant acquaintance of mine we both knew and comment on how hot she was. Like multiple times, to the point where I’d say something and then he’d be like “lol calm down! You’re so touchy”.

Basically negging is any comment designed to make you feel insecure, pushing you into needing the approval of the person you’re seeing.

The term comes from the festering corners of the pickup artistry world, where so-called ‘pickup artists’ like Erik Von Markovik and Neil Strauss (that’s the guy who wrote ‘The Rules Of The Game’) encourage men to use deceptive tactics to sleep with women.  While both frame negging as an innocent way to appear uninterested in a person, but the truth is it’s manipulative as hell.

My friend ended up clapping back and got more shit in response.

If there was doubt that this person was maybe just flirting in a very confusing manner, it went out the window at the “good chat”. No one says “good chat” without it intending to be smunty as hell.

In the end, my friend left it there. They haven’t spoken since, and I hope they never will again to be honest. Someone who speaks to you that way doesn’t deserve air-time, fact.

The thing is, my friend’s experience – and my own – aren’t anomalies. This bullshit is still going on in 2019, when we’re all far more aware of the widespread mental health issues our generation is experiencing, not to mention the fact that, well, it’s actually a way more successful ‘play’ to just be fucking nice to someone you want to have sex with.

I can’t decide if we still believe being an asshole can get us laid, or if this kind of cruelty is the by-product of how callous we’ve gotten since conversing online became the norm. We talk so harshly to each other on the internet, it’s no wonder it has become normal when “flirting” too, right?

There’s the chance I’m being too sensitive. After all, I genuinely do like banter, and the majority of banter is gentle teasing and roasting. Couldn’t this be construed as banter, to some people? Potentially – but it’s worth noting that if the other person isn’t picking up what you’re putting down banter wise, you should be easing off anyway.

Whatever the case, this person was 100% being an asshole if only for the “good chat” line at the end. So I hope they read this. Fuck you, mate.

Image: Supplied