What is Negging? (How You Can Tell if You’re Being Targeted)


Have you ever experienced a time where a person was being downright rude to you and your peers hinted at that behavior as a sign of interest in you? It is not uncommon to hear and see these acts personally—and that is what makes them very concerning. This lowkey manipulative act is called negging. So, what is negging? What is so alarming about it that it makes experts repulsed? 

What is negging, anyway? 

Negging is a form of emotional manipulation that is carried out by giving someone left-handed compliments or insults that would make them feel insecure, according to professionals like health counselors and dating experts. Once a person’s self-esteem is lowered, it makes them more vulnerable to the disgusting advances of the one doing the negging. 

Most of the time, women fall victim to this type of mysogynistic act, and it is very alarming indeed. Furthermore, negging makes a person feel attracted to the person doing it, according to Jeremy Nicholson, M.S.W., Ph.D. However, that attraction only lasts for a short while. 

Negging will never become an acceptable form of flirting. It is toxic, exploitative, and manipulative. No amount of explanation will ever make them valid. 

How can you tell that you’ve been targeted?

Receiving left-handed compliments 

Several signs can help tell you if you’re being targeted by someone who is negging. For instance, left-handed compliments are a common one. Hearing pick-up lines like “People like you aren’t usually my type, but hey, at least you look nice.” is a prime example. 

These have an underlying intent to insult someone. Manipulative people only mask it with compliments at the end of their sentences to make it seem like they are not being rude. 

Insults that are guised as a question

Another sign is when someone insults you and guises it as a question. Hearing comments like “Are you going to go out with your face looking like that?” is an indication of someone nagging you. This particular sign may or may not be obvious to others. Unfortunately, a lot of people are surprised that several victims are oblivious to these seemingly “innocent questions.” 

Only a manipulative person would say something as awful as this. No healthy partner would make comments that would make their significant other feel insecure about the choices they make. 

Receiving unhealthy constructive criticism

Next, toxic, manipulative individuals would use unhealthy forms of constructive criticism. For example, a partner would make an insult towards a person they are hitting on and say, “You would look a lot prettier if you wore makeup.” Although it may be true, a practical stranger has no right to comment on your looks in that manner.

Compliments guised as insults that often lead to comparisons

Lastly, one clear sign that someone is negging someone would be through comparing them with other people. People say such things by pairing insults with compliments. For example, you are told that you sing very well but you are not comparable with the likes of Billie Eilish or Taylor Swift. 

What should you do once you’ve been negged? 

The best way to respond to someone negging you is to ignore them. If you are not fond of confrontation, then this is the best way to go about the negging issue. Also, if it seems that the person negging you is aware of their exploitative actions, then by all means, do not interact with them. 

Of course, you may also choose to inform them that you are not comfortable with their toxic way of flirting. 

Oftentimes, people are unaware that they are being manipulative, so it would be best to call them out, especially when people are negging. Some think that negging is harmless and is a form of flirting, but it is not and it never will be. 

Know your self-worth, and don’t allow anyone to bring you down!

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