5 Signs He's Definitely Negging You

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man and woman at bar

Everyone knows what negging is by now, right? It's a sort of mental trick that self-proclaimed "pickup artists" use to get you to sleep with them because they like the charm or appeal to manage the result otherwise.

Basically, they want to get in your pants. To accomplish this, they feed you back-handed compliments or outright insults.

Sound counterintuitive? Well, it can work by pushing your brain into "prove them wrong" mode. You feel challenged, and now suddenly, they've got you seeking their approval. And you might even sleep with them to get it.

It's a weird psychological trick that turns the tables and causes YOU to pursue HIM when the truth of the matter is the other way around. Ironically, pickup artists are actually put-down scientists.

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Granted, this doesn't work on most people. Insults will be taken as such and drinks will be thrown in faces. But there's a certain percentage of people, or perhaps a certain personality type, that's susceptible to these tactics.

If you're not sure if you're being played, or rather negged, here's what to look for:

1. He opens with an insult

You might see him as being fresh or flirtatious. After all, teasing is the only form of flirting we're capable of when we're kids. But in reality, positive teasing only really happens between people who know each other or are really comfortable together.

Would you insult a perfect stranger? No, because you don't know how they would react. But your best friend? You probably rib each other all the time because you know it's out of love. The insulting opener is about putting him in control of the situation.

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2. He seems more interested in your friends

The goal of this tactic is similar to the insult, but also adds jealousy to the mix. His goal is to get you to think, "But wait, I'm hotter/funnier/cooler than her! I'll show him." He's daring you to prove it to him.

3. He's dressed super-ostentatiously

This isn't an indication of negging per se, but might be a red flag of the kind of person who will use this tactic. Dressing ridiculously, or "peacocking," is another tactic in the pickup artist handbook. I suppose it's sort of innocent in itself, in that the goal is simply to stand out in a crowd and get noticed.

However, it's guilty by association in this case, due to its use by pickup artists. Basically, seeing someone dressed like Criss Angel isn't bad, but be on your guard just in case.

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4. He doesn't talk the same way to "less attractive" women in the group

For pickup artists, negging is best used on the hottest women on the scale (so I guess that's a silver lining if it's happening to you?). According to their philosophy, the most attractive women are the most used to having other people's approval, and therefore the most susceptible to having it taken from them.


5. He's been bouncing around too many women all night

Again, not an indictment in and of itself, but a warning sign to look for other red flags. To someone who takes an entirely "scientific" approach to flirtation, it's one big numbers game. Once they've decided that someone isn't falling for their tactic, they move on to the next target. Yes, they actually call them targets.

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Bob Aladura is a writer for YourTango who focuses on love, relationships, and dating.