Negging may be difficult to pinpoint sometimes because on the surface it usually sounds a whole lot like a compliment — especially when said in a positive tone. In reality, negging is a manipulative tool used to undermine someone’s confidence and weaken their resolve. If you hear anything like this coming out of a someone’s mouth, run far away ASAP — they’re definitely negging you.
“You’re pretty for a fat/black/trans/etc. woman!”
This just screams shallow /racist/ homophobic/ transphobic idiocy. This statement implies that someone usually finds fat women, women of color, trans women, etc. revolting but that they’re graciously making an exception. It needs to stop. Immediately. This doesn’t make ANYONE feel good and it definitely doesn’t make anyone feel pretty.
“You have such a pretty face! If you lost/gained a couple of pounds, you could be a model!”
As a professional photographer, I can tell you this: WOMEN OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES CAN MODEL! This statement is said when someone who is intimidated by your beauty feels the need to tear part of you down so he or she feels better about their own appearance. Lashing out because of personal insecurity is a really ugly trait. It can also be used by pickup artists trying to lower someone’s “social value” in a crowd in a sad attempt to stand out. Don’t fall for it!
“Wow, you don’t even look sick!”
Don’t downplay someone’s else’s pain and struggles with sickness by telling them this. There are so many chronic, invisible illnesses that cause people to be in pain without anyone else even knowing. Fibromyalgia, IBS, mental health issues, Lyme disease, and Crohn’s are just a few of these debilitating illnesses that can’t be seen just by looking at someone. Quit making people feel bad about feeling bad!
“Your eyeliner makes you look so pretty!”
While makeup can certainly enhance someone’s best features, it doesn’t MAKE someone pretty. Why force a person to feel as though they’re only pretty with a full face of makeup? Jesse, a self-proclaimed pickup artist, explains, “Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants approval. No one wants to be ignored. The same holds true for beautiful women – even more so. Their whole reality is based on having power and having acceptance and adoration through their good looks. Take that away and their whole reality crumbles and they’ll do anything to get it back.” Huh. So that’s how that works, huh?
“I don’t normally like green hair/tattoos/piercings but it looks good on you.”
Here’s the thing: Not everyone modifies their body to fit someone else’s mold. No one has to comment that they normally find tattoos repulsive before complimenting one.
“Wow, you’re actually so smart. Didn’t you just go to community college/beauty school/vocational school, etc?”
As Jay Z says, “You can go to school but you can’t buy class.” Negging someone into feeling stupid because of their education is incredibly low. The fact that anyone can even afford a higher education at this point in the US is impressive enough. Don’t negate someone’s intelligence because of the school they went to; that’s some classist BS. If you’re impressed by someone’s intelligence, leave it at that.
“You’re the whitest black/Spanish/etc. person I’ve ever met!”
Whew. This one is just…a lot. Just because a POC doesn’t fit the mold someone has created in their head of what he or she should look, sound, or act like, doesn’t mean that they are any less of a POC. To strip people of their culture, heritage, and skin color based on what type of music they enjoy or how they speak is not only negging, it’s racist.
“You carry your weight well.”
This just seems like a roundabout way of saying, “You’re fat BUT I still find your body pretty attractive and it’s confusing to me.” Newsflash: Fat is not synonymous with ugly or unhealthy. Can we stop with the stereotypes?
“Your hair is so long and pretty. Is it real?”
Don’t minimize someone’s beauty by trying to pick apart what’s “natural” and what’s not. If you find a characteristic about someone beautiful, simply say that. Wigs, extensions, natural — if it’s beautiful hair and they’re rocking it, who cares?
“You speak English really well for a Mexican/Asian,etc.”
I know this is a crazy concept to some but people can speak multiple languages fluently. What’s really being said by using this phrase is “My view of the world is so limited that I only recognize your ethnicity by a preconceived stereotype.” Negging is a manipulative trick used by people too insecure to pay others an actual, genuine compliment. Don’t let it slide and call people on their crap! Life is too short to spend it feeling bad about who you are because some jerk decided to verbally hug you and stab you in the back at the same time in a sad attempt to get you to sleep with him.
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