I Tried Negging Guys To Get A Date — Here’s What Happened

I can sense your confused expression from a mile away. Before we get started, let me put you out of your misery: “negging” is a slang word for flirting via insults and backhanded compliments. Some guys love it, others hate it. It’s a tried and tested way of getting close to someone in the opening stages of a relationship, and I tried it out myself. It’s not to everyone’s taste and isn’t always successful. In fact, it’s not even really a nice thing to do, but that doesn’t stop people. Here’s how my little experiment went.

  1. It feels a little immature. When I was insulting all the aspects of the guy in front of me that I could reach, I started feeling empowered and confident. However, after an entire evening of this, I was exhausted! It’s tiring to point out people’s flaws in a way that doesn’t actually eviscerate their entire sense of self. There’s a tricky balance between teasing and building the tension and shattering the mood altogether. That being said, negging certainly gets their attention because you can come off suave, smooth, and unbothered, even if that isn’t the reality at all.
  2. It risks a new dynamic in the relationship. In my experience, the longer you continue to insult each other, the more the relationship risks becoming like a friendship, or worse, like siblings. Think about it: if you fail to introduce romance to the equation, who else do you just relentlessly insult? Your siblings! It’s tricky, as I say. However, there can be a great payoff if you tease and tease and build up his frustration over time. There are ways to release that tension, yes?
  3. Build intimacy, not distance. There is a risk that this negging makes for a hollow relationship if you don’t put the effort in to build it into something deeper. Negging is very effective in establishing the connection and the spark, but love is more than that. The date will be entertaining but it will also be pressured and intense. It’s tiring to perform such a witty, caustic persona, particularly if that doesn’t come naturally! Don’t cover up the compassionate, kind self that lurks beneath that veneer!
  4. You can get comfortable fast. As long as you avoid veering into friendship territory, by negging each other you can get super cozy fast. Essentially, by outlining and demystifying some of your anxieties or insecurities, you can overcome them by actually looking them in the eye. By showing your partner that you aren’t bothered by your own insecurities or theirs, you can overcome a lot of the opening nervousness of relationships.
  5. You grow tired of each other fast. This is the other side of the coin. The more that your negging feels like a performance or like you’re trying to keep up with the other, the more you will risk not being on the same page. If all you share is wit and insults, that will soon grow wearisome and things will peter out. If it starts to feel like a game or a trick that you have to constantly sustain when you’re with that person, neither of you can relax! You have to feel safe, not always on the alert for the next insult.
  6. You become less genuine. All the best parts of the relationship are the soft, mushy things that you whisper to each other before you go to bed. Or the texts you send when you miss each other, or the plans you make for the future. You can’t get or express any of that if you’re too busy insulting each other. Indeed, you risk creating an environment that is hostile to that sort of emotional expression. It becomes about control and fighting for power even if you don’t realize it. That isn’t a healthy foundation for a relationship, and I found that to be the case. If there isn’t room for honesty or vulnerability, it’s wasted space. Trust me, it quickly becomes immature.
  7. Bickering is healthy, constant insults, not so much. I think that couples who don’t argue at all have the worst problems bottled up in secret. They can’t express any negative energy. However, the reverse is just as bad if you can’t actually develop the relationship when you’re stuck in the teenage insult stage. Shockingly, you do actually have to be nice to the people you like, eventually! Even if it’s not in public, you have to be comfortable enough to let your emotional vulnerabilities come through.

If you don’t believe me, try it yourself! You will have loads of great, compelling dates. But what after that? I’m tired just thinking about it. It’s like sustaining a one-woman comedy show! Life isn’t stand-up, it’s about sitting down with the people you love.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.