If He Says Any Of These Things To You, He’s Negging You

Negging revolves around this idea that women are too confident in themselves and Nice Guys need to bring them down a peg or two. Gross. The good news is that it’s easy to see through this BS move. They’re pitifully transparent, they’re rarely clever, and they’re the number one warning sign that you need to walk away from the pathetic dude trying to put out your fire:

  1. “I like your hair, but your roots are showing.” Ah, a compliment followed by a dig – one of the prime formulas for negging. There’s zero reasons for a dude you just met to comment on your appearance like that. The idea is that calling out your roots – whether they’re showing or not – will make you feel self-conscious, which then prompts you to seek approval from Negging Ned and his merry band of Nice Guys. Remember: compliment followed by insult. If you hear that crap, run in the other direction.
  2. “Did you shrink that top in the laundry?” Such cleverness! A neg like this has multiple targets, so the crappy part is that it’s kind of clever in a sociopathic, misogynistic way. In addition to implying that your clothes don’t fit, the wannabe pick-up artist who throws this at you is also displaying the mating call of The Nice Guy: he’s insinuating that you’re fat because, as we all know, that’s the very worst thing a woman can be.
  3. “You’ve got pretty eyes – they’re colored contacts, right?” Here we have another compliment followed by another dig. This one is especially gross because, apparently, the follow-up move involves the guy leaning in close to stare into your eyes, at which point he’ll probably decisively answer – for you – that they’re contacts, so your eyes aren’t pretty at all! Charming.
  4. “Your body language is so closed off. Why don’t you relax?” So smooth, right? The aim here is to make you self-conscious about appearing closed off or cold so that you open up, warm up, and presumably give it up to Mr. Body Language. Ditto for any references to crossed arms or legs. This type of neg reeks of gaslighting.
  5. “Your friends are so hot – did they help you pick out your outfit too?” What kills me about most negs is that they’re so transparent. Any guy who references your friends in a positive way while painting you in a negative light is just playing mind games. Recognize it for what it is and call it out so your girlfriends can help show him the meaning of sisterhood.
  6. “You’re so cute! You remind me of my little sister.” This neg’s supposed to make you think he’s friendzoning you. Obviously, he’s not at all attracted to you if you remind him of his sister, right? Not so much. It’s not that he’s attracted to his sister, either – hopefully. To be honest, he might not even have one. He just thinks you’ll try to act sexy and attractive in a bid to kill the comparison.
  7. “It’s great that you’re going for comfort over fashion.” Ugh. The intent is clear — it’s just so extra. As you can see – and as you may have experienced – negs typically target an aspect of a woman’s physical appearance in an attempt to undermine her confidence. A comment like this isn’t vicious, it’s just kind of meanly flirtatious – a boy says something like this, then says you’re overreacting if you get upset.
  8. “You’re not my type, but I see why some dudes would like you.” Do you know what really sucks? How easy it is to get sucked into defending a statement like that. “What does that even mean?” You might ask without even intending to open your mouth. “Why am I not your type?” The better response is to say nothing and just walk away. Boy, bye, with that stupid line.
  9. “Love your perfume — my grandma wears the same thing.” What is it with these boys invoking their female family members? It’s sort of creepy. This isn’t even halfway smart like the sister thing. It’s a straight up insult, plus it’s ageist and icky. It’s not like all grandmas wear eau du baby powder and Jean Nate.
  10. “Wow, you look tired. Do you need to call it a night?” “You look tired” is never a compliment, obviously. We all know the euphemism, thanks. It’s rude when jerks say it because you’re not wearing makeup and it’s rude when Negging Ned says it in an attempt to cut down your confidence. Not only does it insult your appearance, but it’s also patronizing. Double sick.
  11. “Weren’t you wearing that outfit last night, too?” This is pathetic. It implies so many snide things, and they’re all tired. Pity the boy who says this crap. All that Drakkar Noir has fried his brain.
west virginia native, new hampshire transplant, parisian in the depths of my unimpressed soul. owner of an impressive resting bitch face. writer and reader. fluent in sarcasm and snark. lover of lower case and the oxford comma.