What is ‘negging’? Meaning explained

What is ‘negging’? Meaning explained

NEGGING is the new dating term that has taken social media by storm this week.

The word was brought to everyone's attention following a recent episode of Love Island.

What is 'negging'?

According to social media users and several media outlets, the term "negging" is used to describe a dating trend, branded "toxic", "manipulative" and even "abusive" by many.

Put simply, the act of "negging" describes a situation where someone insults another person or undermines their confidence, under the guise of an attempt at seduction.

The insults and backhanded comments are made in an effort to increase the person's need of the manipulator's approval, thus making them more vulnerable to future advances.

"Negging" follows other terms used to describe toxic and even criminal dating behaviours such as stealthing, gaslighting, lovebombing, retroshading and roaching.

Where did 'negging' come from?

Although "negging" was first brought to the Internet's attention several days ago, it was actually first coined and prescribed by pickup artists, after American writer Neil Strauss first used it in his book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists.

It was then theorised in detail by Dr Jeremy Nicholson in a 2013 column for Psychology Today.

In this text, Nicholson reference a psychology experiment from 1965, conducted by American social psychologist Elaine Walster.

The experiment involved a group of women who interacted with a male research assistant who flirted with them.

The results of the study found that women whose self-esteem was lowered found the assistant "significantly more attractive" than the women with high self-esteem.

According to Walster, this occurred for two reasons.

"First, individuals who feel 'imperfect' themselves may demand less in a partner", quotes Jeremy Nicholson.

"Second, a person usually has an increased need for acceptance and affection when their self-esteem is low."

"Overall then, when an individual is made to feel 'low', they may find potential romantic partners more attractive."

What examples of negging have there been?

As mentioned above, the term "negging" gained mainstream media recognition after a recent Love Island episode.

In said episode, newcomer (and recently booted off contestant) Danny Bibby explained to fellow islander Lucinda Strafford why their relationship was not working out.

"I'm not this type of kid to chase you, like a little dog. I knock you down a couple of pegs, have a little banter with you", Danny told Lucinda.

"You're like a matte black Lamborghini that I want to drive, but I put the key in, and it just doesn't work."

"I've changed a couple of parts, and it still doesn't work. It's still in the garage."

Social media users were quick to respond to Danny's behaviour.

"Danny is literally scaring all the islanders, why is he here?" commented one Twitter user.

"Danny just freely admitting to negging", said another.

The term has also made an appearance in American reality show The Pickup Artist, in which eight ordinary men, who have several issues with women, follow the advice of a man called Mystery.

Mystery's goals is to turn his guests into "master pick-up artists." This is achieved by teaching them his best tricks… which include negging.

According to an article published by The Guardian in October, 2018, writer Dolly Alderton even said that the epitome of negging is none other than Mr Darcy, Pride and Prejudice's dashing hero.

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