Look, we get it. We don’t need another toxic dating term to deal with. First there was retroshading, then there was roaching, and more recently, love bombing rudely forced its way into our vernacular. But unfortunately, there’s another ‘trend’ in dating that we should be aware of, because it’s toxic, manipulative, emotionally abusive – and we’ve likely all experienced it, maybe without even realising.
‘Negging’ is a term used to describe the act of deliberately making a backhanded compliment or an insult disguised as ‘flirtatious’ in order to undermine someone’s confidence, with the hope that she’ll be more vulnerable to your advances. We use the word ‘she’ because it’s safe to say negging is most commonly used by men, and the term was reportedly coined and prescribed by pickup artists – go figure.
The emotionally manipulative technique has been going viral on social media this week after an episode of Love Island. In it, islander Danny Bibby takes it upon himself to explain to Lucinda Strafford why their relationship isn’t 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.”
He continues: “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.”
Many people took to Twitter to voice their concerns about Danny’s behaviour. “Knock you down a couple pegs?! Danny just freely admitting to negging?” said one viewer.
Many have also been voicing their concerns over producers allowing Danny to stay in the villa after he was found to have used the N-word on social media.
“Nahhh Danny is manipulative, a gaslighter, possessive and very scary. When you sprinkle in his casual use of racial slurs outside of the villa, you have to wonder what the #LoveIsland producers were thinking when they brought him in,” wrote one such viewer.
Like most emotional manipulation, negging can be so subtle and insidious that you might not be able to spot it and see it for what it is. Gradually building up instances of negging can desensitise you to its effects, and have a debilitating impact on your self-esteem. If you have need any information or support regarding emotional abuse, visit refuge.org.uk.