'I tried picking up men by negging them. Here’s exactly what happened.'


So-called male ‘pickup artists’ have been doing it for decades now. So, why couldn’t I?

“I went on a date with a real-life Hitch,” she shouted in my ear, splashing champagne on my dress. “I totally fell for him but then found out what he did for a job. I felt like the biggest idiot!” We were at on the dance floor and 11/10 drunk.

“Dude, you went out with a dating guru? GIVE ME HIS DEETS!” I shouted back. And she did, by way of Insta handle.

The following morning I Insta-druced myself as “Lisa’s friend who needs your dating advice.”

What for? I like to partake in dating experiments and the night Lisa spilled champagne on me, I’d decided I wanted to try Negative Dating.

What’s Negative Dating?

Negative dating, ‘negging’ or The Neg – is a form of emotional manipulation that uses backhanded compliments to put women on the back foot, make her feel unwanted thus fuelling her to seek The Neggers approval. Eg:

“You’re pretty, for an Asian.”

“You remind me of my little sister, cool.”

“Shame that dress shrunk, it’s really nice.”

It sounded mean, extremely immature, and in truth, really unattractive. So why does it work on us? According to Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler (friend of Freud), the main motives of human behaviour is superiority and power, partly in compensation for a feeling of inferiority. Aka we just want people believe we are great, and also tell us.

Thanks to Neil Strauss’s book The Game (when he infiltrated a group of pick-up artists and exposed their dating techniques), there was loads on the topic: how to neg a woman, what you can say, how to bring her down a notch with just a few phrases… but, I couldn’t see any by women on how to neg men. Would it work if I put my thing down, flipped it and reversed it?


Watch: Modern Dating: Translated. Post continues…

Video by MMC

The expert’s advice

Lisa’s ex Madison had been working for four years as a consultant for Real Social Dynamics – the international ‘leaders’ in dating advice for men. Charging up to $2000 for IRL sessions, and coaching over ten thousand guys, he was technically a dating expert. But one technique he didn’t advise on was negging.

“It’s a very old and basic technique, no one really does it anymore,” he said to me over the phone. “But it’s still effective emotionally. Essentially it is playing hard to get, a seduction idea that has been around forever, preying on low self-esteem.”

I needed to know from Madison the key things men think about before they go on a date aka a weakness I could hone in on. His advice:

  • Presentation – their hair, clothes, body, style aka is he attractive?
  • Situation – ability to organise a cool date and afford the night out aka can he provide?
  • Social hierarchy – where he ranks in his group aka men are all primates still.

His final tip: “Use the words ‘real man’. If you throw something about what a ‘real man’ would do in a situation, or that your ex was a ‘real man’, he will freak.”


So, now I knew where to aim, I was ready to neg.

Putting it into practice

To be honest I wasn’t expecting great results from The Negative Dating Experiment. Males always seem more sensitive than females, particularly when it comes to poking at their self-esteem. At best I thought I would be snubbed and ignored but YOLO and don’t hate the player hate the game, guys.

So off I went to a party to find me a guinea-pig.

A man-mountain walked into the party. He was 6ft 5, bright eyes and a very open, happy face. I liked him immediately. I was standing with a group of friends when I caught his eye and a few minutes later he approached with a smile.

“Have we met before? I feel like I know you?” Unoriginal but friendly and complimentary, it’s a great line. Also perfect for negging.

“Well, you are familiar to me too, but maybe you’re just common looking?” I froze, waiting for him to walk away. Instead…

He laughed, “Sounds like I’m your type then.”

WHAT THE FUCK? Did he just neg my neg? I tried again. “Doubtful because I never forget a real man.” (I had no idea what I meant, I just needed to use the words).

He looked at me. “I like that this is your sense of humour, just being a bad bitch.”

Gah, he had negged my neg and complimented me. And thus it began…

The negathon

We were throwing them like confetti at an ’80s wedding.


Me: You know this story would be interesting if you told it better.

He: Girls who listen are sexy.

Me: You came here alone didn’t you? I can tell you’re used to that.

He: I don’t need back up to socialise, you should try it, maybe you’ll get more confidence.

And it continued the whole party. Neither of us took it seriously and I think this is the defining line between negging flirtily and being a mean manipulative fuckwit.

In my case, the negs were met with counter negs, that turned into excellent banter and resulted with a number swap at the end of the night.

So as much as I’d like to say negative dating is for manipulative human-haters, it can also be fun and flirty. Do I advise it? For sure. Give it a go – at worst you’ll learn how to recognise negative dating if anyone tries it on you in the future. So neg away my bitches and get yourself a mountain-man. Or lady. Whatever.

This story originally appeared on SheSaid, a feminist news+culture website. It was republished here with full permission.

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