Psychologist Explains Why "Neg" Worked On Her

by Eric Disco
Nov 18

Randis__2

In my eternal exploration for things fun and entertaining, I went to a talk/group discussion that was being given by an evolutionary psychologist.

The topic was about what it means to be “cool.”

I was pleasantly surprised.

The woman giving the talk was a self-professed “urban ethologist” which, she said, is another name for an evolutionary psychologist.

While a bit too aqueous to get much concrete out of the discussion, we did talk about some interesting aspects of what it means to be “cool.”

The discussion at some point moved into talk about pickup artists.

Even within a group of 20 open-minded decently educated young people in New York City, there were a group of detractors and a group of supporters.

The detractors, as usual, put forth the flimsy argument of pickup artists objectifying women.

What was interesting to me though, is that the woman leading this seminar was very open-minded and cool about it.

She talked about her experience with getting “negged.”

A neg is typically when a guy says something negative to a girl without it coming off direclty as insulting to her, at least nothing she can put her finger on.

(paraphrased from what I can remember)

I was talking with a colleague–more of an acquaintance than a friend–and he negged me.

He said something about how my hair didn’t look good today.

We kept talking, but after he said that, I couldn’t focus as much and kept thinking about my hair.

Did it look bad? I wanted to fix it and ask him if it looked better now.

But the interesting part was that it made me look differently at him. I had previously seen him as unconfident and lacking in opinion.

After he did that I felt like he could definitely express his opinion.

It didn’t make me like him any more than I did, but it did make me feel differently.”

I’ve never been a big proponent of saying negative things to women, at least not without letting her know you’re joking.

But it is interesting the effect it had here.

She had previously experienced this guy as low-confidence.

And an important facet of that, a big indicator, was his inability to express his opinion. And so when he did, she saw that as confidence.

But it wasn’t just any opinion he expressed that made her see him as confident.

If his opinion had been a compliment or an agreement with her opinion, she would have been less likely to feel that was true opinion, whether it truly was his opinion or not.

Randis__1And to take this further, people with very low social confidence not only have trouble expressing their own opinions around others, but their opinions may not even occur to themselves, as they readily agree with more dominant people around them.

If I’m around someone extremely dominant, intimidating, or very high status and I’m asked my opinion, my feelings don’t come as readily and easily as if I were with someone less confident or shy.

Although, there is certainly the case where an outgoing person can bring that out of you.

So am I advocating “negs”?

I don’t think anything is off the table in terms of playing around with them.

But I think there are much more important and positive skills that could do almost the same thing.

One is banter. You can bust on her in a fun way that shows that you aren’t afraid to be yourself.

And, particularly if you find yourself “yessing” women a lot, you can make a point of disagreeing with her in some small way.

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posted in Attraction

COMMENTS
16 responses
Cameron says:

“And to take this further, people with very low social confidence not only have trouble expressing their own opinions around others, but their opinions may not even occur to themselves, as they readily agree with more dominant people around them.”

I wouldn’t describe myself as having low social confidence, but it has become apparent to me how many times I agree with people because I’m afraid of offending them.

Its often a mistake to do this because women then think (correctly) that I’m a big wuss, that I have no backbone.

I was talking to Robbie about this and he called me manipulative.

I was very angry about this but then realised he was right.

When I withhold my opinion from women, to avoid offending them I am, in fact being manipulative.

I’m seeing this lovely girl right now and more and more, I find myself being honest with her and expressing myself fully.

More and more I find her being attracted to me.

Its no coincidence. :-)

Doesn't always work so well says:

This does work and the theory is sound. However it is very subjective to the girl you are doing this to or rather the girl you are being honest with and how she will react. Some girls respect you for this, others might pretend like they do but them talk shit about you behind your back for talking like that to them. While subconsciously they may have the same general reaction I do not see how this is valid, at least not all the time.

I am not saying to manipulate people by omitting your opinion or purposely agreeing with them to put them at ease. However one should never speak their opinion just the same only to get a certain reaction from people including women. It should be uttered because you want people to understand you better and learn from you as you learn from them. To speak your mind with the intention of swaying ones opinion for the purposes of picking up a girl or guy is no different than not speaking it or altering it to fit the situation. Do it for yourself or don’t bother.

Eric Disco says:

Cameron,

That’s an excellent point. Robbie knows what he’s talking about. I think though that the tendency to kiss her ass goes beyond even you being manipulative.

It’s a physical reaction to her. Your body is reacting to her. You are agreeing with her even though you don’t want to necessarily. But your emotions are overtaken.

And this is in response to the second poster who said it’s manipulative to purposefully disagree with her for reaction. You are disagreeing with her as much for your own boost in confidence as you are disagreeing with her to demonstrate that you aren’t a lapdog. It’s not simply for her, it’s for you as well.

Your ‘honest’ opinion may fluctuate depending on the dominance of the person you’re with. It may not even occur to you that you don’t like her boots–even though you actually don’t really care for them.

Or if you prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate but don’t have a strong opinion about it, when she says “I love dark chocolate!!” you may be inclined to agree, out of habit and out of emotional complicity. By being conscious and looking for ways to disagree with her, you reclaim that independence–which is attractive to her.

Eric

Cameron says:

“You are disagreeing with her as much for your own boost in confidence as you are disagreeing with her to demonstrate that you aren’t a lapdog. It’s not simply for her, it’s for you as well.”

I would go even further and say disagree with her ENTIRELY FOR YOU! To hell with what she thinks!

Tido says:

I was talking with a colleague—more of an acquaintance than a friend—and he negged me.

He said something about how my hair didn’t look good today.

We kept talking, but after he said that, I couldn’t focus as much and kept thinking about my hair.

Did it look bad? I wanted to fix it and ask him if it looked better now.

But the interesting part was that it made me look differently at him. I had previously seen him as unconfident and lacking in opinion.

After he did that I felt like he could definitely express his opinion.

It didn’t make me like him any more than I did, but it did make me feel differently.”

Hi Eric, very interesting topic of discussion you’ve initiated. I’m little confused by the article you wrote, you were negged by a colleague and the girl started being attracted to the negger? Or is this just an example you’ve provided.

Also how did the neg make you feel? I myself am dealing with negs at work, more like teasing. I’m the youngest in my department, but it seems some coworkers (who probably have their own issues), like to make belittling remarks towards me. I’m wondering what would be some strategies to deal with teasing/negs? I think some people may receive a sense of power when they see their remarks have emotional effects on the intended person. The issue is that sometimes these remarks are made in public, and I think I’m teaching other people in the room how to treat me.

Eric Disco says:

Hi Tito,

No, I wasn’t negged. She was negged.

In general the very best way to deal with teasing is to joke along with them. If someone says “That shirt looks gay,” you don’t want to argue or disagree with them. In improv comedy there is a concept called “Yes and…” where you agree with what they said and then add your own. “Yeah, it’s totally gay. It took me four hours of searching in Macy’s to find a shirt this gay.”

By joking back, you are showing that it hasn’t rattled you and that you can have fun and play with them. If you want to befriend a group of people who are poking fun at you, this is one of the best ways to do it.

There are, of course, some limitations to this. If they are truly mean-spirited and are out to hurt you, then they will push things way too far. They may escalate the teasing into outright hostility.

In a workplace environment, this can actually be considered harassment. I won’t go into the legal ramifications about that, but no one has a right to make your workplace environment hostile. You actually may have legal options.

Another option in these situations is to be extremely cruel back to them. Amplify it even further yourself. Don’t even try to be funny. What happens a lot of times is that they in turn will say “I was only joking.” In which case you can send it right back at them: “I was only joking also.”

Eric

Tido says:

Yeah, it’s totally gay. It took me four hours of searching in Macy’s to find a shirt this gay.

That’s hilarious, lol.

You’re basically saying your comfortable with what you’re wearing and you disarm the situation with the tool of humor. The issue is what if their comments do affect you? In this case me. Being emotionally effected, my response will not be clever, as the comments have penetrated me, and I’ll be busy at managing my emotions. I’m just not sure what I should work on to improve this part of my life. For example there was a group conversation where this general comment was made, “even a trained monkey could do it”. One of the people reframed the conversation thread and said, “ohh so even tido can do it?”

I may be digressing the topic a little, but I think it is very much related to being good with women. As if you can’t stand up for yourself, how are you going to stand up for your woman, when needed?

Eric Disco says:

Hi Tido,

I totally agree that being able to handle teasing and being able to stand up for yourself are related to being good with women. This is something important to work on.

This is actually very similar to initiating a conversation with a woman. It’s often easy to look back on a situation and think that you should have said this or that. It always comes to you after you leave the situation. Why? Because you aren’t emotionally reacting as much.

Therefore you need to practice reacting in the moment. When you first do it, it will be difficult. It may not work or even come out right. But it’s worth doing, particularly if you know the best way to handle the situation.

So what could you have said in the above situation. I’ll give you some suggestions. But before you read mine, try to come up with some on your own.

What were they saying to you? They were basically calling you a trained monkey. What are some typical behaviors or qualities of a monkey?

- Eats bananas
- Throws feces
- Lives in a zoo or jungle
- Covered with fur

You can take any of these and make fun of yourself. Firstly agree and say “Yes and…”

“Yeah, luckily I ate extra bananas today.”
“Yeah, you just need to be careful with me because I throw feces at the other monkeys.”
“Yeah, I can’t believe they let me out of the zoo for this job.”
“Yeah, but sometimes all my monkey fur gets in the way when I type.”

If you’re going to win these guys over, this is the way to do it. Show them that you can take a joke. Laugh with them instead of fighting them.

Eventually you’re also going to want to make fun of them back in order to not be the whipping boy. But if they see you being good-natured about taking jabs, they’ll be good natured too and laugh it off. Then you’re playing instead of fighting. That’s what friends do.

Me and my friends make fun of each other. Not all the time, but we will poke jabs at each other. It’s what friends do.

Practice reacting differently every time someone pokes fun at you. Keep in mind, it may not “work” the first time you do it. They still see you as the guy who can’t take a joke. And that makes them enjoy fucking with you. But once their perception of you starts to change, they might not stop making fun of you. But their feeling of you will change. And your feeling about yourself will change as well.

Eric

Tido says:

In a workplace environment, this can actually be considered harassment. I won’t go into the legal ramifications about that, but no one has a right to make your workplace environment hostile. You actually may have legal options.

Another option in these situations is to be extremely cruel back to them. Amplify it even further yourself. Don’t even try to be funny. What happens a lot of times is that they in turn will say “I was only joking.” In which case you can send it right back at them: “I was only joking also.”

The first reaction is to be cruel in return, but in an office environment (at least mine), you have to be tactful, as you’ll look silly for lashing out. Also I want to be the bigger person and don’t want to be disrespecting the disrespectful person, because he’s making a mistake himself. Guess I’m just looking for tools to deal with the situation.

Eric Disco says:

Girls will throw jabs at you as well. It’s important to learn to laugh with the joke instead of getting defensive.

I admittedly like to geek out on evolutionary psychology and social psychology. I read textbooks and go to obscure lectures.

Yesterday, I was talking to a girl I’m dating and told her about the lecture I went to (in the post above) and she called me a nerd.

Instead of “defending” myself or poking fun at her, I went with it. “Yeah, totally. I wore my pocket protector and everything.”

It shows that I’m unfazed, that she doesn’t have power to rattle me.

Eric

KL says:

I remember back when I was coming out of the loser phase of my life, my results improved tremendously when I realized the simple truth that you can talk total nonsense and actually make a real connection with a person.

I had always had the tendency to take a very substantive approach in conversations. So disagreeing with someone would have to be genuine and germane to the conversation.

Then I realized that even if I don’t truthfully disagree, I can still just say that I do and turn it into teasing/ bantering and actually get good results, because I come off as playful, confident and laid back. So even some topic I don’t care anything about is an opportunity to bust on her and flirt the hell out of it.

It’s all about what goes on “between the lines” which is yet another reason, among possibly millions, to run from routines and scripts like the plague.

MrAntiquity says:

Discussions on ‘do you neg’ or ‘do you not neg’ are too black and white…it’s just something on the teasing/challenging spectrum.

When you tease, when you challenge, when you respond to a ‘shit test’, when you ‘neg’, as long as you do it with social intelligence, you electrify the situation a bit…takes things from just banter to loaded banter, where she becomes a bit defensive, you become a bit more commanding, and the interaction becomes a bit more biological rather than socially constrained, if that makes sense.

Once you’ve established that vibe, it’s easier to sexualise things a bit more, and have fun with it.

Rham says:

Eric,

Speaking of confidence, I just recently watched the movie “She’s Out Of My League.” It was in to me in the formula of a lot of Hollywood romance movies but it seemed to be a little deeper than usual.

I kind of found it unreal that a young lady like that – a 10, lawyer, good personality would actually go out of her way to date a guy such as the hero of the story (the community poster boy for an AFC but a truly decent good guy overall). I just do not see this in life. The heroine of the story of course had her issues but I find it very hard to believe that a young lady like that (especially if we are to follow all these evolutionary principals) would date a “5″ (as he is termed in the movie) when she is a “10.” The reason is why? She just likes him for who he is? Does this really happen in life for I rarely see it (if at all).

What were your thoughts on not just the movie but the whole idea of this? Is this probable at all? Would a hot woman like date actually date a guy who is considered “not her type” and be happy when she has so many choices?

Can you please add to this?

Kamen says:

Hello,
i really like this site, and it helped me a lot.
I tthink, that the key to handle these teasing situation (Tido) is not in what are you sayiing , but how are you feeling.
If you understand that you are completely quality person , you will see that this bad remarks can not change your own opinion about yourself and you will be able to handle them without that emotion.
About the negs i think they are useful and they are the key of todays communicaton. Before i started reading this site I had never or very rare said something negative to nobody, because i knew the way how i fell because of this remarks. And I didnt want to hurt the people. My parents has told me as kid to be nice to people and not to tell anything negative or to be very sensitive and carefull when i tell something negative.
First of all I learned to like myself (another statement here). That helps to handle with negative remarks against me and second to comunicate truly with people by negs.

Do you dare? says:

Interesting read. IMHO negs have their place in an interaction and I personally use them with great effect.

In the article Eric looks upon the so called “sniper negs”. Other examples of them are hinting to her that she just spit on you, she has a booger or a stain of ketchup on her back (lol).

That type of neg makes her feel embarrassment and that makes her vulnerable. Now as the article showed the woman wants to win approval and validation and that’s a perfect time for compliance test.

So negs are great way to escalate. Very interesting blog I’ll keep a close eye on it :)

Nathan says:

Hey Tido! If you’re still reading this, here’s my suggestion:

He says: “even a trained monkey could do that”
Your response: “yeah, I *finally* escape from the apes in the jungle, and now I end up working with you.”
Deliver it dry, but go slightly over the top; exasperated – like Chandler in Friends when he’s annoyed.
Then immediately, warmly, put your arm round his back, pat him on the shoulder blade and smile genuinely. (In a very alpha male, manly way, of course.)

He’ll either get pissed off (in which case, just quietly resume what you were doing like nothing had happened), or he’ll have learnt that you won’t take it anymore. ESPECIALLY if anyone else laughed when you said it.

If he doesn’t stop after something like this, and it genuinely makes you miserable, seek some guidance outside the workplace on how best to complain. As Eric said, it could be harassment.

I’m paid to be funny, so I have a head-start, but being quick with a line IS something that can be learnt – best bit of advice I ever got on this front was to read the newspapers and come up with a couple of funny conversational lines about a big story every day. Then actually use them in conversation so you get practice with them. It’ll become second nature in about six months or so…

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