We all know “that couple” — some of us know more than one — who are unkind to each other. Not in big ways, but rather infinite tiny ways. Little, countless cuts, every day.
For some us, we are that couple.
We tease. We complain. We ignore. We nitpick. We nag. We neg.
“Negging”, (a play on “denigration”) for those not in the “pickup” community (i.e., most of us), is when you deliberately cut someone down while flirting in order to lower their confidence. It’s for people who don’t have enough confidence of their own.
And while some people do it while flirting, there are way more of us who carry it on into our actual relationships and keep it going there, too. Except, in that space, we call it “love”, with it postured as though it’s “loving” — we’re all so quick to smile and nod and accept it as such — but it’s not. It’s just a bad violation of boundaries, and insecurity.
In one case, one of our friends didn’t like her boyfriend’s shirt. Okay. But the worst part was that he’d deliberately tried to wear a shirt he thought she did like, thinking “the one she didn’t like” was a different one, but it turns out she didn’t like either one and by the sounds of it, the guy had really messed up. But it was a perfectly fine shirt — some kind of on-trend but tasteful printed button-down anybody in my office could wear.
So while they were going back and forth, my partner and I were just sort of standing there like “wow… who gives a damn?”