There’s a new “dark” dating trend currently doing the rounds and many women are claiming it makes men go gaga for them.

In fact, I may get in trouble for spilling the beans on this manipulative tactic, but it’s got me fascinated.

I came across it recently after going down a deep TikTok rabbit hole. The other night I was two hours deep into a meaningless scroll when I realised my algorithm has turned a little twisted.

I was watching video after video of a new trend called “dark femme energy”. Lord knows what I had been looking up to land on this kind of content.

(OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been looking up dating videos.)

This new trend focuses on the dark side of psychology, diving deep into what drives men bonkers and then transferring that information into dating tips. Yep, sounds a bit evil doesn’t it.

It’s basically teaching you how to get under someone’s skin for a reaction using lessons from psychology. For example, how to get the guy who ghosted you to suddenly become obsessed with you through sneaky tactics – and TikTok is rife with tips on how to do it.

It gave me a flashback to a questionable self-help book published in 2005 called The Game written by a pick-up artist, Neil Strauss. It was a deeply toxic book written for men, teaching them how to get women into bed by using mind games. Along the lines of “treat ‘em mean keep ‘em’ keen” type rubbish.

Well, if you log onto TikTok you will find the same kind of tips, but now in reverse. These dark femme energy videos have headlines like: “How to ruin his ego”, “best way to control a man”, “make him spoil you” and “how to manipulate men.”

And the tips include things like:

– If you want to ruin his ego say something like “I had to dive deep into your Instagram to show my friends a cute picture of you” or tell him that you view him as a brother. Apparently, psychology says he will be gutted that you don’t find him sexually attractive.

– If you want to make a guy obsessed with you, never be too available because guys naturally want something that’s not easy to get, so fake making plans. Oh, and be inconsistent, apparently guys love a chase, so if you act hot (super keen) and then cold (disinterested) they will be constantly chasing the version of you that is super keen and they won’t get bored. (Sounds a bit exhausting, right.)

Another dark femme TikTokker has a motto “hurt in silence, heal in silence”. Meaning you must come across as unbothered no matter how rubbish they treat you. If you show no emotion, it sets a boundary that their games on you aren’t working.

Now, sure I can see how all these tactics may work for a hot second, but certainly not forever. Not only do games take a lot of effort, they also can’t be played for an entire relationship. How tedious. Plus, isn’t the honeymoon period supposed to be spent being disgustingly soppy towards each other? The hot/cold tactic does not sound enjoyable.

I think the real question here is: If a guy is treating you rubbish, why do you want to use these dark femme dating tactics to win him back? It’s like trying to retrieve something that only belongs in the bin. What a waste of time.

I say (OK, my therapist says), instead of spending hours trying to figure out how to manipulate a guy, how about you spend that time building your self-confidence up, so you don’t want to be with a guy like that in the first place?

I speak from experience, because me in my 20s would have been very excited about any sneaky trick that could get toxic men to love me back, but all that results in is dud relationships.

So bin the dark femme energy dating tactics, and work that TikTok algorithm into teaching you how to start attracting the right person into your life.

Repeat after me: “We are not going to trick dud dudes into chasing us! We are finding better options!”

Jana Hocking is a columnist and collector of kind-of-boyfriends | @jana_hocking

Read related topics:Dating AdviceJana Hocking


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