Nearly everyone likes to be loved and called sweet names. Endearing names can work magic when properly placed. Darling, Honey, Dearie, Sweet, Love, Honey Pie, Bae, who hasn’t been called one of such names before?
But the question is whether it is appropriate to call strangers or just about anyone you meet an endearing name. What will be your response when a total stranger calls you Darling? Obviously, it is most acceptable when it comes from a significant other.
Many people are guilty of using endearments freely while forgetting that communicating in such a way ordinarily conveys an unintended message to some people.
It is always proper to address people, especially ladies, by their names or titles rather than calling Darling, except perhaps they are not total strangers.
Ifeoma is a secretary in a blue-chip company. On her first day at work, her boss addressed her as ‘Sweetie.’ She didn’t know what to make of it. “Is he softening me up,” she wondered.
One afternoon, he screamed ‘Sweetie’ from his office. Ifeoma was unsure if it was for her or he was on the phone. Unsure, she could not respond until he called on the intercom: “Sweetie, please bring me the pink file in the cabinet.”
At one time, it was, “Dear, you were great at work today,” with a pat on her shoulder.
One Monday morning, the boss effusively complemented her on her dressing. She was so unsure of herself and the intentions of her boss. He had said: “Baby, this dress looks perfect on you.” That was exactly the same words her boyfriend used when he picked her up that morning.
Hearing her boss regularly call her “Baby,” or “Sweetheart,” Ifeoma was convinced her boss was in love with her.
One morning when she took his coffee to him, she ventured, “Baby, your coffee is ready, just the way you like it.” Her boss flared up.
“What did you just call me? I’m your boss if you have forgotten.”
She was embarrassed. She was starting to like him.
Ifeoma was a victim of aimless or innocent endearments. Her boss didn’t attach any intimate meaning to the words. She learnt that her boss was just fond of using endearing words on his female staff without any meaning.
A stranger who has just become the recipient of a huge favour could most likely be moved emotionally to express gratitude by referring to the benefactors as “darling,” or “My dear.”
In that same light, some people could use terms of endearment to show care or concern.
Is it appropriate for a younger girl to call an older man, a stranger, darling? Mr. Cobham said, “I felt angered at this restaurant after the waitress looked at me and asked, ‘Darling, what will you eat?’ I lost my appetite. Was she flirting with me? I found her sense of politeness or whatever she thought, condescending.”
Sometimes words of endearment are used just to cajole one to help perform a task.
Then most men punctuate their sentences with ‘My dear,’ ‘Sweetheart,’ or ‘Darling’, to feign affection.
Even when these words are to meant to make one feel loved, generalizing their use dilutes the feelings associated with them and could raise unintended questions. If you are unsure of how the person will react, then, you should try and stay away from using intimate words, especially with the opposite sex.