We’re not talking about adding a suffix or an “oh”. Neither are we talking about some of the more inventive (if bizarre) nicknames long term couples give each other.
We’re talking about the worst sin of all: the boring, the cliche; the cringe. Not only is it making the people at the table next to you want to stuff their ears with serviettes, but it is also quite the act of self-sabotage.
Please stop calling people you’ve just met “babe.”
Case in point? The following Reddit thread: posted yesterday to the online community’s r/datingadvice forum: “Don’t call women you’ve just met or just started chatting with online pet names like ‘baby’ or ‘babe’ etc.”
It quickly started trending in the community, racking up 6.2k upvotes and 628 comments. The remarks soon provided a handy litmus test for anyone thinking throwing out a “baby” on their next late-night DM exchange might be a good idea.
“YES! The worst is ‘hey sexy,'” one user wrote.
“I have had guys use it as a way of circumventing the ability to remember names,” commented another. “One guy I liked slipped into love or dear…I didn’t mind it… Until one day, I caught on to his weakness for remembering details. We were coming home from an early breakfast, and I said (teasingly), ‘what’s my name?’. I reminded him that his ability to enjoy me naked hinged on this… The look of ‘oh shit…’ was priceless. He forgot my name…”
“I like nicknames but not if it doesn’t feel/sound genuine,” said another.
Two more pertinent comments included:
“Guys who call me ‘baby’ right off the bat, before we’ve even met, are catfish or the type of guys who text you at 11pm trying to sext you.”
“Anyone who addresses me as ‘sweetie, sweetheart, darling’ or anything similar, I clean the vomit out of my mouth and ignore.”
One man then wrote: “I work with primarily women (veterinary field) and I have a couple of straight women co-workers that call me dear, darling, hun, honey, etc.”
“I fucking hate it and I can imagine how horrible it is for women to get that constantly, and it’s only a couple of people I have to deal with that do that.”
The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an article that tracks the journey “pet names” can go in, with the following sentence summing up the phenomenon quite well:
“The general rule is, the more nauseatingly-cutesy the pet-name, the more likely it is that the relationship is in its death throes. For example, if a couple call each other ‘silly moo-moo tiger-twinky’, you can be sure they’ll have split up within a fortnight, and will start calling each other very different pet-names from then on, usually ending with the suffix ‘wit’ or ‘knuckle.'”