Remember the first time your partner called you by a cutesy pet name and your heart skipped a beat? Few things are as endearing in a relationship as knowing that you are special enough to your partner to be called by a pet name. And yet there are certain aspects to the practice which can complicate matters or just make things awkward between you two. So here are a few things to keep in mind before using a pet name in a relationship.
Decide if it’s the right time
Usually couples use pet names in a relationship only when they have got to know each other rather well. Calling your date ‘sweetie-pie’ or greeting him with a ‘Hello Handsome’ on just your third date can get rather awkward for your partner since some people believe that using pet names is akin to verbalizing their commitment to a relationship. So come up with a pet name for your partner only when you both reached a reasonable level of comfort with each other. This is because you may be seen as coming on too strong if you start using a pet name too early and if your partner is the reserved kind, you might scare them off as well.
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Consider individual personalities
Sometimes it may happen that despite knowing each other for a while, you and your partner may still not have come up with pet names for each other. You may be dying to whisper sweet nothings to your lover while he or she may not yet be comfortable with highly personal expressions. This is not necessarily a sign that your relationship is lacking in emotional intimacy. Accept that some people take longer than others to be comfortable with terms of endearment. While for some, a pet name may flow easily, for others, especially the discrete personalities, it may take a while to get used to them. Keep individual personalities and preferences in mind and avoid jumping to conclusions if your partner does not call you yet by an endearing phrase or name.
A little practice goes a long way
If you are aware that your partner would be pleased to be called by a pet name and yet you cannot get yourself to use it, decide to start small. A good idea would be practice it over the telephone rather than use it for the first time in a face to face conversation. So the next time, you hear your partner’s voice on the phone, take a deep breath and answer as naturally as you can with a “Hi there, handsome/beautiful”. You can be sure that the person at the other end will be smiling happily while you can take heart from the fact that from now on, the whole thing can only get easier.
Make it a compliment
The best pet names are those that say something nice about your partner. Terms of endearment like ‘sugar’, ‘sweet pea’, ‘handsome’, ‘honey’ are the most common but also the safest. However be careful before using expressions like ‘sweetie-pie’ or ‘pookie’ for your boyfriend which might be too girlie for them. Also stay away from pet names for men which sound condescending like ‘bud’ or ‘chump’. Most women on the other hand may feel offended if referred to as a ‘chick’ or ‘babe’. Only if you know her really well, go ahead with names like ‘sexy’ or ‘hottie’. Again if you want to stand out from the crowd, by all means think of something creative but ensure that it is not too enigmatic for your partner to get its meaning. For instance you might appreciate your girlfriend’s soft and gentle nature but calling her ‘Perdita’ but it will not signify much to a person who does not know her Shakespeare and has never read the play The Winter’s Tale. Also make sure that you lover actually likes the name you have chosen for him or her. Calling your boyfriend ‘Spidey’ might be your way of letting him know that he is your superhero but for all you know, the guy may be freaked out by the reference to the arachnids. A far better way to decide on an unusual pet name for your partner would be to sound them out on a few options and then see which one they like best.
Avoid unpleasant connotations
Very often pet names seem to evolve from physical characteristics – nick names given to one in childhood or school are some instances. So when you decide on a pet name for your partner, take care that it does not refer to some awkward aspect of their appearance or refer to something they would not like to be reminded of. People who are on the heavier side for example might not take to well to be called ‘Bumkins’ or ‘my roly-ploy darling’. It is always a good idea to choose to focus on positive aspects when using a personal expression for your lover and if you cannot think of something that is nice and unusual, then stick to those that are conventional and romantic.
Consider where to use it
Not everyone would take kindly to be called ‘floppy’ or ‘baby’ in public. So when you and your partner are in company or even among friends, try to stick to first names unless you are hanging out with a particularly close friend before whom your partner does not mind being addressed by a pet name. As a rule however, it would be far wiser to keep a pet name where it belongs – in private.
Using pet names in a relationship is a sign that your partner thinks you are special. This is because while anyone can call you by your first name, only your lover can come up with his or her own name for you. Even family members and close friends may have their own nick names for you but it is not just the same thing as when you partner calls you by that special term of endearment, is it?