So, does just calling someone “sweetie” actually make them so? Yes, a little bit more, it does. Has the person changed? No, but in our mind they have. Our mind is seeing them as sweeter just because we are calling them so.
In just 2 minutes, you can make someone’s day. In college, seeing my lunch lady felt like getting a hug. No matter what kind of day I was having, I knew I could count on my deliciously dry turkey on swiss sandwich being handed to me at lunchtime along with a, “Here you go, sugar” or “Enjoy it, darlin’ “.
Those pet names always put a smile on my face, and you know what, I think they did hers too. I admired her technique for torquing up even the most mundane and repetitive tasks with such a simple pleasantry and started adopting the pet name habit myself.
I went a little overboard at first, and have toned it down since, but people still point out my usage of these niceties in everyday conversation.
I am not only a user but I appreciate other users as well. When talking with a serviceman, southerner or granny who slides in the occasional “ma’am”, “dear” or “honey”, I immediately feel a little bit of kinship, a little bit more cared for and a little less alone in this world.
Now, all you skeptics out there are right, of course. No matter what you call someone, you have to find something in your heart that actually believes that there is truth in the name that you are using. No matter how many times you say, “I’ll be happy to help you with that, gum drop”, if you whisper under your breath resentments and criticisms, then of course, this little technique is not actually going to work for you.
At my core however, I believe every person has kindness and goodness in them, so calling someone “sweet” feels honest to me. I’m especially grateful to do it when that person is annoying me, if I can find the grace to do so. It’s like giving someone a hug or some flowers when they seem to deserve it the least. Who knows, you might even catch a lot more flies that way, too. Sweetness goes a long way to enriching the lives of everyone.