When it comes to dating and relationships, nicknames are a severely underrated and underused concept. Coming up with fitting nicknames is not going to make or break a relationship, but it can definitely help in creating a deeper sense of familiarity and connection.
Sometimes a nickname will spontaneously arise. If not, most people default to calling their partners and romantic interests by their actual name, or with something generic and unimaginative such as “babe”.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the above, but by using a generic name you neglect an easy opportunity to create a special connection and set yourself apart from everyone else in that person’s life.
A relationship develops over time, through several specific stages. As such, any nicknames you use will probably go through a similar evolution; the nickname changes and evolves as the relationship progresses.
Below are three stages in the evolution of the perfect nickname or pet name. They show how a nickname should change and evolve to mirror the commitment level and feelings in a relationship…
The teasing nickname:
When you meet someone for the first time and it is obvious that there is attraction between the two of you, you want to do things that set you apart from other suitors.
One of the main components of attraction is creating emotional spikes and there is no better way to do that than by being playful and teasing.
Some examples of a teasing nickname are brat, dork, geek and goon.
These examples might seem childish or even mildly offensive but if delivered correctly with a smile, they convey that you don’t take yourself too seriously, that you won’t be won over too easily and that you have high standards.
The teasing nickname is one that is slightly ambiguous in its meaning, but not in its delivery, something that is the essence of flirting. You certainly don’t want to make anyone feel insecure, so if you are unsure how the other person might react, use a teasing nickname that is more subdued than the examples I have given.
Attraction is all about spiking emotions and making each other smile. If you use a teasing nickname while still making it known that you like the person in question – smiling is one of many universal indicators – you can create a feeling of attraction that is distinguished from anyone else they have recently met.
The affectionate nickname:
Once you have actually started dating someone and mutual attraction is evident, you want to make your interest more obvious. You will naturally be building rapport during this time as you get to know each other better. Here is where a more affectionate nickname will state your intentions and guide the other person into a more romantic and sexual frame.
Some examples of an affectionate nickname are sweetie, cutie and sexy.
Nicknames like these are still not very personalised but they have romantic and sexual connotations that state your intentions and once again set you apart from others.
As with the teasing nickname, it will be obvious whether the other person likes what you are calling them. It is likely that they will start calling you similar names in return if their feelings are mutual.
The endearing nickname:
When a relationship becomes more sincere and official, coming up with a meaningful and emotive nickname is extremely powerful. This is commonly referred to as a pet name; a name shared between two people with strong feelings for each other.
There is not much value in me giving examples here, as this sort of nickname should be unique, relevant to the specific person and most importantly, something only YOU call that person.
The endearing nickname I came up with for Heidi comes from an amalgamation of my favourite feature of hers and a fictional character we both like. I was teaching a dating seminar in Munich when I first started using it, so it quickly became a German translation of that new nickname (ich ist poorly translated version I must admit).
This was a few months into our relationship and I have been calling her it in private ever since; it always makes her smile.
If you don’t already use nicknames in your relationships or dating life then try using some and see how they are received. 🙂
Samuel (or a nickname of your choosing)