The power of using nicknames

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. 🙂

Much love,

Samuel (or a nickname of your choosing)

6 replies
  1. Jon
    Jon says:

    I can def see the use in using more nicknames. I used to be scared of saying the wrong things to women like the teasing nicknames and its only with your advice and articles that Ive started to care less what people think – in a good way. I see how teasing nicknames and flirting go hand in hand but hows it show you have high standards?

    I sometimes laugh when I overhear couples call each other embarrassing lovey dovey names but I still remember all the ones Ive been called by exes so they do have an effect. Im going to use them a lot more now Ive read this. Thanks –J

    • Samuel McCrohan
      Samuel McCrohan says:

      Hey Jon,

      Teasing nicknames convey high standards by demonstrating that you aren’t needy. A confident and attractive man would never immediately assume or hope for a relationship with a woman they have just met. Calling a woman a teasing nickname communicates in a playful way that they haven’t completely won you over… yet! 🙂

      As with any nicknames, to use a teasing nickname effectively it must be congruent with your personality. Teasing nicknames should always be said with a fun and playful attitude. That way you will rarely offend a woman, which is a lot of men’s biggest fear in dating! One way to look at it is that you should always care about the general impression that you are giving, but not what one specific person you have just met thinks of you. 🙂

      Thank you for commenting,


  2. Jacob
    Jacob says:

    Hi. I just stumbled upon this website and I have to say your advice is brilliant – some of the best out there. You clearly know your stuff and don’t have like a manipulative or disingenuous streak that a lot of other so called gurus have. Keep up the good work.

    Onto a question and I was wondering how you know when a reaction to a nickname is good. I’ve started seeing a new girl and I think the problem I we are both feisty and want our own way.

    I was calling her a few funny nicknames and she told me she didn’t like it. I was stuck whether to give in or continue calling her it. Basically my question is how do you know when a nickname is good or suitable? Cheers

    • Samuel McCrohan
      Samuel McCrohan says:

      Hey Jacob,

      Thanks for your praise; feedback like that means a lot to me. 🙂

      I can remember similar examples from past relationships where certain nicknames didn’t get an intended reaction. I have also been called nicknames in the past that weren’t necessarily something I would choose to be referred to as. The important thing in both instances is communicating and understanding the sentiment behind the nickname, rather than focusing on what the actual nickname is.

      If someone says that they do not like a particular nickname and it is obvious that they aren’t saying so in a playful, teasing manner then I would simply stop calling them it. You can always come up with something new at a later date. This is not an example of supplicating but is an example of social intelligence: not wanting to cause unnecessary conflict. After all, the whole purpose of using a nickname is to create a positive association.

      That is also why I recommend the stages of a nickname listed in the article. Using an endearing nickname too early in a relationship can come across as needy or insincere. Using a teasing nickname too often later in the relationship can come across as contemptuous.

      To answer your question, you know a nickname is perfect when the underlying meaning behind it is clearly understood, the other person smiles and outwardly enjoys you using it and lastly, they are comfortable calling you a nickname of a similar level of sincerity.

      Thanks for commenting,


  3. Em
    Em says:


    I have also just stumbled across this website and really like your advice. This is an unrelated topic but my boyfriend always says that the main reason he loves me is because I love him. I think he thinks this is cute/sweet but I actually find it a little concerning as I don’t really think that should be the basis of a relationship. I feel someone loving you is just a bonus and it is aspects of them which you love them most. Am I right to be concerned or am I just over-thinking it?

    Thank you!

    • Samuel McCrohan
      Samuel McCrohan says:

      Hi Em,

      Love is difficult for even the most analytical of people to fully explain and you are right that your boyfriend probably thinks it is an endearing thing to say. There are loads of ways to rationalise the exact meaning behind what he says but feeling loved and validated is universally desirable.

      If you want him to be more specific then you can simply ask him in a fun way. Tell him three things you love about him and then playfully ask him what three things he loves about you.

      When all is said and done, it is far more important how he actually treats you and how he acts towards the relationship, as opposed to how he justifies his feelings.

      Thanks for visiting the website and I hope you stick around, 🙂


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