Few things annoy me more than when a total stranger calls me a pet name—sweetie, darling, honey, baby (I hate that one most of all), and the like. It drives me nuts! Those terms are reserved for family, friends, friends of the family, or caretakers (my doctor, my dentist, etc). Period. No one else. When my dad calls me “baby,” I feel loved—when a random cashier calls me “baby,” I feel like they’re actually calling me a baby. Another term for a pet name is a diminutive, or a word that lessens a person. With someone you know, it’s cute, sweet, and somewhat flattering. With a stranger, it’s just rude. If you know anything about Japanese, it’s the equivalent of calling everyone you meet by their first name followed by chan (ちゃん). You’ll have a lot of enemies by the end of the day.