Nigerian men and terms of endearment

I am not very familiar with Nigerian men (having never dated one, and I don’t think my brothers count as typical Nigerian men since they are for all intents and purposes Canadian), and perhaps I’m very cruel to pin the following on Nigerian men because other men do this, I’m sure, but I wanted to ask about the use of terms of endearment by Nigerian men towards women they don’t know well. I’m not talking about catcalls and such by a stranger, but about the scenario where a man meets woman that he’s interested in and within minutes he’s calling her babe, baby, dear, darling and angel. Am I the only one who finds this hard to get used to?

For me, terms of endearment (from one sex to another) should only be used with those you know well enough to call dear or sweetie, not with someone that you’re just getting to know. If someone calls me dear, I take it to mean that I’m special to them, not like every other female they come across. But how can I be special to a guy who didn’t know me 25 minutes ago??? When a guy I barely know uses those words with me, I either think he’s trying to move too fast, or I think he calls every girl that, which means if I were to date him, I’d possibly hear him calling his female friends dear or angel (which I would not be cool with because of the way I look at terms of endearment). I asked one guy why he was calling me this or that, and he said it was a sign of respect, that he uses the same particular endearment with his sisters. That was probably my chance to say that I’d feel plenty respected if he called me Good Naija Girl, but I didn’t.

I’m a huge fan of nicknames, but when terms of endearment are tossed around too casually, I don’t feel quite comfortable with it. I mentioned this to a couple of friends and one said that if a guy uses those words with women he’s not dating or married to, what does or will he use with his own significant other to set her apart? That’s a question I wonder about too. Another friend said that using terms like that is practically a guarantee that she won’t ever date the guy, I think because it says things about his personality that she’s not interested in. I’m still on the fence on the matter (it’s not like I have a guy calling me dear and sweetie who wants to date me anyhow).

But I am curious:

  1. What do you think of a guy who uses those endearments from the beginning?
  2. If you are a guy who does this, why do you do it? Should women like me just accept it and stop overthinking the issue?

28 thoughts on “Nigerian men and terms of endearment

  1. You should come live in the south. These pple call everyone cutie pie and sweetheart and boo, but i guess u r referring to just naija men. I haven't experienced been called any term of endearment by any naija man i wasn't friends with. One of my closest friend in naija calls me Sweetheart and i think he does that with everyone. I heard him calling someone at work darling. I don't know anymore.

    Depending on how easily it rolls off a guys tongue i just met, i might think he is a player. I don't know how common it is with nigerian men in nigeria.

  2. Well, I don't use those nicknames at any girl I meet… I use them when I actually mean them… although I call my close female friends babe or chic or my darling sumtyms… We have an understanding

  3. Some Naija men are notorious for doing this…anything from the usual O baby come now (lol) to the guy that meets you and two seconds later you are his baby (that's the same guy that starts talking marriage on the first date). I just take it as he does not remember my name (lol) or he is trying to give me this false sense of comfort that I am special to him (mschewww).

    I almost feel that babe, baby should be earned…but then again I live in the southeast and every man calls you sweetheart, darling, honey without any strings attached. I am also a big terms of endearment person and it takes a lot for me to come out of my mouth and give someone a nice pet name.

    All in all, it really just depends but I will give a guy the side eye if he is just trying to get to know me and I am his baby within 1 week.

    Have a good day GNG!

  4. I am fourth! I am moving up quite fast. Ha ha!

    The reason they do this is because they are aggressive in nature. Nigerian men pursue women with the same intensity as they do everything else. Not all do it, but most. For me, I just tell em if I dont want to be a 'baby' or 'sweetie' just yet.

  5. I spent most of life in Nigeria and I still find out uncomfortable when a man tosses out words like that. I don't think it's restricted to naija men, but to players or sexists. Say my name or you're playing a game is always my mantra…

  6. i have the same problem, i almost <del>physically</del> flinch when a guy dat i barely know or dont even knw sef calls be "hun" "sweetie" or any other endearment. I guess im getting used to "babe".

    Sometimes i think its a ploy by some guys to avoid being caught two-timing, but now a whole bunch of people do it, its downright annoying!

  7. I totally see your point and i don't understand why someone would use terms of endearment for someone they're not close too to my dear…lol

  8. I absolutely hate it when men I barely know call me baby or what not, I mean wtf is that, I don't know you like that please. Most men are guilty of this, I don't think its just nigerian men.

  9. â–ºsting

    Ah, the south! Maybe it would be acceptable to be called sugar and cutie pie if it was with a southern drawl ;)

    Yup, I feel you on thinking the guy might be a player. I think some guys don't mean it that way at all, but it definitely comes across that way!


    "I use them when I actually mean them" – great! I don't think they should be used otherwise.

    As long as both parties understand, I think it's cool.


    Thanks for commenting! lol "O baby come now"!

    …it takes a lot for me to come out of my mouth and give someone a nice pet name

    You said it! I feel the same way. I guess the fact that it comes so quickly out of some guys' mouths makes me a bit skeptical, or just plain annoyed.

    I think I need to practice my side eye sha.

    Thanks for wishing me a good day; I wish you the same!


    Top 5 is fantastic! Well done my sister. I'm going to use your direct approach in a particular case I'm dealing with. At first I didn't want to be rude but with an explanation any guy that can't handle it should leave me jare.


    â–ºMyne Whitman

    Your motto is great…nice rhyme so I won't forget it.

    I really do think some guys mean nothing bad by their use of the endearment but I just can't get used to it. You're right that it's not reserved to Nigerian men alone, but that was my particular focus. Although I find oyinbo men don't use it often (at least not as often as Naija guys towards me).


    Nice to see you here! How bodi?

    I know what you mean. In person I can't hide my feelings but on the phone or online I'm more able to deal with it.

    Ugh! The thought of it being a ploy to avoid being caught calling one girl the name of another irks me!


    And who do you think you are, calling me dear…ugh!



    "I don't know you like that please." – I love the way you wrote it…that's the exact problem. It's a case of who do yo think you are?!??!!

    I agree that it's not limited to Nigerian men, but for obvious reasons my focus was on Nigerian men.


    Yup, it's not only Naija men who do this. lol Nigerian men and their evil looks gaan. I need some lessons!

  10. not all nigerian men do this…and sometimes they do it just to sound ive met nigerian men who arent even in the least bit interested in starting anything with me call me a lot of endearment..i think its just to put you at ease esp if you are new to an area.i dont necessarily mind it. to each his or her own.

  11. lol. i love Myne's motto!

    the whole baby thing some Nigerian men have the habit of saying is irritating to me. For me it's an alert that he's probably a playa; although I do acknowledge some guys are used to using terms of endearment and do so unconsciously.

  12. I intensely dislike! I find it very uncouth to be called "my darling" or "baby" within minutes to days of meeting me or even when you are not that close to me. It is simply irritating to me.

  13. I actually don't think it's a big deal, i mean lol my female friends use the word darling, or booboo with me everytime, and so do i.. I don't think one should read tomuch into it.

  14. Hmmmmm not sure we can blame only Naija men …

    I don't like it but I must say it's quite popular. I automatically flinch when someone I dont know calls me baby (bleugh). It's just assuming a familiarity that doesn't exist !

    Once I had to tell a man that I'm really sorry but can you stop calling doll, my name is Caramel! He had kept calling me doll so much my stomach rolled!

  15. For a second, I thought I'd never hear this topic brought up. I have never dated a Nigerian guy before even though I am Nigerian. However, in my few brushes with Nigerian men, I've been hailed by these terms of endearment and I am bothered by it.

    For instance, there was guy I was introduced to over Facebook. The first time we chatted he referred to me as babe and as his queen. The second conversation after a week goes, "so have you been thinking about me, do you miss me?" How can I think about you or miss you when in all my existence I've only spoken to you once over a computer!

    I find that this is a very Nigerian trait. I ignore such behavior or if it bothers me enough I talk about it. I just don't understand what goes on in the heads of Nigerian men…

  16. I call everybody, sweetie, babes, booboo, darl..etc. both guys and girls alike. I dont hink there is anything wrong with it. I think it depends on the kind of relationship I have with them though. I wont call a stranger baby though.. that is creepy!!

  17. Ah, you just said something I've thought about a million times. I completely agree with you everything said. Gah, you're bringing back memories of all the guys my husband have introduced me to in Nigeria, his former friends etc and so many of them just say "HEY BABY" and I HATE IT. I hate it to the extent the anger really shows on my face sometimes and I've said I am NOT your baby..nasty piece of…. So yes, I dislike it, and I agree with you. I call girls I know lots of names…here on blogville too, like sweetie, hun, dearie, because I really feel endearment towards them. But never to guys. And guys don't call me. I am married and I don't think any guy besides my husband should call me anything.

    From a feminist perspective aswell, calling a woman endearing names without knowing her is sexist and degrading. And I agree with that too, although I guess many men don't mean it like that. But for instance in the work place, if a man goes talking something bad to you but adds "sweetie" or something it gets my blood boiling. It's time they all saw us as respectable equal, professional human beings and don't call us anything unless there is something true to it.

  18. But it's common around these parts, no? Most of the guys use terms like 'babe' or 'angel' when referring to ladies they even barely know. I never read any meaning into it 'cos it doesn't mean anything!

    I can see what you mean though from your post. Could be irksome!

  19. I just lost my response but I said it doesn't bother me, hubby called me sweetie for a long time and some friends call me honey. It's better than disrepectful things like shawty red, black or big booty gal, etc.

  20. For me it means they are just those slimy pervy types. Overfamiliarness (is that even a word) is not cute at all. They think by using these words women will feel special and fall at their feet. Watch any Nollywood movie. After the honey dearest comes the "I love you very much" and that is after knowing the chick for all of… an hour LOL. Its just talk.

  21. I think its all a matter of perspective and upbringing.

    I am with leggy and Enkay here.

    Growing up, I remember elderly people using 'good morning my dear' or 'how are you my dear' or 'thanks darling'

    I remember my dentist years ago saying things like, 'darling it wont hurt' ( just before he gives me a painful injection) and he doesn't know me.

    I remember nurses/doctors male and female too do that.

    I agree some men say that to get on with a lady 'very fast'. but I would like to say every one that uses those words of endearment should NOT be classed together

    and if I may add, I enjoy being addressed by very nice things, and I also use terms of endearment for people I like and children especially.

    If someone uses those words and you don't like it, if yo are in a situation where you can, please tel the person you don't like it. I know I tell men 'please o, I am not your darling o, don't call me that etc'

  22. I think it depends on the guy and the context in which he uses the word.

    I don't necessarily get uncomfortable when a man – Nigerian or not – uses a term of endearment for me, but I think that's because I'm fond of saying using them myself. I say, love, sweetie, darling, etc. But I'm usually careful not to use them for me that I am not VERY close to.

    On that note, I think it's more normal (and expected???) for a man to use a term of endearment toward a woman he does not know well than it is for a woman to do so toward a man she does not know well. In Igbo, for example, 'Nne' is a term of endearment and it's often thrown around by everyone. If I were to meet a man today who calls me Nne, I wouldn't think too much of it. The way he says it, what he says after it, or what he says while saying it …. those are what I would pay close attention to and/or get uncomfortable with, if necessary.

    This is one heck of a long comment.

  23. I agree with Leggy and Olufunke on this.

    I'll refer to part of your post :

    I asked one guy why he was calling me this or that, and he said it was a sign of respect, that he uses the same particular endearment with his sisters. That

    Some guys say this like 'dear' or 'darling' because they see it as a nice way to greet u or it's even a compliment. Yes Nigerian guys do it a lot, that cannot be denied but I don't think we can just assume it is a quick way to get into ones knickers.

    I have a very close friend who calls me 'chic' I asked him what it means because it sounded a little random he said it was a term to refer to a femine cute lady …

    I think 'baby' is the one that I don't like, my bf calls his close female friends ' sweetie' and I told him to stop it and he did. he even calls his sister that too but I said what would you call me lol …so he stopped because I didn't like it … guys can just me slow at times..

  24. â–ºleggy

    I know o. I never said only Nigerian men do this, but from your comment I think I know a bit more about what might motivate some Nigerian men to use terms of endearment (in a way that isn't sleazy).


    I'm with you on this comment. I'm not saying all of them have nefarious intent with their use of endearments, it's just when they use it with women they don't know well enough to be using them in my mind.


    I agree.


    But the difference is that these are your female friends. I'm talking about if a girl you didn't know 5, 10 minutes ago starts calling you her boo.

    â–ºCaramel Delight

    We definitely can't blame only Naija men, but the focus this entry was on Nigerian men.

    "It's just assuming familiarity that doesn't exist!" – you hit the nail on the head.


    lol at this comment! I shared it with my sister and we had to laugh because we have received these sort of comments too, and our reaction was exactly the same: how can we be thinking of them or missing them when we hardly know them!??!!

    Oh well, Nigerian men also have their good points.


    But these are people you know and are close to. In that case, there's nothing wrong with it in my opinion. It's when the person is practically a stranger!


    lol at your very strong response! I know what you mean though. And yes, I can't imagine calling a guy who isn't my loved one, family member or friend "dear", "sweetie", "darling" etc.

    Oh, your workplace example is great. Some use the term of endearment to mask somewhat their impolite comment.


    I'm learning that it doesn't mean anything, though at first I would take issue because I was wondering why a guy who I don't even know would feel that familiar with me already.

    â–ºAlisa N

    lol you're right that it's better than those other insulting terms but did your husband call you dear and sweetie very soon after meeting?

    â–ºNollywood Forever

    Yup, I'd call it overfamiliarness myself. lol at your example from the movies.


    Well you along with some others here have given me another perspective on the whole use of terms of endearment so early, so I do appreciate that. Again, I don't have a problem if someone I know uses these words; it's when I barely know the person that I don't feel comfortable!

    And in one particular case I did let the guy know that it was too soon and he understood I think.

    â–ºVera Ezimora

    That's how I try to operate jare: if I don't feel close to you, I won't use terms of endearment. I'm far quicker to use it with women than men, because I feel like using it with men carries more of a weight. I assume men feel similarly but I guess that's not the case.

    â–ºMiss FlyHigh

    I agree that some guys use terms of endearment innocently, but unfortunately it's not always the case.

    I would have done as you did, and asked my boyfriend to not call other women who are not his girlfriend terms of endearment.

  25. Ok…I can totally relate to this topic cause i hate, hate, hate, when guys do that. I mean, you hardly know me and im already your love…….???? it's such a turn off, it makes me feel you don't really want to get to know me. Trust me, all the guys that tried that with me just kind off fizzled away cause i practically ran away from them…..eish!!!

  26. A little late, but always on time! This posting is actually hilarious because I just met a Nigerian guy two weeks ago at a wedding I went to. Tall, dark and oh so fine. So we exchanged numbers, and boom! He goes, "Thanks baby". And all I can think is wow, I don't even know your last name. So after about the tenth "babe", and him swearing that I am the "one" (seriously?! after like two days?!), I have to go, "Heyyyyy, be easy, you're coming on too strong!" But man, he was fine!

  27. Well as a Nigerian-American i think its just the Nigerian guys that have been living in Nigeria…i mean i never met a Nigerian guys who have been living in the USA call me that…lol. only the ones that just came from Nigeria to the U.S. or as we call them FOB's ( fresh out the bout) call you babe, darling etc when you just met them.Usually i respond by saying, " I'm not your baby."

Comments are closed.