A few days back this ten-letter word influenced me a lot. I casually used this as an entitle to greet a close friend of mine.
The reaction came..was unexpected. She got hurt by usage of the word “sweetheart”.
On that very day, a thought crosses my mind. Why we use such words? Words like “Dear”, “Sweetheart”, “Yours”, “Love” etc… what do they actually mean?
Do they express our affection? Our social belonging-ness? Usage of such words may have different meaning at different times.
“Sweetheart”…. I searched for its meaning. The dictionary meaning of “Sweetheart” I found is
1. One who is loved.
2. Used as a familiar term of endearment.
1. A person regarded as generous or lovable.
2. Something cherished for its excellent qualities.
Involving privileged treatment of a favored party; illegally or unethically favorable: “another land grab, another sweetheart deal based on political influence” (Village Voice).
Apparently, I wondered if it is acceptable in our society to call a person “sweetheart” (obviously, of different sex)
I’m not sure if the other person feel it as too familiar, or just flat out improper etiquette.
I know I used this word as a noun, not as an adjective. But the reaction, i got, taught me something.
For the speaker , the word may be an entitle or a way to greet someone; but, for a listener,it can be all-together different.
Miscommuncation,misunderstandings may grew; because for some people; such words might be special;that should be heard from special people;
that they are waiting for, to come to their lives; and not from any person or the other.
I found this as a different view of looking towards such words. I don’t think I compromised my integrity or anything,
I just realized that perhaps the word need more sentimentality and the usage of these terms of endearment shouldn’t mean to be offensive, but rather an offering of goodwill from the speaker to the recipient.
I don’t know if being called “sweetheart” by a stranger is necessarily an inappropriate thing. But being in a world of hatedness, having been on the receiving end of far worse labels and/or expressions, I choose to accept them for what they are, an attempt at setting a relaxed tone and a friendly, non-evasive exchange of words. It is not a proposal, just a simple greeting that can be met with polite tone and manner. If it is rejected for a more dignified reason or met with a condescending response, you should accept it in a more respectful manner as there is no substitute for good manners.
Afterall we all are social animal living in a jungle called society that automatically inherits some rules and protocols of its own.
Now its up to you whether to follow or let it go.
In the end, I admit that, the other day, I used that word as Noun:-Informal definition number 2 (above).