What It Means When A Guy Calls You 'Baby'

Is it a compliment or a ploy?

man and woman smiling at each other over coffee Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Imagine you're on a wonderful coffee date with a guy you like. Everything's going smoothly until he drops the b-word: Baby. 

Now what? Your mind begins to race.

What does it mean when he calls me baby?

Is he dropping hints about liking you back? Or maybe it's something he says to everyone? 

Trying to decipher all the possible reasons why he's called you 'baby' can send you down the rabbit-hole of overthinking, which is never helpful when you're trying to get to know someone. 


To make things easier, here are 8 possibilities for what it means when he calls you 'baby.'

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1. He loves you.

Remember, a good rule of thumb is to first assess what kind of relationship you have with the guy. If you've been going out for a while or are good friends, he's likely using the nickname to show his affection for you. 

2. He's flirting with you. 

Red alert! Red alert! He thinks you're cute!

Usually, guys are stimulated by visual cues. If he finds you attractive, he'll be tempted to hit on you in order to gauge whether or not you're equally interested in him.


That, or he simply wants to let you know he thinks you're good-looking.  

3. He thinks you two are already dating. 

Let's say you two have known each other for some time. You've hung out often, had deep conversations, and share the same interests. It could be possible that he's developed an emotional connection with you and thinks you're technically "together."

If you have a sneaking suspicion this might be the case, you may want to have a DTR (defining the relationship) conversation with him. 

4. He wants to sleep with you.

Ugh, f-boys. If he's someone you've just met or that you don't know well, chances are he's into you but not wanting to get to know you.


As bad as it sounds, some men assume any woman will immediately want to sleep with them after they've done some sweet talking.

If that's not your cup of tea scenario-wise, then it'd be best to avoid the randos trying to butter you up. 

RELATED: 13 Weird Reasons Why Guys Act Distant When They Like You

5. He's forgotten or doesn't know your name. 

We all have to admit we've been there before. Forgetting someone's name can be pretty awkward, particularly if you're interested in them and don't want to leave a bad impression.

Some guys may call you baby if they're blanking on your name and still wanting to seem attentive. 

Of course, this usually applies to early encounters. If your partner of 5 years suddenly forgets your name, well... That's a whole other story. 


6. He's being condescending. 

Mansplaining. I'm sure you've at least heard of it, if not experienced it firsthand. Pet names are cute when your partner or crush is the one saying it, not the guy from accounting who shoots down your ideas every time you try to speak. 

Sometimes men think they're being friendly by using such names, but it typically gives off a patronizing vibe.

It's also a subtle method of domination. Calling a woman you don't have a relationship with "baby" tells us you don't care about who we are or what we do, and that you have no problem undermining our legitimacy. 

Signs a guy is being condescending is body language such as smirking, rolling his eyes, folding his arms, and tilting his chin up while you're speaking. 


7. He wants to see your reaction. 

A lot of guys love to tease their girlfriends or crush. Why? Because they want attention.

Calling you baby could be his flirty way of gauging your receptiveness to the nickname or idea of a relationship with him. Will you blush? Chastise him? Brush it off? That, or he just likes seeing you squirm. 

8. It's what he calls everyone. 

To follow up on the last point, another reason why a guy could call you baby is simply because it's what he calls everyone.

Guys who are players usually like to call random women "baby" to try and hook up with them. 

If you're not looking for something casual, avoid those kinds of guys and instead keep an eye out for the men who introduce themselves and ask for your name. In most cases, that's usually a sign he's interested in getting to know you. 


What's the difference between "babe" and "baby?" 

While they sound just about the same, the terms "babe" and "baby" have different connotations.

If not used sarcastically, both are terms used to express affection. 

"Babe" is often seen as the term that's used more casually, and isn't strictly limited to romantic relationships. Friends may refer to each other as "babe" as a friendly greeting.


And if you are a couple, babe is thought to be a more "comfortable" word to throw around in front of family and other friends. 

If a guy is calling you "babe," that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't care for you. 

"Baby" is thought to be a more intimate term, and so it could be that he either wants to keep his deeper feelings private between the two of you or isn't yet ready to announce it to the world.

If that's the case, it's always good to openly communicate with him so that you two are on the same page about your relationship and PDA. 

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Yona Dervishi is a writer who is currently working at YourTango as an editorial intern. She covers topics pertaining to self-care, radical acceptance, news, and entertainment.