What Does It Mean When A Guy Calls You Boo Or Bae?

Ugh, today’s dating lingo can be a MINEFIELD, am I right?!

One minute you’re happily single and minding your own business…the next, some guy is calling you “boo” or “bae” and you’re left utterly CONFUZZLED.

What does it all mean? Is he into you? Just being friendly? Stuck in some weird time warp from the early 2000s?

Trust me, I totally get the struggle. As someone who’s been helping people navigate the rocky shores of romance for years, I’ve heard every bizarre pet name under the sun.

And you know what? I’m here to un-muddy those dating waters once and for all.

So cozy up, grab a glass of wine (or six), and let’s dive into the head-scratching world of modern relationship lingo, shall we?

The Backstory on “Boo” and “Bae”

First things first – a little history lesson!

These silly little terms have been around for ages, particularly in Black communities in the US.

“Boo” as a romantic nickname dates back to the 1980s and 90s, meant to shorten the words “beau” or “boyfriend/girlfriend.” Popularized even more by mid-2000s rappers and celebs.

As for “bae,” that’s thought to be a abbreviated and phonetic spelling of “babe” or “baby.” It gained steam on social media and lyrics around 2013-14, completely oversaturating the market by 2015.

So in summary? These aren’t exactly new or cutting-edge pet names. But for some reason, they just keep sticking around like that rando you dated for a week in 2012. Can’t get rid of ’em!

What It REALLY Means When He Calls You “Boo”

Here’s the deal: if some guy is calling you “boo,” there’s a pretty high chance he’s into you in that way. At least on some level.

Boo has traditionally been used as a romantic nickname for a boyfriend, girlfriend, or crush. So unless the dude is your long-term platonic BFF…or your uncle who’s waaaay behind the times…it probably means he has feelings brewing.

That said, not all “boo” situations are quite so straightforward. Sometimes it’s more of a casual flirtation mechanism. A way to test the waters without being too bold or frighten you away entirely.

Plus, let’s be real – if a guy is just trying to sleep with you, he might hit you with that “what’s up, boo?” as a lazy, low-effort way to shoot his romantic shot.

Either way, my advice is to take note of the frequency and context. If a guy is constantly sprinkling “boo” into every conversation or text? He’s likely smitten and making it rain pet names to get closer to you.

If it only slips out every once in a while or seems like more of a joke between pals, you’re probably in the clear. Just a casual (and slightly cringeworthy) guy habit that means nothing deeper.

Okay, But What’s Up With “Bae?”

Ahh, the illustrious “bae.” Such a tiny, silly word with so much potential for confusion!

Here’s my take: calling someone “bae” is rarely a casual thing these days. When a guy busts out the “b” word, there’s at least SOME romantic interest simmering there.

It’s essentially the millennial/Gen Z version of “boo,” but turned up a notch or two. Bae puts you firmly in “romantic prospect” territory in most cases.

That said, the level of feels behind a “bae” can definitely run the full spectrum:

  • Mild romantic interest and flirtation
  • Full-on lovey-dovey feelings in an established relationship
  • Sad, semi-ironic usage because the guy wishes you WERE his bae

It all depends on the specific context and dynamic. But in general, I’d say “bae” has a bit more romantic weight than the classic “boo.”

Then again, I’ve known some guys who use both terms pretty interchangeably. It’s all about the individual dude’s communications skills (or lack thereof).

My advice? Pay attention to the way he says it, the timing, and his overall vibe around you. The full context will help clarify exactly where you stand on the “interest scale.”

So How Should YOU Respond?

When a guy hits you with a “bae” or “boo,” it can feel like you’re totally on the spot. Will he be offended if you shut it down? Will things get awkward? Is he going to launch into a full dissection of modern relationship lingo?

Deep breaths, my friend. Here are a few ways to handle this situation like a total pro:

If you’re into him back: Lean into it! Play along, use a silly nickname back, and see where the flirtatious banter leads. Then make sure you grab coffee together soon to let that conversational chemistry sizzle in real life.

If you’re not interested: You have two solid options – the nice letdown or the cold shower approach. For the nice letdown, just say something like “Haha ok, you’re sweet but let’s stick to [your name] for now. I like keeping things casual between us!”

And for the cold shower? Completely ignore the nickname and change the subject. It’ll get the hint across loud and clear without any awkward confrontation.

If you’re unsure how you feel: That’s 100% okay! Don’t force yourself to make a call right away. Just keep it light and breezy until you have more clarity. Maybe say something like “Lol I’ll allow it…for now”. Keep those options open, girlfriend!

Oh, and one more major tip? However you respond in the moment, FOLLOW UP with a clear message about your boundaries and intentions soon after. Don’t leave anything in that confusing gray area!

Mixed signals lead to hurt feelings and intensely awkward encounters involving the question “wait, I thought we were just…?” ZERO thanks.

Does This Mean You’re Actually Dating?

Ah, the REAL burning question for when a guy lays that “boo” or “bae” on you – does it mean you’re officially an item?

So here’s the hard truth, straight from your wise older dating sis:

HELL no, it doesn’t mean anything is official yet! Don’t get ahead of yourself, babe.

All those cutesy little nicknames mean is that he HAS some level of romantic interest. But it takes a whooooole lot more than that to lock down the “partners” label.

Real dating involves some Key Ingredients like:

  • Clear mutual interest and intentionality
  • Established boundaries, trust, and emotional intimacy
  • Public acknowledgment of your “thing” as more than casual
  • Alignment on where things are headed

Until you’ve covered all those bases, you’re still in that ambiguous “talking” stage, regardless of the nicknames. So have fun flirting, for sure! But pump the brakes on U-Hauling your life together just yet.

Signs It’s Just a Friendly Pet Name

Even with all this pet name terrain we’ve covered, sometimes a “boo” or “bae” shockingly means…absolutely nothing at all.

Gasp! The horror!

Yep, believe it or not, some people really do use these terms in a purely platonic, buddy-buddy kind of way. Weird flex, but you do you!

How can you tell if that’s the case? Here are some surefire signals his use of the “b” word is innocently friendship-zone territory:

  • It’s a constant group nickname he uses for EVERYONE
    • Example: “What’s up baes, who’s down for tacos later?”
  • He has an actual girlfriend and you’re firmly in the friend zone
    • Unless he has no boundaries. In which case, yikes!
  • It sounds overly bro-y and ironic when he says it
    • That’s just dudes bein’ dudes, I guess?
  • The vibe is 100% plutonic in person with zero flirting
    • Your time together gives zero romantic tension or chemistry vibes

If any of those ring true in your case, congrats! Your guy friend is likely just super lame and still living in a bygone era of slang. You can safely ignore any romantic confusion there.

The Overall Rule For Nicknames

Look, when it comes to dating, here’s the overall rule I try to impart:

Words mean whatever you BOTH consciously decide they mean.

Maybe that’s tough love, but hear me out! All this angst, worry, and analysis over nicknames like “boo” and “bae” is only an issue because we’ve all made it one.

Those silly pet names should carry exactly as much weight – or as little – as BOTH you and your partner actively want them to based on your mutual understanding.

If you like the flirty, cutesy dynamic? Awesome! Embrace those nicknames and make them your own thing!

If they drive you absolutely bonkers with cringe? Totally fine too! Make it clear to your partner you’re not into it, and ignore them until they stop.

The same goes for ANY kind of romantic lingo or gesture, big or small. From inside jokes to letting them call you “babe”…the meaning lies in the MUTUALLY AGREED-UPON intention! NOT assumptions based on vague “rules” that were probably invented by someone’s weird uncle anyway.

So there you have it. No more stressing over “what it means” when a guy calls you bae or boo. Just ask! Share how you feel! Speak up for yourself!

Dating and communication don’t need to be any more complicated than that, sis. Now get out there and navigate the silly relationship lingo with confidence! You’ve totally got this.

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