When a complete stranger calls you honey in person or on the phone, what is your first reaction? My answer is IT DEPENDS. First, let us check how our hearing sense works.
Our auditory sense transmits the words we hear to our brain. “While our brains provide us with a tremendous amount of information about the sounds we hear and what they mean to us, at the most basic level our auditory system answers two major questions about any sound. First, what is the sound? The auditory system must identify what tones or frequencies we are hearing. And second, where is the sound? We must be able to locate the origin of the sound in space. Once we know what sounds we are hearing and where the sounds are coming from, our brains can begin the complex task of assigning meaning to the sounds we hear.” (Source:How Hearing Works).
As described above, our brain interprets the sounds we hear and what they mean to us. Hearing the word honey can mean the way it tastes depending on the person who says it. Fact: Even total strangers call us HONEY. The nature of our job requires us to meet, talk and correspond with people with variegated personality and character. During our interaction with these people, there are instances when one or a number of them would call you HONEY. There was an instance when a small girl called me honey when I met her for the first time with her mother while showing houses. I connected with the child and whenever she called me Honey, it was transmitted as sweet, adorable and innocuous.
However, HONEY and I like you from the very first interaction should FLASH a RED FLAG. Just three days ago, a man from out of state e-mailed me to inquire about the ongoing rental rates in one of the towns in Connecticut. It was a lead from one of the real estate websites. I called the number provided and let me call him Mr. X for the purpose of this narrative. As a normal procedure, I introduced myself and continued on with the reason for the call. Mr. X put me on hold for a moment—perhaps a good thirty-seconds—then came back with “Oh, yes, I remember you now.”
He explained that he would like to meet me in the town where he intended to lease several of his apartment units which he would be buying from his friend. He sounded serious when he asked questions about Section 8 and how the process works. He ended our phone conversation with “Oh you are so nice honey. I like you already. Okay honey. I will see you there.” To me, the word honey did not sound right and pleasant. Compounded with the statement “I like you already”, my hearing sense was telling me “Maria, use discretion.”
So, I called a friend of mine and asked him a favor to call Mr. X and introduce himself as my partner and to advise that I could not make it on the scheduled date. My friend proposed that he would be at the property instead to assist if that is fine with him. Mr. X did not mind at all and answered with “no problem, it is quite alright.” I was relieved but not 100%.
A day before the meeting, I called Mr. X to follow up and remind him of the meeting. He did not pick up. I left him a voice mail and then tried calling again after six hours. Mr. X did not pick up again nor returned my calls. I never heard from Mr. X again.
As a conclusion, Mr. X was up to no good. At all times, not only in the conduct of our business, we should exercise common sense in the uncommon degree as advocated by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Allow our instincts to prevail when something does not sound right.
Have you been called Honey by strangers? Share with us your experience and how you react to it.