One of the greatest secrets to acquiring an intimate relationship with someone is addressing them by name. Names are important because they identify each person as unique.
Often, people name children after parents, grandparents, famous persons, infamous persons, inanimate objects, and animals. Names carry the power to have the greatest influence upon a person’s life, upbringing notwithstanding. I have invested in a name book. It gives the origin and meaning of the name. Often times upon making a new acquaintance, I will check my book for the meaning of his or her name. The results are often pleasant and surprising.
When you remember to call a person by name, there is an immediate relationship of intimacy established. This may promise a greater response from that person in your future interactions. Even when you express a difference of opinion, speaking the name of the person during the disagreement adds a dramatic dimension and lessens the impact of the disagreement.
Sadly, humankind floods the atmosphere with words that squash intimacy and create touchpoints for division and strife. These names are so powerful it is like being whacked with a baseball bat. You feel helpless and can only stand by and watch the blood spatter everywhere.
Moron, retarded, idiot, stupid, loser, jerk, the f-word, and the n-word are some of the most common. Oh, there are lots more, and some of them get downright dirty by naming specific body parts, gender, or race.
That old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply untrue. Not only do they damage a person’s reputation and character, but they dignify evil and may even leave a hole in a person’s soul.
In the Old Testament, God chose to name or rename a person as a way of determining their destiny. Some examples of renaming are Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (“father of many nations”) and Sarai (she that strives) to Sarah (princess). Jacob (supplanter or heel grabber) was changed to Israel (”You have striven with divine beings and prevailed.”)
Throughout the Bible, children were named to announce a personal experience with God. One of the most well-known is the story of the “withered,” well past the age-of-childbearing, Sarah. When she overheard God tell Abraham she would bear a son, she burst into cynical laughter. Later, upon his birth, Abraham named his son Isaac (meaning laughter), memorializing Sarah’s laughter at God’s prophesy that she would bear a son.
The Bible overflows with the names of God. There are no less than twenty-one. Each of these invites us to know about who He is. Each allows us an opportunity to share greater intimacy with Him and to enter the personal, life-changing relationship He offers. His names express Divine manifestation, His character, His relationships to people, and His dealings with them.
When you address a person by their given name it is a significant way to develop an intimate relationship without entering into an imaginative or emotional appeal. On the other hand, calling a person a name that denigrates him or her guarantees that you will be added to the list of those who disrespect you and what you represent.
Affectionate names (e.g. honey, sweetie, baby) are like icing on a cake, but a solid relationship acknowledges the pleasure of knowing that person by addressing him or her by name.