Aaaagh. I just called my boss "sweetie" and "honey" within this one 6-minute phone call. Who does that? ("Who does that" is what my daughter says to me every time I do something weird, i.e. ten times a day.)
I did grow up in the South, where I actually got fired from my mall-restaurant hostess job by a lady named Bee whose eyebrows were drawn on to look perpetually surprised and who said to me at the end of a shift, "Now sweetheart, we're just gonna have to let you go, so empty out your locker, darlin'".
Anyway, I apologized after the "sweetie" on this call just now and said I didn't mean to say it, but then the "honey" came out and I didn't even try to reclaim it. We were talking about budgets and Q2 goals!! Who does that?!? And how would you cover if you did?
PS One last question: When are those terms of endearment nice and when are they condescending, in your experience?