Almost half the 1,000 people questioned said they objected to being called "dear" by people they met on a formal basis - such as dentists, receptionists and tradesmen.
But 72 per cent of those questioned did not feel the same way about their use by nurses and said they were happy for staff in caring professions to use pet names.
According to the poll, carried out by NOP Solutions for Bella magazine, bosses and police officers were strongly criticised for using terms of endearment.
The strongest objectors to pet names were women, especially 15- to 24-year-olds.
A total of 63 per cent in that age group said they were offended by tradesmen calling them "love".
This compares with 36 per cent of women over the age of 65 who are generally more tolerant, the survey found.
Several organisations have already banned their staff from using pet names. Staff at Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, have been banned from using pet names to address patients.
And switchboard staff at Leeds Council must not address callers as "love", even though Bella's survey shows that Yorkshire people were the least likely to be upset by the use of this term.Reuse content