Buttering up usually refers to undeserved flattery or obsequiousness, trying to gain someone's approval through compliments or subservience.
"Wow Boss, that sure is a nice tie. You've really got the best taste in clothes. Do you need me to do anything for you? Is your wastebasket empty? Can I get you some coffee? How about if I run down to the deli and get you one of those muffins you really like?"
Student or Learner