The man Jimmy Carter once called his "favorite mayor" returned to the White House yesterday, displaying how a little presidential stroking can soothe one man's complaints.

"Two different styles, two different styles," Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer shouted before slipping into a waiting limousine when asked if he missed the former president who helped make his city a national showplace for federal aid programs. "But when a president treats a man nice and gives him an opportunity for real input . . . well, you've got to feel a lot better."

The mayor has been critical of the Reagan administration's budget cuts, telling the House Ways and Means Committee recently the reductions are "cruel" and would be "disasterous" for his city.

Schaefer traveled to the White House after President Reagan decided the weather was too bad for him to visit Baltimore. The president had planned a helicopter trip there to look at the city's attempt to revitalize a decaying neighborhood.

Never one to be deterred easily, Baltimore's biggest fan drove to Washington, bringing a steel gray pamphlet specially printed for the occasion--"A visit from President Ronald Reagan."

"We were encouraged today . . . and we got everything we asked for," Schaefer said, speaking of his lunch with Reagan and Phoenix Mayor Margaret Hance. Earlier that day, Schaefer and an entourage of mayors met with Treasury Secretary Donald Regan and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel R. Pierce Jr. to discuss the feasibility of "enterprise zones," which would offer tax incentives to business to locate in depressed urban areas. Reagan is expected to ask Congress to establish such zones in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Schaefer said the president declined to say whether Baltimore would become one of the zones. "The president . . . let me tell him what worried me about Baltimore."

His earlier protests about the administration's efforts to cut aid to cities were not evident during his White House visit.

"We're practical mayors and we've got to live within the rules of the game," Schaefer said. "It's a totally new approach, but we're going to do everything we can to make the president's policy work."