Did you know that the way you refer to yourself speaks volumes? Here’s what words like “I” and “we” have to say about your state of mind:
People who are depressed use “I” more often. Dr. James Pennebaker is a psychologist at the University of Texas. He says that people who are chronically sad are focused inwardly – so they’re more likely to say, “I,” “me” and “my.” As an example, studies have found that poets who use the word “I” the most in their work are more likely to be suicidal.
Women are also more likely to use statements starting with “I” than men. That’s because women are more introspective and self aware, which may be why women are more likely to suffer from depression than men.
Confident people don’t talk about themselves. Dr. Pennebaker says confident people are more likely to use the word “we,” because they’re happy with who they are and their place in the world, and want other people to feel like they’re part of the group. So, they may say, “We will win this competition.” As an example – presidents are more likely to use the word “we” – as in, “We will get this budget passed!”
A prime time when “we” is used? After a crisis. Because people want to feel bonded to one another. So they’re more likely to say, “We’ll get through this.” In fact, after the September 11th terrorist attacks, blogs showed a big drop in usage of the word “I” – and much more use of “we.”