I, You, or We: Pronouns Provide Hints to Romantic Attachment Styles

Posted on June 13, 2019

If you’re curious about what your partner is thinking, pay attention to the pronouns they use when they talk about the relationship. Will Dunlop and his colleagues from the University of California have examined the relations between the attachment styles of adult romantic partners as well as their use of pronouns.

Attachment styles are determined based on two factors – anxiety and avoidance. In the context of romantic relationships, anxiety refers to the degree to which one is concerned about losing their lover. On the other hand, avoidance refers to the extent to which an individual is apprehensive about getting closer to their partner. An analysis of the observations of seven existing studies have suggested that individuals are less likely to use “we” when talking about their romantic relationships if they have an avoidant attachment style.

Therefore, we can most likely guess what a person’s attachment style is from their pronoun use. Additionally, listening to an individual talk about their relationship also provides us with some information on how they may think or act when they are in a romantic relationship. Since people are often unaware of the pronouns they use, this may be an indirect way of assessing one’s attachment style.

Further studies could be implemented to find out if the usage of pronouns may be associated with general relationship satisfaction, or to identify other factors that can provide an indication of one’s attachment style.

Category(s):Attachment Issues, Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Science Daily