Me? I’m So Depressed

A research team led by Johannes Zimmermann suggests that people who often talk in terms of “I” and “me” tend to be more depressed:

Frequent use of first-person singular pronouns went hand in hand with higher depression scores and with interpersonal distress characterised by what the researchers called an “intrusive style”, including inappropriate self-disclosure, attention seeking, and an inability to spend time alone. “First-person singular pronoun use may be part of a … strategy that pulls for friendly-submissive attention from others,” the researchers said. A “tendency to seek attention from others rather than self-focused attention.”

In contrast, greater use of first-person plural pronouns was associated with lower depression scores and lower interpersonal distress. To the researchers’ surprise, this was characterised by a “cold” interpersonal style. However, they think this is a “functional” kind of coldness – the ability to help others with their needs while also remaining appropriately detached for self-protection.