Using the pronouns “we” and “us” is linked to having a healthier and happier relationship, new research finds.
Couples who use “we” and “us” are signalling their interdependence.
Talking like this means a couple are more likely to be closer in how they think, feel and act.
It also suggests they can rely on each other for support.
Interdependence is particularly important at times of stress and conflict.
The conclusion comes from an analysis of 30 studies including a total of over 5,000 people.
Mr Alexander Karan, the study’s first author, said:
“By examining all these studies together, they let us see the bigger picture.
We-talk is an indicator of interdependence and general positivity in romantic relationships.”
The results showed that ‘we-talk’ was linked to higher relationship satisfaction, more positive relationship behaviours, better mental, physical health and even better health behaviours.
Mr Karan said:
“The benefit of analyzing many different couples in a lot of different contexts is that it establishes we-talk isn’t just positively related in one context, but that it indicates positive functioning overall.”
The question, said Dr Megan Robbins, study co-author, is what comes first, the ‘we-talk’ or a good relationship:
“It is likely both.
Hearing yourself or a partner say these words could shift individuals’ ways of thinking to be more interdependent, which could lead to a healthier relationship.
It could also be the case that because the relationship is healthy and interdependent, the partners are being supportive and use we-talk.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (Karan et al., 2018).