How Many Times a Day You Say ‘I’ Means a Lot: Here’s Why

Meghan Blalock

selfie How Many Times a Day You Say I Means a Lot: Heres Why

Conventional wisdom (and common sense) maintains that if you have a friend who’s constantly talking about herself, then she must be self-obsessed or perhaps even a full-blown clinical narcissist. But a new study reveals that the truth about serial “me me me” friends is actually to the contrary.

Researchers from the University of Texas Psychology Department have found that people who say “I” more times over the span of a standard 24-hour day are actually more insecure than the average Joe (or Jo). These individuals, research showed, are “less sure of themselves” and “less powerful” than people with normal psychology—in fact, an overuse of the word “I” tends to signify that the culprit subconsciously believes she is subordinate to the person she is talking to.

MORE: New Study Shows That Women Lose Self-Confidence During College

“There is a misconception that people who are confident, have power, have high-status tend to use ‘I’ more than people who are low status,” says Dr. James Pennebaker, one of the study’s authors, says. “That is completely wrong. The high-status person is looking out at the world and the low-status person is looking at himself.”

MORE: Having a Low Self-Esteem Day? Here’s How To Nip It in the Bud

This really makes us think about how many times a day we say that seemingly insignificant pronoun. Maybe try keeping track of it today and the next day, and see how much time you spend talking about yourself! Head over to the Wall Street Journal to read more details about the study.