When I was still taking coursework, one of the requirements was a linguistics class. We read an article about a researcher who studied the language people use when speaking to close friends, relatives, or significant others versus the language that people use when speaking to strangers or people they don’t know as well. The study found that when speaking to people we know well, we have a tendency to use far more pronouns (as opposed to nouns) and other vague referents (for example, using a “code word” that refers to a mutually experienced event or story that both people know). On the other hand, when speaking to people we don’t know well, we have a tendency to use far more nouns (which are more specific) and to tell stories in their entirety.
This plays out in interesting ways when you start dating someone, because once you get past the very initial stages (let’s say about three months, which is my “shit or get off the pot” moment in dating) you have a tendency to start thinking that the other person knows you better than they do…and then you start getting vaguer and vaguer without realizing it. This can lead to misunderstandings if you’re not careful. Continued