When friends fight: Relationships between language use, friendship quality, and gender when recalling interpersonal conflict



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Friendships comprise some of the most meaningful and significant relationships of our lives, providing companionship, support, and joy (Rawlins, 2017). As conflict is often inevitable in friendships, the ways in which we cognitively process these experiences may be reflective of friendship quality. The literature reveals that language use, such as the use of pronouns or emotion words, can provide critical insight into our thoughts and feelings (Biessen, Schooler, & Smith, 2016; Fitzsimmons & Kay, 2004; Frost, 2013; Gilbert & Karahalios, 2009). Gender has also been shown to influence how relationship conflict is managed (Antony & Sheldon, 2019; Keener, Strough, & DiDonato, 2019). The current study aimed to fill gaps in the literature by examining pronoun and emotion word use when describing a conflict with a friend and the related associations with friendship quality and gender. None of the proposed hypotheses were supported by the results of this study, indicating that as operationalized by the methods in this investigation, friendship quality does not impact the use of plural pronouns, positive emotion words, or negative emotion words when recalling an interpersonal conflict with a best friend.



Friendship, Conflict, Language, Emotion, Pronouns