Are You A Copy Narcissist? - What Your Use of the ‘I’Pronoun Says About You

Are You A Copy Narcissist? – What Your Use of the ‘I’ Pronoun Says About You

Is your copy riddled with “I” statements? Do you catch yourself telling everyone around you “I do this” or “I do that” when describing your work?

I thought so. See, I do it too.

But maybe we shouldn’t.

Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas is a researcher focused on the psychology of words. He’s a psychologist and language scholar who pioneered the use of Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) to explore large data sets of the words of sex, age and power, personality, emotion, the effect of role, political rhetoric, as well as power and veracity differentials revealed by the use of the pronoun “I.”

What he discovered is that those of us who use “I” subconsciously believe that we are subordinate to the person to who we are talking or writing.


Pronouns, it turns out, tell us what people are paying attention to and where their internal focus is pointing.

Often, people using “I” are choosing to use it and being self-reflective. But they may also be self-conscious or insecure, in physical or emotional pain, or simply trying to please.


Don’t tell me that “I” didn’t sting a little.

From a Sales Psychology, using “I” too much in your copy on in conversation makes others feel unseen, unheard and as if you are only there looking out for… well, you.

Is that how you want to make your clients feel?

Likely not.

So, instead of using “I” statements, how can you make it about your client? What value are you giving them? What results are they seeing?

If it’s not about you – by default, it’s about them.

And we love that.

Now, I bet you’re wondering how this works for a bio, right?

It’s about you, after all… or is it?

Bios are meant to be a mirror for your client. So while it’s about you, yes, it’s also about the mirror you are holding up for them. Ask them to see themselves inside of your story.

It’s why we choose Coaches who have been through similar situations or experiences to us. It’s why we want to work with Planners who “get” us. It’s why even choosing a product; we want to be aligned with the brand ethos.

It’s always about them aligning with or seeing themselves in us.

So, instead of saying “I am a Coach, Mentor and All Round Badass” you might try saying “Whatever title you give me – Coach, Mentor, Badass – my mission is raising you up, helping you achieve greatness!”.

Feels somehow sexier, more attractive, more aligned…

How will you drop the “I” to find the “we” of collaboration with your clients?

Science doesn’t lie… “I” feels selfish and not sale-worthy.

Crystal Adair-Benning

Crystal Adair-Benning is the Word Magician, Story Supercharger, Copywriter & Ghostwriter for rebels, misfits and world-changing humans. She is best known for being not known at all. A secret weapon amongst successful entrepreneurs who covet her Quantum Copy Method – combining the science of writing with the spirituality of creativity. A multiple NYTimes Bestselling ghostwriter and former highly sought-after luxury event planner, Crystal finds joy in being an Intuitive Creative digital nomad – free to explore the globe with her husband, dog and laptop.

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