In the United States, we're no strangers to profanity --
in the home, on the television and even in the workplace,
foul language has become quite commonplace.
But that does not mean we like it. A recent Associated Press-Ipsos
poll found that 74 percent of women, and 60 percent of men,
are bothered by profanity at least some of the time. And almost
everyone agreed -- including those who do it -- that it's
wrong to swear for no particular reason.
Still, 74 percent of Americans surveyed said they hear profanity
in public frequently or occasionally. Another two-thirds believe
that foul language is more common than it was 20 years ago.
Sixty-four percent of Americans say they do, in fact,
use the "F-word."
Just how often does the average American swear? The poll
found that 64 percent of people use the F-word (8 percent
of which use it several times a day).
So what, if anything, is wrong with some occasional use of
"colorful" language? Well, for starters people who
curse when it's not necessary are often considered less intelligent
and less credible than those who do not. Further, according
to the Cuss Control Academy in Lake Forest, IL, swearing:
Makes you unpleasant to be with
Endangers your relationships
Reduces the respect people have for you
Discloses a lack of character
Shows you don't have control
Sets a bad example
Has lost its effectiveness
Contributes to the decline of civility
Represents the dumbing down of America
Offends more people than you think
Is abrasive, lazy language
"You probably swear because it is easy, fun, candid,
emphatic, expressive, breaks rules, and somehow partially
reduces anger and pain," says the Cuss Control Academy.
"But the negatives outweigh the positives. You really
don't win an argument by swearing. You don't prove that you
are smart or articulate. You don't earn respect or admiration.
You don't motivate, you intimidate. Swearing doesn't get you
hired, promoted, or romantically connected."
Workers who swear together, stay together, according
to new research from the UK.
As conventional thinking would have it, profanity is indeed
something that should be limited in your life, at the very
least to preserve your reputation and set a good example for
However, new research has revealed a surprising turn of events.
Can Swearing be a Good Thing?
According to researchers from the University of East Anglia
in Norwich, U.K., absolutely.
They found that "social" or "annoyance"
swearing can make the workplace more pleasurable and even
strengthen bonds between employees.
"Taboo language serves the needs of people for developing
and maintaining solidarity and as a mechanism to cope with
stress," said Yehuda Baruch, a professor of management
at UAE. "Banning it could backfire."
While social swearing was found to promote a sense of "oneness"
among employees, swearing out of annoyance was an effective
"relief mechanism" for stress, replacing more "primitive
Of course, even social swearing has its limits. If swearing
or verbally abusive, it becomes a form of bullying. This,
far from boosting worker morale, can lead to loss of productivity,
absenteeism, depression, low morale and stress.
To Swear or Not to Swear?
It can be socially acceptable to swear when you're amongst
friends who also swear, but outside of such a safe environment,
using profanity casually is likely to offend someone within
" ... Be aware of when and where you swear,"
notes the Cuss Control Academy. "Control it, tame it,
time it. Or, to be on the safe side, stop using it altogether."
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