Whoa There, Sailor!: 6 Mature Reasons To Curb Your Cursing Habit

My first memory that includes cursing takes place on a playground. It happened when I was about 11 years old (I was a pretty sheltered kid).

A friend of mine uttered the word “crap” — the most shocking word I’d heard at the time — when we were almost late to line up at the end of recess. Her maturity and nerve awed me.

Fast forward to now: I’ve done my fair share of cursing. My all-time cursing high was in college, when my parents weren’t around to reprimand me for my foul mouth.

Since then, I’ve met a lot of crazy intelligent people whose articulation made me a lot more self-conscious of my own swearing.

Let’s be clear: I’m not against it entirely. I’m a firm believer that there isn’t a stubbed toe that an F-bomb can’t fix. But, studies have shown that cursing, when used as a coping mechanism, can actually make you feel stronger.

There’s a huge difference, though, between using a well-timed curse word as a form of release and as an everyday adjective.

Here are six reasons to save your cursing for when it counts:

1. Surprise! Swearing is offensive for more than one reason.

Consider the word “bitch,” one of the many worn-out, gendered insults out there. Men in bars employ it to describe women who reject their overly aggressive advances.

It has also been used to describe ladies in leadership roles who assert any form of power. (Unsurprisingly, their male counterparts generally don’t receive the same criticism.)

By and large, it’s used as a weapon. Calling someone by that name implies that being a female or having female attributes is an undesirable state of being. Is this really an idea you want to reinforce? Didn’t think so.

2. It’s the least effective way to make a point.

I don’t know many kids who didn’t dread being yelled at by their parents after they’d done something wrong. The only thing worse than that was getting a seemingly calm, quiet and calculated lecture.

Remember this the next time you spout off a stream of obscenities to demonstrate your anger.

 3. It’s unprofessional.

Maybe there are employers out there who prefer their colleagues’ vocabularies to be a little rough around the edges, but my bosses have never sworn around me, so until that day comes, I’ll follow their clean-mouthed lead.

 4. Swearing may not make you less intelligent, but not bothering to learn new words does.

Sure, I’ve heard some of the smartest people I know swear from time to time, and I’m pretty sure their brains don’t shrink each time they do it. What’s important, though, is that those words aren’t the most powerful ones they know.

 5. Cursing can be a sign of verbal laziness.

This isn’t to say that inherently lazy people are the only ones who swear. The truth is that curse words are verbal crutches. We often use them when we don’t feel like making the effort to conjure a more articulate word for how we feel.

If you call someone an assh*le, you probably haven’t yet specified what it is you’re really trying to say. Is this person selfish? Rude? Ignorant? Take a second to think about what you’re actually trying to convey before settling for a non-descriptive, useless word.

 6. It hasn’t been cool for a long time.

At the risk of sounding preachy, this is how I see it: Swearing doesn’t make you edgy and it doesn’t make you badass. It might have helped your “cool” factor in high school, but hopefully, we’ve all outgrown that stage of life.

What does make you edgy is finding new and innovative ways to express yourself.