Did you know that on average we rate people’s intelligence lower if they swear a lot? The assumption is that someone who swears often does so because they lack vocabulary, and if you combine this with the aggressive connotations of swearing too much it becomes obvious why we might think of someone who swears excessively as not being highly bright.
There are other reasons not to swear so much too, and if you currently think you might be overdoing the swearing then perhaps it’s time to start cutting it out. Here we will look at some other reasons to stop swearing, and then look at how exactly you can go about stopping it if it’s already a habit.
More Reasons Not to Swear
Swearing makes you sound less intelligent, but there are other reasons not to swear so much too. One of these is simply that many people find swearing unpleasant. If you swear a lot you are likely to upset some people in ear shot who find it offensive or who have a more timid disposition and it’s not nice to upset people if it can be avoided at any rate. At the same time if children hear you they can end up emulating that behaviour, so in general it’s nice not to swear for the sake of others. And if you take that consideration people will likely appreciate it and be more inclined to help you out in whatever way you might need.
Another reason to stop swearing is that it isn’t always appropriate. You don’t swear for instance in an interview or a business meeting and even if you might think that you should be allowed to, the simple fact of the matter is that you aren’t likely to get the job/the contract if you swear during it.
You might think it’s a simple matter to avoid swearing when you’re in those kinds of situations but actually it’s not – for most of us swearing becomes habitual and almost instinctive like a knee jerk reaction (there have been cases of stroke sufferers who can only swear due to their brain damage). At this point it becomes very difficult to talk without letting swear words slip in, so it’s better to try and remove them from your vocabulary generally so that your normal speech is suitable for a wider range of situations. Here we will look at how you can do just that.
New ‘Curse Words’
Swearing for many of us is more than just another piece of vocabulary, rather it is a way that we vent when we’re angry and release tension. When you trap your hand in a drawer or lose your pen you need to shout about it, but that doesn’t have to mean swearing.
Instead you can try using a range of different curse words as substitutes and after a while you’ll find that this can help, particularly if some of those curse words are similar to swear words or can be adapted from swear words. If you catch yourself using the F word you can quickly adapt by changing it to ‘fu-crying out loud’ and after a while you’ll start saying that automatically.
Similarly if you say ‘shit’ a lot then this can easily be swapped for ‘sugar’ while ‘bloody hell’ can be replaced with ‘blooming hell’. Remember that blasphemy is also better left out of your vocabulary – even if you’re not religious someone you’re talking to might be and this can similarly cause upset when there’s no need for it.
It’s an old and somewhat clichéd strategy, but using a swear jar actually can help you to stop swearing. Simply create a rule that every time you swear you have to put money into the jar and over time you will come to associate the act of swearing with losing money – which will help you to stop pretty quickly. The higher you make the penalty, the more money you’ll lose.
Imagining some kind of repercussion for your swearing can almost be as effective as creating one. For instance then you might find that you can reduce your swearing effectively by simply visualising that you have your younger daughter with you at all times (you don’t need to actually have a younger daughter for this to work). Try and visualise this fake companion as often as possible and then moderate your language to be suitable – you wouldn’t want her hearing your swearing.
Either way, one of the most difficult parts of giving up swearing is simply remembering that you mustn’t. Getting people to remind you to put money in a jar can help with this (and trust me – they’ll be eager to point out when you’ve slipped up), but alternatively should just ask your friends to give you a slap on the wrist when they notice.
The ‘swear jar’ is even more effective if you get everyone to take part in it. By saying that anyone who swears has to pay into the jar you can reduce the swearing in your immediate environment and thus you’ll be hearing it less. If everyone you spend time with says ‘for crying out loud’ then you will be more likely to automatically ‘reach’ for that expression when you’re looking for a way to curse. Whether you use a swear jar or not, try to encourage your friends to give up swearing with you and it will be much more effective. If you do use the jar system you can then agree to spend this on something that will benefit all of you, and that can be a nice bonus.