Have you ever just stopped hanging out with a friend because they said a lot of swear words whenever you were around them? It’s understandable. You see that behavior as a kind of trashy and unbecoming of a mature individual. And you wouldn’t really want to be associated with someone who has a foul mouth, right? Well, science might convince you otherwise. Studies have shown that people who swear a lot might actually be the best friends you could ever have.
Why is that so? Well, let’s dive deeper into the matter, shall we?
As kids, you are always told that you need to stay away from saying such curse words because you would be deemed as either rude or offensive. A lot of people think that people who regularly use foul language only resort to doing so because they are uneducated and have a poor vocabulary. Therefore, these people are limited in terms of effective and mature communication.
But science has a very different view of the matter.
A professor of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts named Timothy Jay and a noted psychologist of Marist College, Kristin Joy, spearheaded a study that looked into the correlation between intelligence and curse words. What they found is that the likelihood of a person to make use of a cuss word isn’t necessarily going to be a sign of verbal illiteracy or rudeness.
In fact, the studies showed otherwise. The ability to generate witty curse words is closely associated with having an expansive vocabulary and a high level of fluency in communication.
“People who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately. The ability to make nuanced distinction indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge,” wrote the researchers.
One other reason why people with foul mouths would just make better friends overall is that they tend to be more sincere and genuine. In one particular study that was led by researchers from Stanford, the University of Cambridge, Hong Kong University of Science, and Maastricht University, they found that “a higher rate of profanity use was associated with more honesty.” So, as it turns out, you have a lot more reason to trust and believe that friend of yours who is always cussing. They have a tendency to say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t mince their words at all.
It would make sense because they aren’t particularly afraid of offending anyone with their words at all. Their liberal use of language means that they just plain like to call things as they see it.
The leaders of the study looked into the correlation between honesty and the use of profanity in three different studies.
In the first study, participants were asked to write down their most favorite and most commonly used curse words along with how often they might use them. Next, the researchers scanned almost 74,000 participants’ Facebook profiles and looked into whether they were liberal with the use of profanity or not. They also delved into the level of honesty in the status updates that were penned by the participants as well. And lastly, the researchers utilized previous data to analyze the use of curse words and the levels of integrity in every single U.S. state.
At the end of it all, the researchers were able to conclude that there was indeed a positive relationship between honesty and the use of profanity. “Profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level and with higher integrity at the society level.”
Lastly, the psychologists also said that people who tend to use cuss words a lot more are also those who are more comfortable when it comes to expressing their feelings and emotions. This is in contrast to people who avoid curse words and who tend to beat around the bush when they try to get something off their chest.
So, the next time you judge a friend who starts cursing like a sailor, try to think back on this article – and how that person might be the most trustworthy individual you will ever meet.