I’d like to start off by mentioning this is a very difficult topic to have an unbiased opinion on. My goal isn’t to convince you, but instead, share both arguments and let you decide.
Is Swearing a Sign of Intelligence?
I’ve heard people quote studies that say cussing is a sign of intelligence.
Gary Vaynerchuk (known by millions on social media as “Gary Vee”) is one of the most famous entrepreneurs to promote the use of profanity. Gary has made a lot of money and created a massive following with his shock-value tone.
If a hundred public speakers give a similar speech but one guy is yelling profanity, you’ll remember the guy who’s swearing. It seems to work for Gary Vee but I’ve seen no logical proof that swearing is a sign of intelligence.
Does Cussing Make You Smarter?
If you have never said a cuss word but decide to try swearing, does your IQ automatically increase? What if you’re a brain surgeon who swears like a sailor? Do you lose your intelligence if you decide to stop using profanity?
Do People Who Refuse To Curse Have Stronger Willpower?
I made the decision a few years back to intentionally remove myself from negative situations and distance myself from negative people. In June of 2012, I decided to make a serious effort to completely remove cursing from my vocabulary.
I can tell you from experience, this was not an easy decision. It has taken a great deal of courage at times.
Stopping swearing didn’t make me less intelligent but it did make me more relatable. In a group who use profanity, I wouldn’t be excluded if I chose not to swear. In most professional situations, if I incorporated the “f-bomb” I’d probably make someone uncomfortable or unwilling to do business with me.
How Do I Want To Influence Others?
Gallant Dill recently made a comment about how the world is a rough place and profanity is used everywhere. He commented that it’s a lie to protect your kids from swearing. He said they’ll hear it when they’re away from you anyways.
If You Don’t Cuss In Front Of Your Children, Does That Make You A Liar?
Does keeping your kids from profanity hide them from the harsh reality of the “real world”? Kayla Hutton, of BestCellular.com said this about the use of profanity in front of kids.
“Why do parents need to be the ‘harsh reality’? For example: Just because there are drug addicts and alcoholics in the world, that doesn’t mean we need to be the bad influence our kids will see, right?”
Does Using Profanity Make Me Seem More Influential?
What if I said the “F-word” right now on video? Does that automatically make you think I’m more successful, smarter, or more influential? Would it increase my IQ or make me look stronger to you?
We Become What We Surround Ourselves With
A few years back, I was on a second date. We went to see a new movie release that premiered that evening. The theater was absolutely packed. We started snacking on buttery popcorn and chatting quietly until the movie started. The previews finished and the movie began. Suddenly, there was a long string of vulgar words and the star of the film used the Lord’s Name in vain.
I stood up, grabbed my jacket and told my date I wasn’t going to stay for the movie. I was nervous not only about what my date would think but also because we were in front of an absolutely packed theater. She was frustrated and embarrassed that I decided to walk out in front of the whole theater. She told me, “It’s just words!” trying to convince me to continue watching.
I expected harsh judgment from other moviegoers (especially as my date snapped at me). Then a guy in the back started slow-clapping. As I tried to slip out quietly, other people joined the clapping. Soon a number of them actually stood up and left the theater with me!
That first guy who clapped loudly gave others the courage to join in. They stood up to remove themselves from a situation where they weren’t comfortable with the profanity that was being used.
I wish I knew who the guy was because I’d love to thank him. In my date’s eyes, he transformed me from looking like a weakling who couldn’t stand a few vulgar words, to a leader who started a mini-revolution at the local movie theater.
Is The “Poverty-Of-Vocabulary” (POV) Hypothesis True?
The POV hypothesis states that people who swear regularly have a limited vocabulary. This theory suggests that people who swear are less intelligent because they don’t know other, non-offensive words.
I don’t think the use of profanity has much to do with your lack or abundance of vocabulary but instead correlates more closely with a person’s willpower.
I personally read or listen to an average of 6.4 books per month. As I learn and grow, my views and understanding of life change.
Does Cussing Make People Respect You More?
I don’t automatically think you’re an idiot if you use profanity in conversation, but I do respect those who choose non-vulgar communication when a cuss-word may have been the natural response.
If you watched two guys accidentally smash their finger with a hammer who would you respect more?
- Guy number one smashes his finger then throws the hammer, kicks a bucket over, and screams out a string of cuss words that would make a sailor blush.
- Guy number two smashes his finger and jumps up and yells, “WOW THAT HURT!!!” Grimacing in pain, jaw clenched, and gasping for air, he paces back and forth. You never hear him swear.
Who do you respect more in that situation?