16 December, 2016

My Stand on Profanity

I have a group on Facebook for Cardinals fans, and one of the few rules I have is that we talk civilly toward one another and that profanity is kept to a bare minimum. As I state in my rules, "dropping the 'f-bomb' is a quick ticket out of the group. I simply will not put up with it. People argue all the time that they are "adults" and "can use whatever language they choose". True... but NOT in MY group. Go somewhere else. Most of the nearly 6000 members of my group have expressed their gratitude toward me for keeping the site clean. But every now and then someone comes along who insists they have the right to challenge my rules and use foul language. That's why there are 70 something people who are blocked from my group permanently. Speak how you want... but not in my house. 
This issue came up again and the dude blocked is having a cow, messaging me and telling me that I'm a dictator, along with a lot of other names I won't repeat. For his benefit, as well as for anyone else who wants to know, I am going to share here for everyone just what my humble opinion is concerning the use of foul language. 
I believe that there is absolutely no value whatsoever in coloring your communication, whether spoken or written, with expletives. It is my opinion that the use of profanity typically boils down to an individual being guilty of having one or more of the following flaws:
  1. Lack of Intelligence: The English language offers us the choice of so many wonderful adjectives, analogies, abilities to paint word pictures and to use a variety of other descriptors, such that there is no need to substitute with expletives. The insertion of a four letter word for “emphasis” usually only points out the speaker lacks command of his/her vocabulary. Nothing flashes “stupid” like the use of profanity. Word of advice... Don’t make the mistake of appearing to be uneducated if you’re not.
  2. Laziness: We have all met bright people who swear. This usually means they either think they’re smarter than everyone else so people will put up with their use of profanity, or they have just fallen into a rut and are too lazy to work on improving their verbal communication skills. 
  3. Poor Anger Management: People who are not quick on their feet, or do not possess adequate conflict resolution skills, often revert to profanity as a safety net of sorts. If all else fails, people who fall into this category resort to attempting to intimidate the other party with the use of profanity (see # 4 below). People identified as having anger management issues typically don’t reach their full potential without learning better skills. 
  4. Insecurity: People who lack confidence in themselves and/or their abilities often try to bolster other people’s perception of them by using off-color language as an attempt to feign strength and power. Here’s a tip…it doesn’t work. Profanity won’t intimidate anyone (at least not any worthy opponent), and will likely only lessen your image with the audience you are so desperately trying to impress.
  5. Socially Inappropriate Behavior: The show-off, ego-maniac, substance abuser, the female trying to be “one of the boys” or the wannabe comedian are all examples of socially inappropriate behavior, which often times results in the use of profanity. Nobody likes a show-off, substance abuse is never a good thing, most people don’t find it appealing to associate with women who curse like the proverbial drunken sailor, and inappropriate jokes are more likely to get you a sexual harassment charge than a laugh. Even if you do elicit a brief chuckle from your audience, they will likely not be left with the impression you were hoping for. Here’s a clue for you: “when in doubt, remember vulgarity doesn’t add value.”
Bottom line…few things make an impact, or lack thereof, like the words you allow to flow from your lips. 
Regardless of your station in life, vocabulary absolutely matters… It matters to an even greater degree for those who desire to influence others or be in a position of leadership.