Our universally agreed upon social contracts have really sparked my interest lately. How early, is too early to call a friend? How many urinals do you need as a buffer in the mens room? When is it ok to curse? Its all quite interesting, if you pause and give it some thought.
Personally, I Love Cursing
There is something so satisfying about explatives. Great Fucking Job, Mark! See how much more powerful that was? There is of course a time and place for it.
“I really love cursing a lot, but as I get older, I realize it’s a little unseemly for women of a certain age. But once you pass 65, you can hit it full tilt again and it’s charming.” – Tina Fey
Just a few nights ago I was out with my wife and son at a family restaurant. We were surrounded by kids of all ages and seemingly unsuspecting parents. When out of the corner of the bar area came a strong and clear “FUCK!”. Hearing this word ring out through the restaurant, was almost as uncomfortable as your grandpa’s pants falling down at the Thanksgiving Day table. We all decided to let it go.
On the second “FUCK!”, I became irritated and got up from my seat to confront the guy yelling. It was frustrating because I wanted him to understand that there is a time and place for cursing. If we were in a social setting, where it was acceptable, I would likely join in and let loose a gaggle of “Fucks”. This time, in this place, it had to be silenced.
When is it not ok?
- As much as I’d love to say “Fuck ya, great job Pastor, that sermon was awesome”, I rarely curse at church.
- I absolutely never curse in front of my son or other kids. If you know my son, you’ve probably heard the story where he dropped the f-bomb and on occasion mentioned someone’s “ass”. My son is like a sponge and picks up on everything.
- Anytime I’m delivering criticism
- In a fight with someone I care about
When is it ok?
- My car
- Someone else’s car
- Praising someone
- Joking with friends
- When I’m alone in the bathroom
- When I think I’m alone in the bathrooom
- When the engine won’t start on your boat and you’re 5 miles off shore
- Anything related to sports
- When you see the bill from the mechanics, dentist, wedding, etc…
Leadership Through Censorship
As much as I enjoy profanity I do my best to never use it when I’m being critical of someones work or performance. I enjoy using Fuck, Shit, Ass, Bastard, Bullshit and other terminology to enforce a positive statement, add hilarity to a situation or make a point. However once you let those words slip through your lips during a fight with a loved one, or through critical feedback, it is never fun.
These words have so much power behind them. It’s my responsibility to restrain myself from using them during these times. I’m not saying you shouldn’t deliver a powerful message when it needs to be done. I am saying:
Using the word “shit” to describe someones quality of work is disparaging. That individual will immediately shut down, become defensive, and will not be able to hear anything you’re saying.
You’re mood and connotation can have a huge effect on the delivery of a message. Just as you’re supposed to answer the phone with a smile, do your best to refrain from cursing in negative situations. You will gain a great deal more respect, and help others more effectively.