When you're at work, some things just look bad. Like strolling into a meeting late with a fresh coffee. Sampling from the lunches stored in the office fridge. Or dropping an F-bomb in front of senior management. In fact, that last one was once thought as so unacceptable, that a 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that over 80% of employers believed "swearing at work brings an employee's professionalism into question."
But that opinion has quickly evolved over the past few years. And study after study on this subject have all come to the same conclusion—cursing has many benefits on your professional life. Researchers at Britain's University of East Anglia found that "when used in a non-abusive manner, swearing [in the workplace] enables the development of personal relationships among coworkers." It undoubtedly helps develop and maintain solidarity among colleagues, as well as relieve stress.
The health benefits are real and come in handy during a particularly rough work day. In one study from Keele University, participants were able to keep their hand submerged in ice water for 50% longer when they were uttering curses instead of using neutral language. They also discovered frequent swearers benefit from increased circulation, elevated endorphins and an overall sense of calm, control and well-being. All just by letting a few expletives fly.
Swearing has a way of conveying feelings and opinions not captured by standard language. It makes it easier for people to make stronger connections leading to greater trust. In short, foul language makes you seem more authentic and thus, trustworthy. Similarly, people in leadership roles who curse are more likely to connect with their employees on an emotional level.
It could also help you sway someone's opinion. Multiple studies have shown that swearing can increase the effectiveness and persuasiveness of a message, especially when it is seen as a positive surprise. This seems somewhat key. No one wants to work with the guy who can't express himself without swearing up a storm. Or who doesn't understand that the older personal might take offense now and then. But a well-placed curse word can and does work wonders.
That's because by swearing, we not only communicate the meaning of a sentence, but also our emotional response to the meaning. Or as the Scientific American put it: "Taboo words hold a particular purpose in our lexicon that other words cannot as effectively accomplish: to deliver intense, succinct and directed emotional expression. So, those who swear frequently might just be more sophisticated in the linguistic resources they can draw from in order to make their point." Fuck yeah!
Research shows that children start swearing by age six.