Does swearing mean you’re unintelligent?

I don’t typically think about how often I swear. However, recently a friend of mine commented on it. “You’re better than that,” he said. It bothered me. While he didn’t know it, he basically just said, “I’m better than you. Be more like me.” Dick move. I don’t begrudge my friend. He didn’t really think about what he was saying. In fact, it turns out he was repeating something someone had told him. I’m sure it was meant to be a pep talk. A motivator for me to strive to be a better person. But it wasn’t. It was a judgment.

Not more than a week later I was engaged in a conversation in which someone told me that he or she viewed people who swear as less intelligent. This flipped my pancake. Once again, with a smidgen of subtlety, someone insulted me to my face.

“I swear. Do you think I’m unintelligent?” Turns out she did. The finer point was that cursing makes you sound unintelligent. It doesn’t matter whether you are; the perception is there.

To me, this judgment is narrow-minded. Swearing should have no bearing on the perception of one’s intelligence. But it does. I realize I can do little to influence people’s perception of this. But since there are dozens of blogs out there telling us to stop swearing, it only seemed fitting to have a counterpoint.

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