Swearing Etiquette 101 – If You Must

When it comes to swearing the answer should be obvious, just don’t do it. But let’s be realistic, although we’re ladies, we’re modern ladies. And modern ladies can do whatever the f*ck they want. Right? Eh, yes and no…

Being a confident, modern lady is about knowing who you are and how you want to be portrayed. If this includes the occasional swear word then so be it. However, as with all etiquette it’s about making those around you feel comfortable. As this is the case then it’s imperative to consider multiple factors, the most important being time, place, company, and image.


If you do choose to swear then always consider timing. If you’re in the middle of a sensitive or serious conversation then it may be wise to lay off the curse words for the time being. Even if you’ve previously been letting them slip you must always sense where the conversation is headed and think about how your words will make the other party feel. For example if they are telling you about their terminally ill mother, it’s probably best to leave out any expletives when showing your remorse. You may typically use a certain language with said person, but sometimes timing precedes the company you’re in.


Place is another big determining factor. I don’t care who you are some words are never appropriate in certain places. Think places of worship, important ceremonies, business meetings, anywhere there are children in earshot. It’s not only about offending specific people, but offending the overall atmosphere. Again you may be used to using certain language in the company of certain people, but if you are with these people at let’s say a wedding ceremony, it’s disrespectful to revert to your standard vocabulary.


All of our relationships are unique and as such so should the language we use with each person or group of people. Your coworkers are not the same as your friends. Your boss not the same as your housekeeper. Your grandmother not the same as your husband. The point is you should be aware of whom you’re speaking with, the nature of your relationship and how you wish to appear to them. When it comes to strangers or people you may have just met I would keep your words clean until you get to know them better and are sure of their disposition.


Just as you want to make those around you comfortable you should also strive to make yourself comfortable. If the occasional swear word helps you to relieve stress or anger then let it fly. However, be aware of falling into the habit just because those around you are swearing. You need to seriously think about the image you want to portray. This needn’t be a black and white, once you commit you can never take it back, type of thing. It’s more about making a decision about which words you feel best represent you and gently reminding yourself to stick to or refrain from using these words. I’m guessing if you’re on this site you’re interested in cultivating a certain demeanor, one that is sophisticated, elegant and kindly. If that’s the case then I recommend if you do swear do so occasionally and keep it confined to close friends. Avoid using such language in public where strangers or distant acquaintances can overhear.


So to wrap up, it’s not totally necessary to ban swearing all together, but if you wish to be polite consider how it affects those around you. If for any reason you’re unsure if it will offend, then refrain from using such words. In these cases it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

HOMEWORK: Now that you’ve read the f*cking lesson, let me know how you feel about swearing? Is it something you consider completely unladylike or is the occasional slip acceptable?

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