Science has spoken. Potty mouths make better friends than those who don’t swear, and all I can say is:
Because of course we do. Sorry, Grandma Jean; apparently cussing isn’t so bad after all.
A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge, Maastricht University, Hong Kong University and Stanford University discovered that people who swear are less likely to lie and deceive, thereby making them more honest (and better friends).
The study was made up of 3 parts exploring the relationship between profanity and honesty. Firstly, a questionnaire was given to 276 participants, asking them to list their most commonly used and favorite cuss words. The subjects were also asked to detail how often they use them and under what circumstances. Next, researchers recruited 73,789 Facebook users and assessed the honesty of their online status updates based on the language and word choices they used. Finally, researchers looked at the correlation between U.S. state-level use of profanity and U.S. state-level integrity.
The results? In all three cases, profanity was positively correlated with honesty, at the individual and societal level. The researchers concluded:
We found a consistent positive relationship between profanity and honesty; profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level and with higher integrity at the society level.
I don’t need science to tell me that my best friends are the ones who swear. I already know it to be true. They are the straight shooters, the ones capable of telling me the hard truths. The ones I KNOW will tell me when I have spinach stuck in my teeth or that orange really isn’t my color. They are the ones not tightly bound by social norms, not inhibited by what everyone else is doing or saying. They are not afraid to tell it like it is. There is no sugar-coating, no coddling, no hiding, no second-guessing. Just real, in-your-face, raw and unfiltered genuine opinions, thoughts, and feelings. They are the ones who will gladly give me a reality check and whap me upside the head with a “WTF?” when I need it. And they also happen to be funny as hell.
My best friend? The one I can bare my soul to? The one I can tell all my deepest secrets to, knowing she won’t judge me even if we don’t always agree? She could, hands down, win a competition against any trash-talking trucker. But she could also win for being the most empathetic, kind, supportive, loyal, ride-or-die friend ever. She is the Louise to my Thelma. And she’ll never let me go out in public looking like a pumpkin. That’s true friendship.
Sweary people aren’t just honest AF, though. Oh no. We also have more integrity, bond with our co-workers, and are generally happier people than people who don’t swear. And don’t worry about us letting it rip in front of your great-aunt Josephine or damaging the ears of your innocent children. We have also been scientifically proven to have greater intelligence, so clearly, we KNOW when it’s appropriate to drop an F-bomb and when it’s not. That’s right, fellow foul-mouthers: we’re smart, too.
In addition, there are numerous health benefits associated with swearing as well. It increases circulation, helps relieve stress, improves your resiliency and physical strength, elevates endorphins, and contributes to an overall sense of calm and well-being. Nama-fucking-ste.
Look, I love to swear. I do. Swear words convey emotions other words just can’t. You can keep your “Fudge” and “Truck” and “Shoot.” I’ll stick with fuck and shit, thankyouverymuch. “Fudge” just doesn’t cut it when your toddler draws all over your sofa with permanent marker. “Shoot” is less than satisfying when the dog dumps a steaming pile of diarrhea on your cream carpet. Puh-lease. They don’t have shit on, well, shit. And when you step on that LEGO? Swearing helps with pain. Again, science.
I also happen to be a fucking fantastic friend.
Not a swearer? You might want to reconsider. And next time you’re at the PTA meeting and you hear a fellow mom letting the profanities fly, don’t be offended. Instead, say hello. She may turn out to be your best friend yet.