Dear Riley: Profanity Struggles


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Dear Riley,

I have a strong aversion to profanity, but I’ve noticed myself using it more often than just an occasional, “oops!” I know many of the words from students in the hallway at school, but that doesn’t mean I like hearing or saying them. I know several of my closest friends at school use it frequently, but they “censor” our conversations or don’t even say those words when they’re around me. However, one of my friends, let’s call him Eli, will use some words I disapprove of. I’m wondering if I should talk to this friend or stay away so I don’t start using words that I’m uncomfortable using?


Always Mouthing


Dear Always Mouthing

I totally get where you are coming from. As we grow up, more and more people around us will be comfortable with using profanity. No matter how much teachers say not to, people will still curse and that’s their decision that they are entitled to as long as they don’t hurt someone in the process. In this case, if you are uncomfortable with the amount of profanity being used, just ask to dial it down a bit. Trust me, I know it can become unsettling once the f-bomb has been dropped more than three times in one conversation. Most people will understand that cursing isn’t for everyone and they’ll try to stop. 

Now for Eli, I wouldn’t distance yourself from a friend because of something as minor as a few words. Talk to him, and if he’s a real friend, he’ll try to make you comfortable and make an effort to stop. If he doesn’t understand, try to tune out the curse words. I know that’s easier said than done, but with a bit of practice, it really does help. 

If you still find yourself slipping up, try coming up with some replacement words. For example, I use the term holy snickerdoodles a lot whenever I express anger (or any emotion for that matter). Words are parts of our personalities and if you use baked goods to express anger, you do that. Just whatever you do, don’t say bleep. That’s both confusing and strange.

Bacon bits, my cookies are burning,