How swearing helps you make friends at work

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  • All it takes is one four letter word for lasting workplace friendships...

    Whether it’s bitching about bosses or boyfriends, there’s something very satisfying about swearing.

    And while it might raise a few eyebrows, it turns out that there’s actually good reason to be turning the air blue.

    Because while there is a time and a place, research has shown that swearing has an important social function as a way of creating bonds, easing tension and equalizing people. Prepare for some #NSFW language, that is now apparently, #SFW…

    The study documented the use of the work ‘fuck’ amongst a team in a soap factory in New Zealand. The results showed that while workers swore amongst themselves a lot, they didn’t around colleagues from other teams.

    The researchers concluded that in this context, fuck was used as an expression of solidarity ‘as if they are saying “I know you so well I can be this rude to you.”’ The message? If you want to make a lasting friendship at work, it’s time to start talking shit.

    Echoing this sentiment in his book In Praise of Profanity, author Michael Adams writes that ‘bad words are unexpectedly useful in fostering human relations because they carry risk … We like to get away with things and sometimes we do so with like-minded people.’

    And while it might not be big, it actually can be clever as studies have shown that swearing can increase the effectiveness and persuasiveness what you are trying to say. Used as a positive surprise, it’s proven to be even more useful. Throw in a swear word or two to break the ice and you might be surprised by how it gets the conversation flowing…

    So crack open that swear jar and buy you and your new work friends a drink. After all, you earned that shhhh.   

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