Personality Types Theory and Research Articles

Casual Swearing by Personality Type

3 years ago 9 comments

Some people find swearing so repugnant that they refuse to do it at all – or perhaps only in extreme circumstances, such as immediately after slamming their hand in a car door – but others have a different opinion. Some people find swear words to be no more exceptional than any other, and they may use them liberally to pepper even the most everyday speech.

Either way, the rejection or embrace of casual swearing is seen by many people as a reflection of one’s underlying character. But it could also be linked to particular personality traits[1].

To examine this, we asked our readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “You often use swear words in casual conversations.” There wasn’t much of a difference between some personality trait pairings, such as Extraverts and Introverts (58% and 54% agreeing, respectively). But there was a clear disparity between others, such as Prospecting and Judging (63% vs. 49%) and Intuitive and Observant (61% vs. 49%).

Which personality types are the most comfortable with casual profanity? We take a look at the question below:

Agreement with “You often use swear words in casual conversations.”

Roles

Agreement with “You often use swear words in casual conversations.”

Analysts (68% agreeing)

A majority of Analysts said that they often swear in casual circumstances. Stubbornly independent, and even a little abrasive, Analysts tend to care little for how others view their actions. What matters is results. It could be that this disdain extends to their use of profane language, and these personality types might chafe at the efforts of others to censor them in their use of it.

Turbulent Commanders (ENTJ-T) and Debaters (ENTP-T) agreed most with the statement (74%), followed closely by Turbulent Logicians (INTP-T) (73%). These are all forceful, ambitious types, in their own ways, and they’ll “be damned” if some social taboo is going to stop them from saying what needs to be said.

Diplomats and Explorers (58% and 57%)

Diplomats and Explorers had an almost identical response to the statement. One might think that Diplomats would fear offending others by using off-color language. However, some Diplomats may feel that the casual use of profanity may actually create stronger bonds with people, who may view the speaker as less guarded and more genuine[2].

Explorers, for their part, may simply have a more extemporaneous take on the use of swear words, dropping a few here and there as the situation calls for it and as the spirit moves them. Turbulent Entrepreneurs (ESTP-T) were right alongside the top Analysts in agreeing with the statement (73%). These personalities share many qualities with Analysts, but with a much more frank attitude that has them using whatever tool gets the point across fastest.

Sentinels (44%)

Less than half of Sentinels agreed with the statement “You often use swear words in casual conversations.” Because profanity is often a departure (if not an outright breach) of social norms and propriety, it would follow that Sentinels, whose priority is typically to adhere to such norms as closely as possible, might take issue with casual swearing.

Assertive Defenders (ISFJ-A) were the agreed least often with the statement (32%). These gentle but determined individuals believe strongly in protecting those they love from evil, including social taboos. Though, being a part of the only Role agreeing in the minority, they may have to reconsider just what the social norms are!

Strategies

Agreement with “You often use swear words in casual conversations.”

Social Engagement (65% agreeing)

Most of those with the Social Engagement Strategy agreed that casual swearing was a common feature of their speech. Although cursing might not always be in their best interests, Social Engagers may have a more difficult time holding their tongues than most. In other words, the stress of proving themselves in social situations may occasionally cause these personality types to let loose with a choice phrase or two, even if they find themselves apologizing for their rashness later.

Constant Improvement (58%)

Well over half of respondents with the Constant Improvement Strategy agreed that they often used swear words when speaking. While their perfectionism and need to not “say the wrong thing” may silence them at times, Constant Improvers (much like Social Engagers) may have a propensity for letting a few curse words slip as a sort of release valve for the pressures they feel in conversation[2].

People Mastery (51%)

The People Mastery Strategy was evenly split on the question of profanity. This division could be interpreted as a function of their ease in social situations – they have nothing to prove. It is unlikely that these personality types will feel any need to use swear words for impact, instead relying on their aura of confidence to drive things home. If People Masters curse at all, it is because they are comfortable, and feel no need to hold back with a particular person or group.

Confident Individualism (46%)

Of the four strategies, Confident Individualism was least likely to agree that they tend to swear readily in casual conversations. Like People Masters, Confident Individualists may not be particularly averse to swearing, but neither are they drawn to it. While they might prefer at times to refrain from cursing, they do not feel any social pressure to censor their language. If nothing else, with smaller social circles to draw on, they simply have fewer opportunities to develop the habit.

Conclusions

If we look at swearing as the breaking down of a linguistic filter – as appears to be the case when we see someone who ordinarily never curses making a sudden, shocking exception – then the absence of such a filter in casual talk may speak volumes.

In some cases, casual swearing may be an indication of a person’s lack of guile; they may prefer to speak forthrightly, even crudely, to get their point across in the most direct manner possible. It may be that maintaining such a conversational filter is one stress too many for those who always feel a certain level of unease in social situations, even at their most casual. Either way, the use of swear words may imply a great deal about who we are, even setting aside considerations of societal taboos or the propriety of cursing.

Do you use swear words in casual conversations? How do you determine when swearing is appropriate (if you do)? Let us know (without the swears, please!) in the comments below!

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, in the Academy. If you have a minute to help us with our research, check out our Member Surveys.

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