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Foul Language Part II

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Should I like someone who curses at my friends (even if my friends don’t always treat me as a friend)?


Steve Answers:

Last week we talked about whether it’s a good idea to be in a relationship with someone who uses foul language.

I pointed out that the person who curses would appear to lack a certain respect for the noncursing person and their values. And I don’t think it’s a good idea to be with someone who doesn’t respect you or your values.

We ended last week by saying that one way people learn to use foul language is by hanging around people who use foul language. I say that because people don’t naturally use foul language—everyone starts off as a non-foul-language person. Using foul language has to be learned.

So by hanging around your cursing friend, isn’t it at least possible that you’ll also learn to curse and pick up the habit?

Right about now some of you young people are saying, “Being around people who curse doesn’t affect me.”

With all due respect, young people, that’s just nonsense. And I believe that the devil high-fives his evil angels every time young people (and old people) say nonsensical things like that.

You are affected by those you hang around with—you absolutely are. And if you think you’re not negatively affected by being around the wrong kind of people, you’re fooling yourself.

Actually, you’re supposed to be negatively affected! When you get to the place where wrong kinds of things don’t strongly affect you, it’s because you’ve been around them for so long that they’ve become a part of you and you’ve become used to wrong.

For example, when you can walk through a sewer and you’re no longer greatly affected by the smell of sewage, it’s not because the sewage suddenly stopped stinking. It’s because you’ve spent too much time in the sewer!

Think about every slang expression you use that you think is so “cool”—or whatever the term is now. (My teenage son describes things as “cold” that I describe as “cool.” Of course, by the time you read this article, the “in” expression might have changed from “cold” to “hot”!)

Now, did you make up all those expressions that you say 1,000 times a day? Or did you get them from somebody else?

The bottom line is, you are affected by the people you hang around. So doesn’t it make sense to be careful about which people you hang around?

Next week we’ll talk about one more thing to watch out for.

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