Swearing Probably Won't Help You Get Over Your Breakup

Do you remember being an undergrad and doing research studies for beer money? I do. Those were the best days of my life.


Somewhat related, a network morning news show covered a new study and concluded that cursing can help with a broken heart. But this study of undergraduates had lots of moving pieces, and after reading it, I’m not sure you should go talking about your “fucking breakup” in the office.

The truth of it is that you can’t take single science studies as gospel. You need to look at them with the proper amount of skepticism, especially ones with exciting conclusions and but several simultaneous hypotheses. We’re not knocking the scientists—we just want to make sure you have the right information.

So here’s this week’s Shit Advice From Your Newsfeed! It’s not Shit Advice of the Week anymore, because this advice came out last week. Saying the word “Shit” three times in this paragraph is not helping me deal with emotional distress. But maybe that’s because my distress is mainly existential

Former Gizmodo physics writer and founder of Birdmodo, now a science communicator specializing in quantum computing and birds


For anyone wondering, the paper under discussion here is Philipp and Lombardo (2017). It’s not an open access paper but there are a few open preprint manuscript copies out there for download, like this one.

The results demonstrate that verbal swearing may reduce feelings of pain associated with social distress.