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Debra Fine special on CBS Channel 4 News. Debra Fine is a professional speaker, best selling author, conversation expert, communication guru, and a nationally recognized spokesperson.

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Beyond Texting: The Fine Art of Face-to-Face Communication for Teenagers
Offering practical advice and cheat sheets Beyond Texting strives to help teens balance their digital and real world image and relationships.

Our group of 500 participants thought you were wonderful. They loved the topic and your wonderfully energetic and amusing delivery. Many people told me we should have given you twice as much time. In the eight years that we have sponsored this conference you have proved to be our most popular luncheon speaker. The response was simply overwhelming"
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I Swear!? Is foul language okay in everyday conversation?

Posted on Thursday, August 8th, 2013



Dear Debra:

I am over a 50 year-old female. I don’t know if that matters or not, but I am often surprised by the free-flow of what once was considered foul language in every day conversation. Am I being too sensitive? I can’t believe how often I hear four-letter words, even on the radio and on TV. I don’t like it – but am I the only one?

Sincerely, If You Can’t Say Something Nice…


Dear If You Can’t Say Something Nice…:

I am a junkie for comedy and have always been impressed by the few pros able to get an audience laughing without using one foul word or tasteless joke. Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, and Ellen DeGeneres come to mind. Using foul language has become a way of life. So has high-fructose corn syrup and reality TV and texting while driving – but it doesn’t mean YOU have like it. Inappropriate language used to be reserved for emergencies – like dropping a piano on your foot or finding out someone polished off the vodka. Now, four-letter words have nestled their way into both public and private conversations. I recently heard the F –word twice while working and latte-ing at my favorite coffee joint. The culprits? Two 50-something women (I wasn’t one of them, just FYI).

I find humor to be the best medicine in this situation; many times others don’t realize they are swearing like sailors or talking like truck drivers (no offense to any of you sailors or truckers out there). If you are in the conversation, try “Yikes Beth – ! What would your mother say if she heard you talking like that?” If you overhearing a conversation in a public setting and are privy to loud, obnoxious language, a quiet (no need to embarrass or humiliate) “Whoa- ! Your four-letter words are ruining this five-dollar coffee!” or “Hey guys – that toddler over there is listening to every word.”  If you don’t feel like the offenders would take it well and you are trying to avoid a scene or – well – a trip to the ER – pop in your earphones or remove yourself form the situation entirely.  And save the eye rolls and loud sighs; they don’t work and only make you look like a teenager, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

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