By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training

It seems as though many families have words they don’t like their kids to use. Forbid them! (Anyone wash their mouth out with soap anymore?)

Certainly the ‘dirty’ 4 letter words are first and foremost in many families. And with good reason. While admittedly they can pack a punch in telling a story, and might even get a laugh, it’s not nice. I liken that to Jerry Seinfeld who keeps a clean show and packs the house. As does Harry Connick Jr. and many others. Andrew Dice Clay may be funny at times, but loses its punch after so many dirty words.

But it appears there are lots of dirty words that have more than 4 letters in them. And while they’re not really DIRTY – DIRTY they are bad – wrong – hurtful.

Here are a few:

* Stupid. This is not a nice word to say to someone. If you don’t like an idea someone has, you can simply say, “I’m not impressed with your idea.” Or “You’ve had better ideas than that.” Something to that effect. You don’t need to tell someone it’s a STUPID idea. Or worse, labeling someone: “You’re stupid!” Or “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Stupid isn’t a nice word.

* Shut up. OMG. I was never allowed to say those words in my father’s house and, subsequently, never said them in my own house and now my kid’s don’t say them in their house. I didn’t even like to write them here. Having never said those words … ever … that’s right, never; they are to me, worse than dropping the “F” bomb. They’re not nice words.

* I don’t care. Bet you do. When I hear someone say those words, I worry. I worry because 9 out of 10 times it’s not the truth. Most people care. Choosing a restaurant? “Let’s go to the Blue Oak, okay?” “I don’t care” isn’t an answer. The ‘I don’t care’ person is usually the one who complains because they went somewhere they didn’t like. Why didn’t they say something when they had the chance? We all have choices. I don’t care isn’t a kind thing to say. Down deep, we all care. If even just a little bit.

* I hate… It’s ok to hate cancer, hate wars, hate criminals, but to ‘hate’ in general, it’s a very harsh word. Soften it with “I don’t enjoy exercise” or “It bothers me when you crack your knuckles” or “I didn’t like that picture.” HATE is way too strong a word for generalities.

What are your dirty words? Please, no 4 letter ones, but words that can and do offend, in your opinion.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.