As unique individuals, we have all been shaped by different experiences, and we interpret the world in different ways. We count on our friends to understand and accept those differences, and to appreciate what makes us one-of-a-kind, without judging us or turning away.

Being friends doesn’t mean you have to see eye-to-eye on everything. What might be right for you might be totally wrong for a friend, and that’s okay. What matters is that you get in the habit of talking—and listening—to each other, not just when it’s easy, but when you have something harder to say.

Wouldn’t you want your friends to tell you if you had food in your teeth? Or an embarrassing habit? Or if you hurt their feelings in some way?

Most of us agree that our “true friends” are the ones who tell us the truth—and who like it if we’re honest too. When you set aside judgment and create trust, a difference in perspective is no longer an obstacle. It’s simply a fresh perspective, one that can help us grow.

How the Pink Elephant Can Help

We all need friends to have our back when we start losing our way. And we need to be able to bring things up, without “crossing lines” that cost us friends. Try this with the friends in your top five—as a group, or one on one:

Download and print copies of the Pink Elephant Promise for you and your friends. 

Get a totem or agree on a phrase to use when invoking the Pink Elephant.

Ask if they’re okay with telling you what they see—and hearing you out, as well.

Sign each other’s copies and keep them where you can see them.

By recognizing that your friends simply have varying perspectives from your own, you can stop throwing up walls and start having more effective conversations. With practice, you’ll develop a closeness and confidence that allows you to let go of anxiety, laugh together at differences and become who you want to be.

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