The bell rang on Friday afternoon, and everyone quickly filed out of the school. Finally, my school week was over, and it was time to have some fun with my friends. We threw our backpacks into the trunk of my car and hopped in.

I was the first of my group of friends to have access to a car, so I was usually the driver. I was also the only Latter-day Saint in the group and, even though I had good friends, their standards were sometimes different from mine.

As we drove that day, my friends used swear words to dress up their stories. As in times past, it bothered me. So I thought about how I could cut down on the swearing and make the language of our group better. I knew my friends were aware and respectful of my values, but would they get mad if I expected them to uphold one of those values? I decided to try an idea.

“Hey, I’m trying out this new rule in my car where there’s no swearing allowed,” I said. They all gave me funny looks, but they went along with it. The result was amazing! Our conversations were hilarious because, instead of using swear words to express strong emotions, everyone found funnier ways to say things. It made our experiences in the car so much more enjoyable, and our friendships were strengthened as we kept the rule during car rides together.

I was so glad my friends were receptive to that no-swearing rule and were willing to uphold it in my car. It made me feel good to know I could stand up for my values and have my friends respect them. Best of all, it really made a difference in our friendships and helped us all to better appreciate the effects good language can have on people’s lives.

[illustration] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki

Kristen Sucher is a member of the BYU 129th Ward, Brigham Young University Seventh Stake.