Tips for Developing Close Relationships


  • “Hate is not wellness. Hate is a function and a form of illness. When you spread negativity or hate towards other people because they don’t think or feel or behave like you, that’s not adding to the positivity or the progress of the world.”
  • Are you ready to increase the depth and closeness of your relationships? In this episode, learn 4 tips on how to build stronger and healthier bonds with those in your life!
  • “A lot of mental health is letting other people live their life.”
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How to Live in Alignment with Your Best Self
4 Ways to Be More Intentional in Your Relationships
Nurturing Great Relationships
Foster and Regrow Your Energy
3 Ways to Communicate Mindfully



[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

For one thing that is really important to me, I think of wellness. Am I well? I ask what is the depth and closeness of my relationships? What’s the depth and the closeness of my relationships? So, so key. So I don’t think that you can be well if your relationships are unwell long term. I think, yes, we can all live in our own little world, in our own little bubble, but wellness is social.

The world’s healthiest and happiest people tend to be fairly social people.

It doesn’t mean they’re extroverts. They might just have one or two deep, close, intimate, friendly relationships. And those relationships really matter. Here’s my practices at home and at work for developing close relationships.

1. Don’t Expect Others to Be Like You

Number one, I do not expect other people to think or feel or experience life like me. It just isn’t there. I don’t think my team members should think like me or are like me. I don’t think that my spouse is anything like me. She has her own universe of emotions and feelings that are very different than mine. Trust me, way different. I think my family, my friends—there’s no demand that they think like me. It doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated that we don’t have a good relationship or I don’t like their communication or I don’t like something they said or I feel neglected or hurt. We all have those things. The question is, over a period of time, do you have depth and closeness in that relationship? I promise there are a ton of things.

Denise, my spouse, would say that she doesn’t like how I think or how I experience the world. And I would say the same about her. But the question isn’t do we like everything that we say? The question is, is there depth and closeness and intimacy in our relationship? And that only happens if enough times you realize the person is different than you. Different preferences, different hopes, different needs. Like I’m probably needier than my wife is, in terms of emotional stuff. That’s just the way I am. And you might be different than your spouse, your friend, your dad, your mom, someone who raised you.

And if you’re trying to cram the world with this expectation that they have to be, think, and behave exactly like you, that is where there is a ripping of that relationship.

You have to let other people have their own life. And the more you try to control their life, the more misery you have.

A lot of mental health is letting other people live their life.

Not trying to control everything. But we casually expect everybody to be exactly perfect. Oh, somebody didn’t say what you think they need to say exactly on social media, so you just jump in there with hate and you just destroy them and cancel them. What is the energetic exchange there?

2. Don’t Spread Hate and Negativity

Hate is not wellness. Hate is a function and a form of illness. When you spread negativity or hate towards other people because they don’t think or feel or behave like you, that’s not adding to the positivity or the progress of the world.

It’s not empathetic or compassionate, it’s not graceful. It’s just being mean. And who wishes more people understood this in this day and age? I just watch people. I posted about this the other day on social media, I don’t understand how people have so much time to spread hate and negativity and cancel other people. I’m like, I’m too busy building things. I’m too busy leading. I’m too busy serving other people. I don’t know where you get the time to sit there and just obliterate other people. And besides, what is that doing for your own mental health? Justifying your ego? Well, I know that might be a dramatic example, but are there ways in your life that you just expect the kids to be so perfect? And to think like you thought when you were a kid? And to treat people like you treated them? And when they don’t live up to that expectation, you feel unhappy as a parent, you feel angered as a parent.

What about at work? When you know you run your business and everything is on the line and you expect real excellence, you expect detailed perfection ’cause that’s how you are. And the team drops the ball. How many days does that upset you? I was telling people, wellness is, how much can you release? It’s like, oh my gosh, you think of all of our teams, our clients, our customers, the odds of something going incredibly wrong everyday are 100%. So every day something goes wrong. My expectation of how that would be, I’m like, let me do my release technique right now. Let me remember they don’t think like me. They haven’t been through the same things I have. They don’t have the same obligations. Of course, they’re different humans. Let me not get mad, let me adjust. Let me be flexible, let me coach, let me train, let me adapt, let me work with them to get towards where we’re trying to go, even if they have a different style.

3. Let People Do Their Own Thing

In other words, I have incredible wellness ’cause I let people do their thing. If you’ve ever worked with me or you’ve ever been to my events, or you’ve ever been backstage with me, I let people do their jam. I’m very comfortable with people living their life, being who they are. I just don’t try to put my little clamp around them and make them do what I feel they have to do. That’s why I think it’s easy for me to be around diverse people all around the world. I don’t think they need to be like me. I let them do their jam. People will say, “But don’t you have expectations of people?” Of course I do, but you can have expectations of people and not get thrown off when they continually don’t meet them. Because I also, as Maya Angelou taught, believe them the first time. If they’re a certain way, I’m like, “Oh, that’s how they are.” It’s just that recognition, that’s how they are. Cool, I don’t need to be around that. I don’t need to be around to support that. And if they’re angry and they’re upset all the time, okay, I’m not going to let that energy project on to me. How?
That release practice. Releasing the tension, releasing the energy, releasing those thoughts that are causing me to be unwell. I hope that helps you.

4. Find Out What People Love

I also think that a big secret to your advanced strategy, if you will, at home and work, is finding out what do people love? If you think about everyone around you, what do they love? Do you know? What do they love? And how can you cheer that on or support that?

Literally today, somebody, a friend of mine, reached out about a situation going on in the world that he wanted to support, and was asking me for support. And it was a cause that I don’t know that much about. But I know he loves this, and this is near and dear to his heart, and I can learn from it. And so I support it. I think all the time, like, what does my wife love? Oh, she loves that thing, she loves design, she loves that show, she loves these people, she loves this experience. Okay, okay. How can I serve that up?

Because if you serve up what other people love or you honor it, respect it, cheer it on, support it in some way — the depth of that relationship becomes tangible.

And now there’s energy there because they feel the three things everybody needs to feel. They feel understood, they feel validated, they feel celebrated to live their own life.

So if you can understand other people, if you can validate them, if you can celebrate what they like and what they love, their obsessions, versus making them have to do what you do, life is so much easier. I’ll tell you an example. Years ago, Denise and I started working together, and we had a podcast at the time, HPX Podcast. I think we did maybe like 10, 20 episodes. And it was just super clear that this was not something that she loved. And we didn’t love doing it really together the way that we thought we would. And it was like, let’s call that. So we just ended it. Didn’t worry about what people thought. Didn’t worry about the business, didn’t worry. It was not something we loved doing together so let’s not do that. There’s things that I love in my life, totally not her jam. Things that she loves, totally not my jam. But we cheer it on, we support it, and increase that depth and that closeness of relationship.

And if you don’t have that with other people, guess what? You don’t get to complain. It’s your job to have that difficult conversation. It’s your job to bring it up, to make a plan, to work through it. Even if that takes weeks or years to shift your mutual behaviors in that relationship. Don’t give up on the person just because they don’t get you because guess what? It’s not their job to get you. It’s not your job to get you. But if you want to have a graceful, deep, intimate, connected relationship, it’s now time, what do they love and how can I support that? How can I let them be their thing? Let them fly their flag, be their weirdness, and cheer them on in whatever way that makes sense because that makes them happy. What does your spouse, your partner, your coworkers love to do? In my companies, I am never like, “You have to be in this role.” I always ask, “What do you like to do? Let’s try to figure out a plan to get you more towards that.” And that’s always been my thing. Oh, you like that? Do you want to do more of that? Okay. And that makes a team feel heard and seen and recognized. And if they complain or they don’t like something, you can I shift that for them because that’s their vibe. You’ve got to figure that out.