In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty discusses the importance of healthy friendships, family relationships, and partnerships.

He acknowledges that the pressure of being a good friend and having good friends has increased over time. The reason is the societal shift toward smaller families and more independent living. As people rely more on their friends for emotional support, it becomes crucial to have healthy connections with others.

Jay Shetty provides tips on being a great friend in 2023, including being present, listening actively, and practicing empathy. He encourages people to reach out to their friends, even if it's just a quick message, to let them know they're thinking of them. He also recommends expressing gratitude towards friends and family for their support and being open and honest in communication.

Evolution of Friendships

Research shows at age 25, both men and women start losing their friends due to changing values, situations, and locations.1 This age marks a significant turning point, where more changes and transitions happen. Jay Shetty also notes that people used to be closer to their neighbors and have a more meaningful sense of community. However, society has become more insular, and people have become more disconnected from those around them.

Therefore, Jay Shetty encourages people to prioritize small moments of connection and intimacy with their friends and family rather than setting big goals that may distract from what they're genuinely looking for. Sometimes, despite being surrounded by people, we don't feel connected. In contrast, we may strongly connect with just a few people in other situations. By being intentional and expressing gratitude towards their friends and family, people can foster stronger connections with others, even in a society that has become increasingly disconnected.

Carry A Snack

One of the ways to be a great friend in 2023 is always to carry a snack. According to Jay Shetty, this small act can show that you care about your loved ones and make them feel thought about. He uses the example of his wife Radhi, who always carries snacks, and how it makes her a great person to be around. Jay confesses that he is not a snack person, but when he travels with her, he sneaks a bite from her snacks. Carrying something your loved ones might need, whether a tea bag or essential oil, can transform your connection with others.

Jay Shetty believes that loneliness is not caused by the absence of people in our lives but by the feeling that we are not considered. By carrying something that our loved ones might need, we can make them feel thought about in a deep, personal, and intimate way. It's a simple act that can make a huge difference in our relationships. Jay emphasizes that it's not always about sending a text message asking how someone is doing but showing that you think about them more tangibly.

Carrying a snack is not just about food; it symbolizes thoughtfulness and love. It's about being prepared to meet the needs of our loved ones and showing that we care about them. Ultimately, this small act can create a connection like no other.

Expand Your Circle

Inviting more people to the table in our relationships is another important factor. Jay Shetty explains that we should expand our friend circle and build a robust support system around ourselves and others.

Sometimes in our relationships, we get too possessive and obsess over one-on-one connections, preventing us from inviting new people into our circle. Jay suggests that if we fear losing a friendship by inviting others in, it's time to invest more in that friendship.

If we are confident in our relationship with someone but realize they need further help at different times, expanding our network and inviting new people with different perspectives can be a healthy way to avoid putting all the pressure on ourselves or our partners.

According to Jay Shetty, being a good friend or partner means making sure that our loved ones have a great support system around them. When we help others build support systems, we also create a community around ourselves. He believes inviting more people to the table is selfless and a way of making a beautiful community around us.

Furthermore, Jay Shetty highlights that we often go out of our way to research and find resources for others more than we do for ourselves. When we take on the role of helping others, we often end up finding incredible people who can become a part of our network. Therefore, inviting more people to the table can positively impact our lives and relationships.

Also, sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to be everything for our friends or partners, which can be exhausting and lead to disappointment. Understanding that real support also means helping someone build their support system is crucial. We should not over-give or over-expect in our relationships.

Ongoing Investment In The Relationship

A study conducted by MIT researchers analyzed friendship ties and the "perception gap" in individuals aged 23 to 38.2 The subjects were asked to rank how close they were with each person in their management class on a scale of zero to five, with zero representing not knowing the person and five representing a close friend. The study found that 94% of people expected their rankings to be reciprocated, but only 53% were.

People may feel closer to others than they are for various reasons, such as having different definitions of friendship or distance due to lack of communication. However, Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of investing in friendships rather than just making deposits by reaching out and asking for help without offering support in return.

Jay Shetty encourages the audience to reflect on their five closest friends, colleagues, family, and partners and ask themselves when they last invested in that companionship. If you haven't invested in a friendship in a long time, it may be time to reassess the relationship and make an effort to invest in it.

Not addressing friendship issues can be compared to mold developing in a house. Deterioration and disintegration often goes unnoticed until it is too late. Therefore, Jay Shetty encourages open communication and speaking up about feelings rather than hiding them. By doing so, you avoid emotional instability and a long-term impact on the relationship.

Try Out New Things Together

Engaging in activities together actively builds relationships and keeps them alive and active. Conversely, doing passive things together can lead to a more tolerant relationship. Hence, Jay Shetty suggests trying new experiences, such as taking a dance or salsa class, going to an animal sanctuary or a local getaway, trying a food-making class, or going on an assault course in the trees. By doing new things together, friends can learn more about each other and be fascinated by each other.

Often people will get together in ways that don't create intimacy, such as going to a restaurant or a movie. These activities don't build a sense of learning or doing something new together. Instead, Jay Shetty encourages people to be active and try new things. He highlights that most of the time people spend with their closest friends, partners, and families is passive, such as being on their phones during dinner or in the car. Of course, it's okay to have something to talk about only some of the time. Still, it can be challenging when passive activities become a recurring pattern.

Making Memories

Jay Shetty suggests a unique way to strengthen relationships by revisiting old memories with loved ones. He recommends taking a trip down memory lane and reliving special memories. Jay admits that he doesn't usually promote nostalgia as it can keep us in the past, but revisiting old memories can be a beautiful way to strengthen essential relationships.

You can take a friend or loved one to physically visit a place with special memories for both of you. For instance, visit your school, a nightclub, or any other site that reminds you of your time together. It's not just about talking about memories but going to the physical place to relive them.

Strengthening relationships requires active effort and doing things together that build intimacy and a sense of learning. Jay Shetty suggests also trying out new activities together, such as trying unknown foods, taking dance or pottery classes, going on a bike ride, or visiting an animal sanctuary. When you do passive things together, your relationship becomes more lethargic. Still, active things build a sense of aliveness and togetherness.


Another way to be a great friend is to practice active listening. So many times when we're listening to someone, we're not listening. Still, instead, we're thinking about what we'll say next, or we're getting distracted by something else. Jay Shetty cites a study that shows that we only remember about 25% of what we hear.3 That means that when talking to someone, they will likely only remember a small portion of what we say.

To combat this, it is beneficial to practice active listening. This happens when we fully concentrate on what someone is saying, understand their message, and respond thoughtfully. Active listening means giving full attention to the person speaking without interrupting them or thinking about our response. This way, we show and respect the other person we care about their words. It also allows us to understand their perspective better and communicate more effectively.

Furthermore, Jay Shetty suggests using body language to show we're actively listening. This means making eye contact, nodding, and using facial expressions to show that we're engaged in the conversation.

Being A Great Friend

Building and maintaining relationships is as important today as ever. They are at the core of everything we do. Therefore, it is essential to make a conscious effort to build relationships alongside their work and purpose. Following Jay Shetty's six suggestions in this episode, you can get closer to being the great friend you've always wanted to be.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “6 Ways to Be A Great Friend & Build Meaningful Relationships in 2023” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

1Bhattacharya K, Ghosh A, Monsivais D, Dunbar RI, Kaski K. Sex differences in social focus across the life cycle in humans. R Soc Open Sci. 2016 Apr 6;3(4):160097. doi: 10.1098/rsos.160097. PMID: 27152223; PMCID: PMC4852646.
2Almaatouq, A., Radaelli, L., Pentland, A., & Shmueli, E. (2016). Are You Your Friends’ Friend? Poor Perception of Friendship Ties Limits the Ability to Promote Behavioral Change. PloS one, 11(3), e0151588. Chicago
3Nichols, R. G., & Stevens, L. A. Listening to People. Harvard Business Review, (Issue 57507 of Harvard business review reprint series).

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