Michelle Yeoh’s Secret To Happiness: ‘Please Enjoy Your Own Company’

By Diana Brown

September 3, 2021

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet
Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to talking about relationships, we tend to focus our energy on romantic relationships. But friendships are often longer-lasting than many romantic relationships, and require just as much sincere love and attention to thrive. Jamie Lee Curtis explores these unique and important parts of our lives on her podcast Good Friend, sitting down with her own friends for frank and profound conversations about what it means to be a good friend. On this episode, she talks with legendary actress Michelle Yeoh about how she maintains close friendships all around the world, how the friends we’ve lost are never really gone, and the importance of having a good friendship with yourself.

When a body of work includes multiple languages, cultures, and countries like Michelle’s, it’s easy to think that she doesn’t have time for many friends. But she maintains close friendships all over the globe – her friends in Hong Kong are “my siblings,” she’s godmother to six of her friends’ kids, and she still has childhood friends from Malaysia “scattered around the world” as well. The secret is “we don’t have expectations,” she says simply. “They’re fine if I go back to Hong Kong suddenly and picked up the phone….we’d all just come together, which for me is such a blessing.” And it’s the same for her, too: “I have to respect what’s happening in their lives just like they have to respect mine,” she points out. If she leaves for awhile and comes back to conflict within her friend group, it’s important to “not take sides, not throw fuel on the fire, but just listen.” 

But traveling that much means a lot of her time is spent alone, as well, and she talks about the importance of being a good friend to yourself as much as anyone else. “Please enjoy your own company,” she says. “It starts from within…..if you aren’t a happy person, you’re never going to be able to be happy with anybody.” They also talk about the power of nature for connection, “not taking any BS,” the danger of “vampire friends,” and how important it is to give what you want to get. “If you want good vibes coming to you, we have to be the first ones to give it out,” Michelle says firmly. “We have to step up as well.” Hear their whole frank conversation about one of the most important types of relationships in our lives on Good Friend.

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