“Uhh, you are doing improv, aren’t you? So you have learn how to be funny, then?”
I have heard that question a thousand times and the answer is pretty simple: Improv has not made me funnier in any way, but it has enhanced many aspects of my life. Today I want to share with you ways that improv improve my relationships.
Disclaimer: This post is a transcription of my my youtube video. I recorded myself to improve my diction, and as part of the exercise I used a tool to transcribe the audio to find where I did not enunciate. This way I can also add the things I missed on the video. I am also conscious about my accent and I care about this message; so I wanted to make it more accessible by writing it down (although I tried to keep the same voice by barely editing it).
It is easier to mingle
With improv, I have an easier time now when I am mingling with people. Meeting someone new on a social environment feels like starting a new scene. I have to understand what are their characters and what are the games they like to play. Then I can decide if I want to play them to make a nice interaction.
For example, maybe they really enjoy making jokes and I can play along with that. Or maybe they love talking about politics.
One of the skills that improves my life is being able to identify which social games people play. I am not planning on becoming Having more information it is always better, even if you I have no intention on playing their games!
Heighten a friend’s struggle
When a friend comes with a problem, I have the decision. Shall I try to help them solve it? Focus on empathizing with them? Or use techniques from improv and feed a little bit into the dynamic making the situation more and more absurd until they just become funny and it is easier to find a solution?
It really feels like a game of heightening, and personally it has helped me a lot in many relationships. When someone treats me this way, I feel heard while still embracing the silliness of some situations. I don’t always get mad at things that are that logical!.
Push and pull
On a similar note, we can apply push and pull techniques when we are talking about a touchy subject. Learning this from the backline helped me understand how important is on scenes to build and release tension, as well as to change from the game to the plot.
While talking about a touchy matter with a friend, is really important to understand when is the moment to release tension and when I should focus on the connection. Personally, I make the mistake of joking too much, so push and pull really improved my interactions with my friends. My friends usually praise how comfortable they feel while sharing their struggles, so it might actually work!
This lesson is something that you learned really early in your improv journey: discovering how easy is to create intimacy with anyone.
You will going to learn from everyone and it is easy to build a connection and feel comfortable if you are invest on your partner and on what they are saying.
I used to be really awkward in social situations when didn’t know anyone, and now I understand how to build a connection with someone even if you don’t have that much in common. This is something that I have trained myself though so many scenes!
The organic opening
The last lesson I want to focus on involved one of the weirdest (or at least one that I struggle with) concept of improv, the organic opening. It is something that I am still learning to master, but there is an aspect of my life where the organic opening is having a huge impact: my intimacy.
This is a tricky subject so I will not get into details! Many times, when I have intimacy with my partner, it really feels like an organic company. They are doing a move, you are doing a move. If you only respond with the same move (without adding the extra step, or anding) you might get into a place that feels a little bit awkward, because it is not going into any direction!
As in improv, it is really important that you read your partner and realize that they truly want to do this! But, besides that, when you are in an intimate moment and you are only your partner without heightening their moves or the situation, it can get really awkward and stale.
If you only mirror what your scene partners are doing during an organic opening, you can face a similar problem. This something that I felt both during dates or with an actual partner (when we are getting into the funny stuff), and it has helped me to realise the importance of organic openings. They are such an interesting tool, and they will make me a better lover!
Another point that we struggle with during our organic opening is to realise when is it ending. And this is something that can also translate into intimacy! It can get really confusing to find an ending without the physical act of ending…
What about you?
These are some of the lessons from improv that has affected my relationship. In the future, I want to explore how improv has affected other aspects of my life, like work or other hobbies.
But I really two write this post explaining that maybe Improv hasn’t made me any funnier, but for sure it has made me a better person.
But I wonder, which are the lessons that you have learnt from improv that translated into other parts of your life?