The benefits of Improv are mysteriously never-ending. It's basically Kombucha for the soul. I know this from first hand experience. I've been a teacher and a performer of improvisation with The Second City for many years. I have seen its affects on hundreds of people.
Some of the perks are obvious; more confidence, more perspective, more Facebook friends. Others take a keener eye to observe. However, it is a science/math fact that improvisation aids in every single facet of one's life. From the professional to the personal to the deeply sensual, improv makes you better. Take for example how improv makes you a better partner.
Three improv rules come to mind when I think of a perfect romance companion.
Rule #1: Just Say Yes. Imagine the time and tears and ceramic mugs saved if your partner just said, yes. Well, improv peeps say, yes. It's in their blood, their bones and most of them have it tattooed somewhere on their body.
When you ask an improviser to deal with the raccoon colony living in the walls, they say yes. When you ask them to attend your, suspected war-criminal, grandfather's funeral, they say yes. And when you ask to see the movie about the billionaire in a wheelchair who falls for the bumbling waitress with the colourful tights, they hesitate for like four seconds and then they reluctantly say, yes.
Rule #2 is best articulated by Tina Fey. She said, "there are no mistakes in improv, only opportunities," she then hopped onto an eagle and soared to her cloud castle like a BOSS. Improvisers wear the rose coloured glasses, drink from the cup half full, live the silver lined life. If you're late to the restaurant, NBD, more time to people watch. If you scratch the Jeep while parking (again), no worries, think of the time you'll get to spend together as you learn about vehicular spacial awareness. If you get surprise pregnant, it's not a mistake, it's a miracle!
Rule #3: For the love of all the gods, listen up! It's a sad semi-truth, the longer you stay in a monogamous relationship the closer you come to full zombie status. The eyes dull, the shoulders sag and all conversations can best be described as disinterested mumblings. Then you add laptops and Netflix and smart phones to the mix and it's game over for connected conversation. I actually witnessed a man texting during his wedding vows last weekend, honestly, for the realest of reals.
Improv on the other glorious hand is one thing and one thing only, listening and reacting. Improvisers have to listen so they know where to go, what to do, how to feel. They hang off their partners every word because it has the power to lift them up or pull them down or reveal that, we've been on a space station this whole time. Suddenly, your thoughts on the season 5 finale of Scandal aren't boring or trivial. Your thoughts are powerful, they're profound, Olivia Pope would be proud.
So, let's romantically recap: dating an improviser equals an agreeable partner who believes you can do no wrong and flipping listens. Wow, I didn't even have to mention 99% of improvisers are ridiculously fit and own multiple diamonds to prove how improv really does make you a better partner.
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