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4 Simple Things You Can Say to Make Your Relationship Glow

There are many ways to move closer instead of apart

I love improvisational comedy. It’s fast, it’s funny, and I’m always delighted by what the actors say. And here’s what I never hear:

  • “No, I’m busy tomorrow afternoon.”
  • “Why don’t you go? I need to do some work.”
  • “Why? That sounds dumb.”
  • <silence, and your partner doesn’t even look at you>

In Patricia Ryan Madson’s insightful book, Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up, she gives 12 rules that apply to both improv and your life. And rule 1 is “Say Yes”.

Fortunately, saying yes is something you control — and it can take many forms. You’re in improv all the time with your partner, and all you have to do is respond to your partner in some way that says “yes” instead of “no”.

You can agree:

Your partner: Wow, look at that sky!

You: Beautiful!

You can say more, but even the right word or two can do the job.

You can say something that keeps the conversation going:

Your partner: As usual, Nikola said something outrageous today.

You: Really? Come on, let’s hear it!

You can help out:

Your partner: Our son just won’t listen. I’m so frustrated right now!

You: I know what. Let’s go for a walk, and you can tell me all about it.

You can even say “yes” when you have to say no:

Your partner: Hey, what about going to a movie tonight?

You: Oh no, I have a big test tomorrow! But can we do it tomorrow?

A word or two, showing your gratitude, a soft touch to the face — all these are ways of saying yes. They’re easy to do, and they add up.

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