The Most Interesting Person in the World

Do You Find it Hard to Accept a Compliment? How About an Insult?

Posted on: September 21, 2010

Many people (myself included) find it hard to take a compliment. That’s why it often takes people a long time to get into the “Compliments” exercise. One person initiates a scene with a compliment to the other player–could be something they’re wearing, something they did/do, their posture, or even the amazing way their nose sits on their face. The second player will then own the compliment. Not deflect it, not immediately return it, not give an insulting, “What, this old thing?” But a full-on, enthusiastic, “That’s right–I weaved this sweater myself!” You will notice an incredible energy and acceptance level for the rest of the scene.

Often this exercise is paired with one called “Insults.” Now the pair begins a scene with an insult. The second actor responds in the same way–don’t get defensive, don’t start a fight, don’t take it personally, but own it! “Yeah, I love this hump! I scare kids with it all the time! Moms love me!” Get creative. Come up with a reason the negative trait or action serves you well. Now both characters are in agreement, and the scene takes a very interesting turn from there.

I have found this technique very useful in life–so long as I can keep my temper when being attacked (especially when I know it’s coming.) You think that artists don’t contribute to society, and will never make money? Bring it–I love being poor! Beans beat steak any day of the week! I would rather liven up the soup kitchen with improv games than play alone in a gated mansion! (Off-stage Improviser: “Let’s see that!”…)

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2 Responses to "Do You Find it Hard to Accept a Compliment? How About an Insult?"

I ended up using the model that you taught me in undergrad:

“Dude! You are absolutely amazing.”
“Yes, thanks.”

I’ll have to apply that to the insult half in real life now 😀

You’re awesome, Eddie!

Thanks for reminding me… back in university, people would call me awesome all the time. And I’d be like, “You don’t have to tell me! I would’ve told you, if you hadn’t said anything.”

And back in elementary school, people would insult me all the time. And I was proud to be the annoying one, or the one with cooties. My philosophy was, “Someone has to get picked on–and better me than someone without thick skin.”

I think I just always loved attention. I didn’t care if it was good or bad–I just want to provoke enough of a reaction that made me feel like I had an impact on somebody.

And, again, you are so awesome. Thank you for this trip down memory lane. 🙂

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