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4 Tips for Balancing Your Acting Career and Relationship

Achieving any form of work-life balance is hard enough in most jobs, but it can be even more challenging as an actor. This is particularly true if you achieve any level of fame as an actor because then you also have the additional pressure of tabloids seeking to create scandal that can have a significant impact on your relationships. Unlike traditional office jobs or other types of employment, actors also have crazy, unpredictable schedules. They can be completely at loose ends for months at a time and working 80 – 100 hour weeks at others, sometimes in a far-off location. No matter what level of success you achieve, here are 4 tips for balancing your acting career and relationships. 

1. Be present

One of the most important aspects of building and maintaining good relationships is to simply be fully presentwhen you are with your significant other. Actors often have similar characters and qualities that can make it difficult for them to put away distractions and focus fully on the moment. In one sense, however, this is where acting training can actually be useful. Whether on stage or screen, actors have to be able to block out audiences or crews and “pretend” they do not exist in order to be fully present in the role they are playing on stage or screen. This is also a good exercise to practice in your relationships. 

2. Learn how to be “off”

Actors are, at heart, entertainers. They know how to dazzle a crowd and generally from a very early age, they learn that a dazzled crowd is a happy crowd. They also learn that life is just easier when the people around them are happy, so they learn how to keep the people around them happy, generally by keeping them entertained. The problem is that this creates a very false dynamic that is ultimately very damaging to both the actor and those they love. Actors need to learn how to stop feeling the need to be “on” all the time. This can, of course, be difficult and scary, but it is also the only way to develop real connection

3. Learn to be real

Another difficulty that actors face is that their life is full of masks. They are adept and slipping on one persona, then pivoting to don the next. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they can also be manipulative. If they learn that anger gets them a desires response with one person, they can quickly manufacture anger to achieve the desired response. When dealing with an empathic person, they can avoid uncomfortable discussions by feigning tiredness or emotional malaise. Much like learning to be “off”, actors must also learn to allow those close to them to not only see behind the masks, but stop using masks to manipulate. 

4. Make private time a priority

While many actors may be introverts, they also know that the success of their career is dependent on far more than just what they do on the stage or a screen. Actors like Wood Harris know the importance of being seen at social events and even of creating a certain public persona. In some cases, this public persona may include your significant other and in other cases it does not. Either way, however, an actor’s public life will have a definitive impact on their private life. Just as actors need time away from the glare of the public spotlight, so do their relationships. Even if you can spend time in public with your significant other, it is important to be diligent about carving out private time with the people who are important to you.