John Gottman, a renowned relationship researcher, identifies that a bid is how we tell someone that we want attention in our relationship. A bid can be verbal, such as, “I need to talk,” or “can we plan some quality time?” Bids can also be non-verbal such as giving a hug or coming and sitting next to them. When making a bid for connection, it can be helpful to identify and be clear on what you needing in the moment. It can also be helpful to time your bid so that person can be present to receive it (for example: not making a bid when your partner is concentrating on working).
Gottman goes on to state that there are three fundamental ways you can respond to a bid for connection:
1. Turn Towards – This is how you show your loved one that you accepting their bid.
Examples of Turning Towards a bid:
- “I’d love to spend time with you!”
- “Thanks for the hug, I really needed that!”
- Or as simple as saying, “yes!”
2. Turn Away – This is when you signal that you are neither accepting or rejecting their bid.
Examples of Turning Away from a bid:
- “Not right now.”
- “I’m busy”
- “Ask again later.”
- Moving away as they come in for a hug
3. Turn Against – This is when you reject their bid for connection.
Examples of Turning Against a bid:
- “No, I can’t believe you’d ask me that.”
- Walking away without responding
- “I can’t listen to you, can’t you go bother someone else.”
One last note about making and responding to bids, is that the more we turn towards bids, the more likely we are to receive them. The more bids there are in a relationship the more opportunities to grow and strengthen your relationship. The more we turn away or turn against bids the fewer bids you are likely to receive. Fewer bids equals less opportunity to connect.
What is a bid for connection that you could make today?
If you would like to learn more about John Gottman and bids, I recommend picking up a copy of “The Relationship Cure.”