You and your partner are sitting together in the living room. Your partner turns to you and says, “Hey, I had a really tough day at work today.”
How do you respond?
This may have been a bid for connection.
In the world of couples, there’s a simple yet incredibly impactful concept known as “Bids for Connection.” This idea, pioneered by renowned couples therapists John and Julie Gottman, plays a pivotal role in building and enhancing strong relationships. Let’s take a closer look at why these small acts of connection are so crucial for couples.
Understanding Bids for Connection
Imagine those moments when your partner smiles at you, shares their thoughts, or seeks your support. These are what we call Bids for Connection. They’re the subtle and not-so-subtle ways we try to connect with our significant other, whether it’s through a warm touch, a question, or a shared laugh.
Miscommunication and missed bids can have quite a significant impact on a relationship. It can create emotional distance. So when bids are misinterpreted or overlooked, it can leave a person feeling ignored, unimportant, rejected. That can lead to a sense of disconnection and isolation.
Why Bids for Connection Matter
When your partner makes a bid, they’re essentially saying, “I want to connect with you.” How you respond to these bids can make or break your relationship. It’s about showing that you see and hear your partner. This acknowledgment builds emotional intimacy and trust in your relationship.
Three Ways to Respond to Bids for Connection
There are three primary ways to respond to these bids:
- Turning Towards: This is when you respond positively to a bid. It’s like saying, “I’m here for you.” This strengthens the connection between you and your partner.
- Turning Away: If you turn away, it means you’re putting something else ahead of your partner’s bid. This can make your partner feel distant and unimportant.
- Turning Towards Unkindly: Sometimes, you acknowledge the bid, but you do it in a negative or unkind way. This can harm the emotional connection between you and your partner.
Why does this matter?
The Gottmans, through their extensive research, have shown that successful relationships have more instances of turning towards than turning away. In other words, when both partners respond positively to each other’s bids, they create a loving and supportive relationship.
The Impact of Missed Bids for Connection.
Miscommunication and missed bids can have quite a significant impact on a relationship. It can create emotional distance. So when bids are misinterpreted or overlooked, it can leave a person feeling ignored, unimportant, or rejected. That can lead to a sense of disconnection and isolation.
If you and your partner often miss these bids, it can significantly affect your relationship. Miscommunication, emotional distance, and more conflicts can result. It might make your partner feel ignored or unimportant, leading to hurt feelings.
Fixing Missed Bids for Connection.
The good news is that missed bids can be fixed. By acknowledging the missed bid, taking responsibility, and making an effort to reconnect, you can heal the rift and show that you value your partner’s attempts to connect.
Bids for Connection are like the glue that holds your relationship together. By understanding and responding to them with kindness and love, you create an environment where your relationship can flourish. Remember, the more you and your partner turn towards each other, the stronger your emotional connection becomes, and the happier your relationship will be.
Check out this podcast episode for more information