How to Recognize Bids of Connection

We all extend bids of connection in our relationships – this is how we connect, relate and engage with one another during small moments each day. What are bids of connection and how can we recognize when we or our partner are extending a bid?

A bid of connection is simply one person extending an opportunity to engage another. This may be a question, comment, touch, smile or compliment. Because bids can be simple exchanges, they are commonly missed or unintentionally overlooked.

Common bids sound like:

  • “How do I look?”
  • “How was your day”
  • “I’m feeling tired”
  • “Let’s take ____ lessons together”
  • “Will you help me with ___”

When bids of connection are commonly missed, it is easy to get into the negative perspective about our partner. This is due to feeling unseen, heard, or appreciated. Bids typically have a secondary layer or undertone of: Please listen to me, share your feelings, be affection, learn with me, play with me, let’s laugh together, show interest in me.

When we engage in the short exchange, we meet or turn toward the bid. This can look like returning a smile or eye contact, answering a question, replying to a comment made, or leaning in when our partner physically touches us.

Whenever we are wanting to improve our relationships, practice is key in making progress. Practice identifying bids from your partner and begin to notice how different the interactions feel when you turn bids into opportunities of connection.


The Gottman Institute:

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