According to Dr. John Gottman, we seek attention and affection from our partners through “bids for connection,” and these bids can be either verbal or nonverbal (Lisitsa, 2014). Verbal bids can look like asking question about something important to you, making a joke, or asking for help (Brittle, 2015). Nonverbal bids, on the other hand, can be a smile, a playful eye roll, or an exasperated sigh inviting you to ask what’s wrong. (Brittle, 2015). Through his research, Gottman discovered that couples who stayed together, turned towards each other’s bids for connection more than they turned away (Brittle, 2015).

What exactly does this mean for you and your relationship? Pay attention to your partner and be proactive and intentional in the way you interact with them. If they reach for your hand, hold it. If they ask for your opinion on something, respond with kindness and excitement. By responding to their attempts to connect with love, compassion, and sincerity, you are sending the message that you notice and care.

Resources

Lisitsa, E. (2014 January 29). Dr. Gottman’s Guide to Recognizing Bids. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/self-care-friendship-and-dr-gottmans-guide-to-recognizing-bids/

Brittle, Z. (2015 April 1). Turn Towards Instead of Away. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/turn-toward-instead-of-away/