Relationship Minute: Did You Just Miss a Bid?

In “What Makes Love Last,” Dr. John Gottman states, “In a committed relationship, partners constantly ask each other in words and deeds for support and understanding.” That gesture is called a bid, and it signals that your partner needs to connect with you.

But what does a bid look like in everyday life?

Your partner can reach out in any number of ways, both verbal and nonverbal. The spoken bids are easier to recognize. They may sound like:

“Look at this funny video.”

“Honey, what’s on your mind?”

Nonverbal bids are trickier, but Dr. Gottman breaks them down to include: 

  • Affection (a kiss, hug, or shoulder rub) 
  • Facial expressions (a smile or glance) 
  • Playful touching (a light tickling or gentle bump) 
  • Affiliating gestures (opening a door or handing something over) 
  • Vocalizing (laughing, sighing, groaning, etc.) 

Be on the lookout for any variation of these examples. Your partner may be trying to get your attention.

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.