Relationship Minute: Bids are everywhere

You and your partner are probably already pretty good at recognizing each other’s verbal bids for connection—when in doubt, the tried and true “hey!” will get some kind of acknowledgment. You’re also probably getting better at recognizing your friends’ and co-workers’ digital bids. Those usually come in the form of a notification.

But bids can be nonverbal, too. According to John Gottman, nonverbal bids include: 

  • Affectionate touching, such as a pat on the back, a handshake, a squeeze, a kiss, a hug, or a back or shoulder rub. 
  • Facial expressions, such as a smile, blowing a kiss, trying to make eye contact, or sticking out your tongue. 
  • Playful touching, such as tickling, wrestling, dancing, or a gentle bump or shove. 
  • Affiliating gestures, such as opening a door, offering a place to sit, handing over a utensil, or pointing to a shared activity or interest. 
  • Vocalizing, such as laughing, chuckling, grunting, sighing, or groaning in a way that invites interaction or interest. 

When all else fails, you can also try looming in the doorway until your partner notices.

How do you make bids for your partner’s attention? What’s your partner’s preferred bid delivery method? Try to tune into bids today and see what you notice.

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The Relationship Minute from The Gottman Institute, dated 9 April 2020. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.