We are in the process of doing a 7 Day Relationship Renewal.. but I wanted to share with you some of what we are talking about, because I feel it is the key to having healthy and happier relationships!
Bidding is a process that was “discovered and named” by John Gottman. (On a side note, I HIGHLY recommend reading his books. His thoughts and teachings have done wonders for myself and my relationships)
So..what is bidding?
Bidding is when we want to make a connection with another person. This can be done by words or by actions. It’s our way of saying we want to connect, talk, spend time together and grow together. Once you start to look for bids, you will see them in all areas of your life. Maybe it’s the grocery clerk talking to you in line, or it’s your child wanting to tell you about their day. Perhaps it’s a friend needing to talk or your significant other wanting to talk about a concern that they have. Bids come in all sizes, all forms and in many obvious and subtle ways. But, regardless of how they come, they all are an expression of desire to connect with you.
How we respond to these bids directly relates to the way our relationship grows (or doesn’t grow). This is where watching our responses come into play. There are three ways we can respond to a bid, they are:
- Turn towards
- Turn away
- Turn against.
So, let’s take a situation and put in each response we do…. I will give one here, but I challenge you to think of a time that relates to your relationship(s).
Situation: Jenni thinks that she wants to go back to school to finish her degree. It’s been a while since she has been in school, but with the children getting older, she thinks it will be a good time to go back. She decides to have a conversation with Sam, her significant other, about her idea……
Jenni “Sam, I think that I would like to go back to school and finish my teaching degree. I really love teaching and I am not happy in my current job. What do you think?”
Sam: Response 1; Turning Towards: “Jenni, I think that you work so hard, and you have talked about wanting to teach for as long as I can remember. I think you would be a wonderful teacher, what do you think we need to do to make that happen?”
Sam’s Response 2; Turning Away: Sam is playing on his phone, not looking up or putting his phone away….”Yeah.. sure… why not”..
Sam’s Response 3: Turning Against; “Why would you want to try that again? I mean, you didn’t finish last time… what makes you think you will do it again? It sounds like a waste of money to me.”
As you can see, each response would prove a different reaction from Jenni. In response 1, she feels listen to as well as validated. This bid, that is returned in a positive way, will provoke more conversation and will make her feel listened to and loved.
In response 2, Jenni feels ignored. What do we feel like when we are trying to be with someone and we feel that they aren’t “with us.” Maybe it’s the TV, or a newspaper, or our phones. There is no connection and no buy in to the moment. She may be less likely to share her feelings, because she doesn’t feel like Sam cares.
In response 3; Jenni feels shut down and dismissed. She feels that she isn’t good enough to follow her dreams and that the person who is supposed to support her, feels she isn’t good enough.
The way we respond to bids, will directly relate to how are relationships grow. When we turn towards, we connect and show care. Relationships that show this to each other tend to grow and be stronger. Trust is built and made solid, we feel safe, loved and appreciated. We feel like we are being heard and our thoughts matter.
Relationships that tend to turn away from each other, can die a slow death. While the person isn’t be cruel or mean, they are indifferent and there is only so long we can be around someone who doesn’t show that they care or support our dreams. Finally,. Relationships that are turn against, die pretty quickly. How long can we be with someone who thinks we aren’t good enough? Who kills our dreams and dismisses our passions?
I challenge you today to start purposefully watching for Bids. Watch for them with your significant other, your children, your family and friends. See if the clerk at the store or the office co worker is putting them out. Make connections each day that will enhance yor world, your relationships and your life.