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Decoding Communication and Connection: Recognizing a Bid in Your Relationship

Couples Therapy | Communication and Connection | Los Angeles Therapist Elevate Mental Health in Ventura County California

Deeper Connections in Relationships Are Intentional with Your Communication

Deeper connections in relationships don't happen by accident. They are nurtured through consistent attention and positive responses to your partner's subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) requests for emotional connection. These gestures are known as "bids" and recognizing them can make all the difference in your relationship.

Here are three key points to help you hone your "bid detecting" radar based on yesterday's blog post on the concept of Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman, relationship experts:

1. Different Forms of Bids

A bid for connection isn't always a grand, noteworthy moment. It often comes disguised as everyday interactions. A casual comment about a news story, a questions about your day, or a shared chuckle over a silly meme, are all examples of bids. Equally, bids can also be non-verbal. A lingering look, a gentle touch, or an encouraging smile, can communicate just as powerfully as words. Remember: bids often appear in the "mundane", and their power lies in recognizing and responding to them.

2. Fish For Bids

If you're having a hard time noticing your partner's bids, you could try to encourage them. Ask open-ended questions about their day, their feelings, and their ideas. Share your own thoughts and experiences consciously. By initiating more "bid-worthy" conversations, you're setting a pattern for deeper and more connection interactions.

3. Eyes on Emotional Content

The Gottmans point out that bids often carry emotional content.

A brief comment about a hectic day at work could be a bid for compassion and understanding.

A random text about spotting a favorite bird could be a bid for shared joy.

Taking the time to identify the underlying emotion in your partner's communication can tremendously enhance your bid detecting abilities.

Remember, it's not just about hearing the words, but also understanding the feelings behind the words.

4. Building Bid Resilience

There will be times when you may miss a bid or respond less optimally. However, the Gottmans encouraging maintaining a sense of resilience. They suggest focusing on "repair attempts" to bring the conversation back on track. Don't let one misstep quash your efforts. Keep reaching out, engaging, and strive to better recognize and respond to the bids in your relationship. The learning curve is as important as the outcome.

But remember, recognizing a bid is just the first step. The magic truly happens when you respond warmly and turn towards your partner's bid. So let's start! This enhaced communication and connection, nourished with attention and kindness, could soon steer your relationship towards a more enriched and satifying journey!


Applying these principles to your relationship might seem daunting, especially if you haven't been recognizing or responding to bids effectively in the past and are new to detecting a bid. If you're in the Los Angeles, Ventura County, Santa Barbara or surrounding areas, we would be happy to get you connected with one of our licensed therapists. If you are outside of California then consider searching "therapist near me" to guide you to an experienced couples therapists, well-versed in the Gottman method.

The step to book a session with a professional can help you identify patterns in your relationship and give practical strategies to increase positive bidding. Therapy is also a safe space for couples to practice "Turning towards" behavior with the guidance of a professional. Remember, it's never too late to enrich the connection within your relationship.

Your Team at Elevate Mental Health


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