Bids For Connection

We’re reaching out for connections in different ways. Sometimes we are aware, sometimes we’re not. Sometimes we’re heard, sometimes we’re not, and it can hurt when we aren’t.

What is a bid for connection?

A bid is an attempt from one person to another for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection. They can show up as a simple wink, smile, or in more complex ways.


  • Sending a post or link
  • Talking about a common interest
  • Expressing a concern
  • Asking about your day
  • Sharing accomplishments
  • Aiming for a hug or physical affection
  • Makes time to be with you
  • Makes an effort to understand your world
  • Offering help
  • Accepting help

How can you respond?
You can turn towards (respond to the bid and connect), against (respond to the bid angrily) or turn away (ignore the bid).

This is very important to know because you can’t have a good relationship without turning towards a person, especially if it’s somebody you’re close to.
A simple “I can’t talk to you right now” is still a good response while ignoring people or shouting at them just isn’t.

Sometimes we reach out, sometimes we’re on the other side. You can’t get any guarantee about the other person’s reactions to your bids, while you can influence your own.

Questions for self-reflection:

  • Which bids do I use? Are they effective?
  • Do I turn away or against more often than I turn towards?
  • What does it feel like when my partner/friend doesn’t turn toward me?
  • How do I respond to my partner/friend/family member’s bids for connection?
  • How do I respond to my co-worker’s bids? How do I respond to a stranger’s bids?
  • How can I get better at turning towards?

Further reading:
What’s a Bid for Connection and Why You Need to Know
7 Ways People Bid For Connection
The Gottman Institute

3 thoughts on “Bids For Connection”

  1. A very interesting post. I think a lot about connection and the erosion of connection during the pandemic. The virtual distance has made it either for people not to turn towards a bid. And you’re right, we need a bid in order to foster enduring relationships.


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