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The Gottman's Guide to "Bidding for Connection" in Relationships

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

Gottman relationship pointers for "Bidding for Connection" cannot be overlooked

A harmonious relationship isn't just about grand gestures of love or solving major conflicts. It is built on a series of tiny, everyday moments of interaction. These moments have been elegantly captures in a concept introduced by Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman, renowned relationship experts, called "bidding for connection."

So what exactly is this "bidding for connection"? Imagine your partner is sharing an anecdote about their day. They're not just sharing a story, they're inviting you into their world. This is a "bid". Bids can be anything from shared laughter to a comforting touch, or a simply look at understanding.

Here are five crucial points to understand about this transformative concept:

1. Recognizing a bid

The first step in "bidding for connection" is recognizing when your partner is making a bid. Bids are often simple, everyday interaction. They can be verbal, like a comment about the weather, or non-verbal such as reaching for your hand. A bid is an attempt to connect, no matter how trivial it might seem.

2. Turning Towards, Not Away.

Responding positively to a bid is called "turning towards" the bid. This could be a simple as acknowledging your partner's comment with interest. The opposite, "turning away" from the bid, ignores or dismiss the attempt to connect. "Turning against" the bid, responds negatively, creating conflict.

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3. The Impact of "Turning Towards"

The Gottmans' research indicates that relationships where partners regularly "turn towards" each other are more successful and satisfying. "Turning towards" a bid shows your partner that you value their feelings, thoughts and experiences.

4. The Dangers of Stonewalling

The Gottmans identify stonewalling as an extreme form of "turning away" from a bid. Rather than just ignoring a bid, stonewalling is a persistent refusal to engage in any form of interaction. This can harm relationships creating distance and mutual estrangement.

5. Cultivate the Art of Bidding

Biding is more than just responding to your partner's interactions. It also involves creating your own invitational moments. Sharing your thoughts, inviting dialogue, or initiating physical contact are all forms of making bids for connection.

The Gottmans' concept of bidding for connection" is a powerful reminder that strong relationships are built on the little things. It highlights that every interaction is an opportunity for connection, building stronger bonds of intimacy, trust, and mutual understanding.

The health of your relationships doesn't always depend on how you navigate the big, stormy seas of conflict but rather, how you sail the calm, everyday waters of interaction. With every small gesture, question, or shared moment, you're not just living with your partner, you're bidding for a deeper connection. So why not start responding to these bids today and watch your relationship blossom into a more meaningful bond.


Applying these principles to your relationship might seem daunting, especially if you haven't been recognizing or responding to bids effectively in the past. 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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