How much will you bid for your boyfriend?
Intensive research undertaken by psychologist John Gottman resulted in him being able to observe a couple for less than 5 minutes and predict with a 95% accuracy if they would stay together long term or not. His observations were based on the concept of “bidding”. If one person bids to another and the other bids back positively then these are "moving towards" bids.
Let me explain. Peter comes home and says to Paul, “Hi darling, how did the interview go?”. “Great, I think they were impressed. How did your presentation go?”. This is good bidding as it is bidding towards each other. The reply by Paul could have been, “Alright.” This is called neutral-bidding. Another reply could be, “Why do you really want to know?”. This is a turning away bid - negative. So this is what John Gottman means when he talks about partners bidding: bidding towards, neutral bidding or negative. He filmed thousands of couples in his research to determine the indicators on whether a couple would stay together or not.
Bids are not only through conversations; they can be gestures like small presents, cooking dinner, driving him to work, buying flowers, making tea, booking theatre tickets, washing his underwear with yours etc. Gottman also concluded that a relationship needs 5 positive bids for every negative bid to build a good union.
Practising conscious bidding is especially valuable when the relationship has passed the limerence period, which is the period when you fall head over heels for someone and you are in a love bubble for 6 - 18 months. When the bubble bursts and you start to see reality and the faults, extra work like bidding is vital to keep the relationship on a positive love track.
John Gottman’s research also concludes that people who bid well in all other areas of their life also succeed enormously in those areas. For instance, workers who put their heads down and do not bid well are amazed when they are not promoted above others they consider do not work as hard as them. What they have forgotten to do is bid towards workmates and their managers. Workmates who take an interest in the lives of others lives and share their own are more likely to advance in the corporate world. No big surprises there!
So guys, start bidding well at home and elsewhere. Actually, life becomes so much more fun with bidding towards. When we do it we feel more connected, validated and listened to, and we create a greater sense of self-confidence in others and ourselves. So let me start you off with this bid, “How’s your day been, gorgeous?”.
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About Gerry North
Gerry North works with gay couples and treats depression, anxiety, panic attacks, addiction, sexual matters and self-esteem. He has worked in LGBT counselling for over 10 years. Gerry writes articles for newspapers and online gay websites. A mature counsellor who has experienced single and couple life. He now lives in London with his partner.