It’s happened seemingly hundreds of times. Your Xbox-obsessed partner interrupts your nightly reading to show you the most epic goal they shot in FIFA. Then comes the internal frustration: Can’t they see I’m concentrating?! It’s not like they’re really playing soccer. What’s the big deal with video games anyway? Well, what feels like a tiny, inconsiderate annoyance may actually be your partner reaching out for an emotional connection. No, really. Hear us out.
Relationship guru John M. Gottman would call your bae’s effort to share their excitement a “bid.” Bids are essentially attempts at emotional connection that are either reciprocated or shut down by a partner. They offer couples an opportunity to come closer together over things they each care about.
Gottman observed 130 newlywed couples and the way they respond to bids for a groundbreaking study on long-lasting love. When one partner made a request for connection—say, your hubby trying to show off his FIFA goal—Gottman would note if the bid was reciprocated (“wow, nice shot—how’d you do that?”) or rejected (“OMG, can’t you see I’m reading?”).
The results aren’t surprising: Happy couples who stayed together for more than eight years were found to reciprocate bids a whopping 87 percent of the time. So, the next time your partner wants to share something with you—even about something you couldn’t care less about, or at an inconvenient time—pause and prioritize before you respond. It could pay off big time down the road.