The Most Important Relationship Skill – Emotional Bids

Emotional Bids and Relationships

There is one very essential skill – you can consider it the glue that keeps relationships together – Emotional Bids. We’ve all been extended an emotional bid or two throughout the day: a smile from the barista at your local coffee shop behind a mask, an invitation to a Zoom lunch with a new friend, an email from your colleague asking for URGENT help on a new project or your partner keeps on pointing out vintage cars to you. We all seek intimacy and connection – and emotional bids help us meet those needs…

What is an Emotional Bid?

An emotional bid is when we do something to signal that we want attention and connection

Emotional bids are central to every kind of relationship – romantic, social and professional.

But what happens when we keep missing emotional bids? What if we’re so caught up in our own mind and our own beliefs that we inadvertently snub the people trying to connect with us? I mean your partner must know you’re not interested in cars – why do they keep pointing them out to you?! What happens to our mental health and wellbeing when we can’t connect with other people? Just imagine you feel lonely because you’ve never learned to pay attention to emotional bids!

How to Respond to an Emotional Bid

There are a several ways to respond to an emotional bid, and it’s the way you treat above situations:

Beneficial:  Towards emotional bids (A yes, that is an old Ferrari, I believe.)

Less Beneficial: Away from emotional bids (Uh, car. Cool.)

Non-beneficial: Against emotional bids (Dude, you know I don’t care about cars, can you please stop?)

The world’s most famous relationship research center discovered that the way we react to emotional bids habitually can predict by 85% if we’ll still be with a partner or a friend in 6 years. THAT’S how powerful emotional bids are.

There is a time to respond away from or against emotional bids – sometimes a simple smile can feel a little creepy or uncomfortably flirty – or set boundaries (I can’t play with you right now, but I will come to play with you in 15 minutes, ok?) and a time to establish connections by turning towards emotional bids, even if it means putting in an extra effort to do so once in a while.

This week’s challenge:

The next time you feel like somebody you care about has extended an emotional bid, turn towards it by making them feel understood, valued, and recognized for their achievements. You may also try to strengthen your relationship by signaling someone special – and let the power of an emotional bid work its magic.

Have a great week, Lodestar!

Silja Litvin

Psychologist and Founder of PsycApps

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