Drivers of Behavior: Bids and Turns

The number one motivator for all human behavior is a since of belonging to the group even if the group is two or a group of virtual thousands. This is known as connection.

From the work of John Gottman and the Gotten Institute, we have found that drivers of behavior and connection involve bids and turns. Our ability to connect directly involves our we respond to attempts of connection.

Bids for Connection

A bid is any attempt from one partner to another for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection.

  • a question (e.g., “How was your day?”),
  • a gesture (e.g., reaching out to hold hands),
  • a facial expression (e.g., smile), or even
  • a touch (e.g., hugging).

Turns for Bids

Turn Toward

  • Act in a responsive, interested, positive, and loving way.
  • Physically: turn towards them, reach out, touch them, look at them. Nod, smile, wink.
  • Verbally: Say “I hear you”, “I want to help you,” “I’m interested in you.” Ask a question.
  • Actions: Change your behavior in response to their bid.
  • Consequences: More bidding, More responding, relationship growth and trust development

Turn Away

  • Act in a way that ignores them, or dismisses their bid. (extinction)
  • Physically: stay neutral, wander away, or don’t look in their direction.
  • Verbally: No response, or a response that has nothing to do with what they said.
  • Actions: Continue what you are doing, without (seeming) to notice their bid.
  • Consequences: Less bidding, increase conflict, hurt feelings, loss of confidence, relationship ends sooner rather than later

Turn Against

  • Act in an angry way that rejects them and their bid.
  • Physically: Walk away, glare at them, make threatening movements.
  • Verbally: respond angrily, use sarcasm or put-downs.
  • Actions: Do the opposite of what they have asked you to do
  • Consequences: Less bidding, avoidance of conflict, hurt feelings, loss of confidence, relationship ends sooner rather than later
bids and turns

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