“Friendships don’t just happen,” says William Rawlins, a professor of interpersonal communication at Ohio University. “They don’t drop from the sky.”
Like any relationship, friendships take effort and work. But they’re often the last to receive that effort after people expend their energy on work, family, and romance. And as I’ve written before, as time goes on, friendships often face more hurdles to intimacy than other close relationships. As people hurtle toward the peak busyness of middle age, friends—who are usually a lower priority than partners, parents, and children—tend to fall by the wayside.
The psychologist John Gottman came up with the concept of “bids” in the 1990s. “Bids” are small requests for connection—anything from a smile, to attempting to start a conversation, to inviting your partner on a trip with your family. As Emily Esfahani Smith previously reported in The Atlantic, the more partners respond to each others’ bids by “turning toward” them—engaging and offering the requested connection—the stronger their relationship. The more they “turned away” from the bids, the more likely they were to get divorced, Gottman found.
Read the whole story: The Atlantic