With an app for everything and devices designed for our laps, our hands, and now even our wrists, people are more connected than ever before. But, what does “connected” really mean? Many of us anxiously await work emails, status updates from people we barely know, and hang on the next push notification telling us the score at halftime in our favorite team’s game, but is that what we mean by “connected”? Is that what it should mean?
Do You Ignore Your Spouse’s Bids for Attention?Many psychologists argue that this type of connectedness does many family relationships more harm than good. John Gottman, PhD, an expert on marital stability and analyzing relationships, has popularized the concept of “bids” for attention in family relationships – and has identified three main types of responses to these bids. A bid is a simple attempt to engage with one’s spouse, something like, “It was a tough day at work today,” or, “What a beautiful day outside.” The three types of responses are:
- Turning towards – accepting the bid and engaging in a meaningful discussion with your spouse
- Turning against – reacting negatively to your spouse’s bid for attention
- Turning away – ignoring your spouse’s bid for attention or giving a brief response without actually engaging
Connecting with Your Spouse Instead of Your DevicesOther psychologists have applied Dr. Gottman’s bid concept to study the ways that devices interfere with spousal relations and relationships between parents and their children. Do any of the following sound familiar to you?
- Checking emails or reading the news on your phone or tablet at the dinner table
- Immediately turning to your phone when you get in bed for the evening
- Watching streaming sports or checking in on social media while your kids play at the playground