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Bidding

I ran into an article last month about "bidding" in successful marriage. Essentially, bidding is bringing up a topic of the moment. The more that your partner responded to bidding, the more likely the marriage was to stay together. Although the article concerns closer relationship, the idea can easily be extended.

Since then, I've thought about the topic of bidding, especially in connection with friendship and siblings. I believe that in many of my relationships, I don't bid. I'll respond to bids just fine, but I don't bid. This is one of those areas of relationships that are invisible to me. Somewhere in my childhood, my social status reached such an astonishingly low threshhold that my bids were either ignored or stomped on. That's it. So I stopped bidding. I held my interests inside, for myself.

The thing about not bidding is that it's not expected behavior. Not bidding shows up as a inexplicable blank spot. Most people can't articulate what's not there, but they notice it.

A second thing about not bidding is that you don't find anyone else with the same interests. So when you do find people with similar interests, you tend to not notice.

Third, not bidding means that you aren't giving information. Healthy humans don't stomp you reflexively for bidding. (School kids aren't healthy humans.) Those bids help inform other people about who you are and where your interests lie. In a way, they are echolocation, helping you to find the folks that you will like interacting with.

Finally, not bidding means that I have low skills of engagement. My ability to present presence in my social spaces is limited.

I see how this informs my social sphere. Some form of bidding is usually required to acquire new friends and acquaintances. Not only that, but it must be the appropriate form of bidding for the sphere. That's to say, you must be bidding with the appropriate fashion. I can see now why I had troubles, always having the appropriate enthusiasm, but never the right expression. Me and fashion never got along.

So, what should I do about this? Knowing this is one thing, and that helps, but finding exercises and building habits is another. Fortunately, I do have a built in sphere to start with: my wife and daughter. As those are my most important relationships, they are well worth improving. How to get beyond that? I don't know yet.