Turn Towards

The Conversation, Matisse, 1908-1912

The Conversation, Matisse, 1908-1912

Pick Up limes shares one simple habit to improve any relationship.

In every interaction is a deep-seated desire to connect we yearn to be seen, heard, and understood, and dozens of times throughout the day we make what are called bids for connection.

Bids for connection is any conscious or subconscious way the tone person is reaching out to another. It could be verbal like "Wow, look at that sunset!" or non-verbal like letting out a sign.

Whether these bids are met with warmth or indifference by the other person is going to significantly influence the sense of safety and belonging that we feel in that relationship and that's going to shape the strength of the relationship overtime.

There are three ways to we can respond to a bid for connection.

  1. Towards: engaging with and acknowledging the bid
  2. Away: missing the bid or not commenting
  3. Against: rejecting the bid

A few examples:

BID: This article is so interesting!

  • Towards: Oh yeah? What's it about?
  • Away: Mhmmm, cool.
  • Against: It must be nice to have so much time to read.

BID: You wouldn’t believe how difficult my day’s been.

  • Towards: Oh no, what happened?
  • Away: You think you had a hard day? Well, I have a story for you!
  • Against: When do you not have a bad day?

BID: That was such an intense rainfall last night!

  • Towards: Yeah, that was super weird, right?
  • Away: I guess.
  • Against: You’re always so dramatic, it wasn’t that bad.

BID: This isn’t working, could you come help me out for a second?

  • Towards: Sure thing, I’m just in the middle of something right now, but I can come in 10 minutes.
  • Away: (ignores the request)
  • Against: Figure it out yourself!


What the humans like is responsiveness.

Relationship thrives on responsiveness and die with dismissiveness.

Turning towards build trust and connection.

And turning away can actually be more harmful than turning against.

It feeds into the idea of social isolation, and it can be the silent killer of relationships.

It sends a subtle, but harmful message of indifference. It makes the person feel unseen and undervalued.

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference. – Elie wiesel

It's not because we don't care about the person, it's just we get preoccupied or distracted, and we don't pick on the signals of bids for connections.

A few tips provided by her:

  • Label it: voice out your bid / when the other person is turning away or against
  • Go deeper: Turn towards and ask deeper questions, not just superficial reactions
  • Acknowledge + defer: if you can't drop what you're doing now, ask for time later, the important part is acknowledging the bid first

The strongest relationships are the one where the effort is at least consistently made.

Try to master the art of those tiny moments.

"The secret to strong, healthy relationships isn't in grand gestures, but in these small, often overlooked ways we can turn towards the people we most care about."