Bids and Turns

-posted by the Sous Blogger

Wow. Is it ever fun to have a command performance and cheering from the crowds. I feel so *wanted* - which, in case you didn't read the whole article in the NYTimes magazine a few weeks ago (and I know for sure at least one of you didn't) is exactly what turns women on. That may or may not be of interest to the readership in general.

I've been thinking for quite a while about the work of John Gottman, and how some of his ideas relate to blogkeeping. Gottman is the psychologist who was featured in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink." He and his wife Julie work at the University of Washington doing research and clinical work on marriage and partner relationships. His undergrad degree was in math, and he's also a really good clinical therapist. So, in a field of generally crap research, he's a rare commodity who knows how to design a valid research protocol *and* do good therapy. They study couples, but they're interested in creating a science of relationships, and I really think their work generalizes to all human interactions in a very rich way.

They believe that intimacy is skill-based and behavioral, therefore teachable and learnable. It comes from a million small moments of mindful connectedness - call and response. Gottman reminds us that good relationships are really just one long conversation.

A bid is any small request for connection. A turn is how the other person responds. Bids can be spoken, or gestured, or written. The corresponding turn can complete a nice loop (turn towards), drop the ball (turn away), or harm the connection (turn against). The sweetest relationships are built on a rolling series of positive bids and turns.

To do this requires emotional intelligence. Another hero of ours, Daniel Goleman, was asked to give a one-sentence definition of EI, and said this: "Emotional intelligence is the ability to have an accurate hunch about what it's like to be the other person, and to act on it."

For a long time I've thought that blogging is a very fun series of bids - each post becomes a bid. Part of what has made it so good here is that there have been turns, too, and that's a hard thing to accomplish in a blog. The sparks ignite and we all feel part of something when the commenters start commenting to each other, and the authors pretend to arbitrate, and so on. That cascade creates community and connectedness and everybody has a better day as a result.

Uh oh. I was going to write much more, and certainly much better, but I have to go play F, F# and G in the handbell choir in 52 minutes, and that means getting in the shower right this instant. I'll be back.


Later that same day . . .

OK, I'm back from bells. I'd say I held my own on two out of three tunes, and completely unraveled during the last one. Oh well. No more bells until fall.

And now back to me.

I have loved the limerick contests here at G40 - I think maybe we took the blog form (and the limerick form) to a higher level. I learned that I can crank out 4-6 crappy limericks in ten minutes by thinking up three words that rhyme and then back-filling with other nonsense, plus two more other-rhyming words. This results in quantity, but no quality. For the really good stuff, you have to turn to the work of everyone else who's ever stopped in here.

What I'm the happiest about is that I got to be here on the front end of creating and defining the role of sous-blogger. We invented it together, and it became more fun than I could have imagined. When the complete history of the Internet is written, (probably by a robot named iGoogle06724) this will be the first place to make use of sous blogging.


Stephanie, I apologize for not starting a contest to name the next blog, because it was a really good idea. I was overwhelmed with The Caring and The Extreme Irritation all week, and didn't have time to go rogue.

In these waning hours, I'm suggesting that it's not too late to post your ideas here. My favorite, which I didn't invent, is Made Up Mind, and I offer it for your consideration.


- Deb, signing off


Going 40 in a 20 Zone said...

May I be the first to thank and congratulate Sous Blogger Deb for her fantastic work here on Going40. When the going got tough (which, let's face it, with me often does) she covered my ass and provided content. She also had an uncanny knack for knowing exactly which to turn the blog with her next post. And best of all, she's funny, smart, and a helluva good writer. Forget me, how about coming up with a title for Sous Blogger's debut blog?

Stephanie said...

Ooooh . . . I definitely like the name "Made Up Mind", but I'm concerned that the obvious abbreviation of MUM is inappropriate, since it's exactly what we *don't* want Scott to keep. Or perhaps we could just consider it ironic? I like irony.

Unfortunately, I don't have any good suggestions of my own, and I really need to start doing lots and lots of work and packing right this minute, since in 24 hours I need to get on a plane to go to North Africa.

I was thinking that I'd offer some pithy suggestions when I get there on Tuesday, but I just remembered that TODAY is the last day that G40 will be open. So now I'm very very sad, even unto verklemptness, and I still need to go do lots working and packing.

Scott? You're at least going to write us a really nice good-bye on this blog, aren't you?

And Deb, I thought your description of how this blog has built a community was perfect. I guess that's why we're all so distressed at the thought of Scott stopping blogging--he's not a home-, but a social-network-wrecker!

deb said...

I don't need my own blog. All I need is the password to your blog.

Did you really think it would be that easy to get rid of me?