I just took a really great course on relationship coaching for couples and teams. The gist of it is that two or more people create a shared energy that impacts those people in known and unknown ways, and that those folks can really shift that energy if they focus on it (and sometimes via a coach). Much of that is about self awareness as that is critical to one’s ability to develop empathy and awareness of other’s needs and attempts at relationship.
Dr. John Gottman has been studying relationships for years and has developed an extensive and well-regarded approach to cultivating healthy relationships. He can pretty much predict when a couple will be headed for divorce with a 90%+ accuracy rating. One of those predictors is how a couple responds to expressions of emotional connection or offers to repair the relationship after an issue; he refers to this as a “bid”.
Take a look at his most recent blog post on an effective way to respond to a bid by your partner, including how to say “no” if, for example, you’re busy or have a conflict. Note that so much of this is how well you follow through on your commitments of accepted bids.
Think about the most important relationships in your life. What kinds of bids have you been extending, and how have they been received? Answer the question in reverse, and then think about one simple thing you can try today to offer an affirming bid to someone special.