January is the busiest month of the year for online dating. Apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid all experience a surge in signups and activity this month.
Based on last year’s data, January activity on OkCupid alone will lead to more than 40 million new matches.
The timing of the dating app surge makes sense much in the same way that the increase in January gym memberships makes sense: New Year, new you. The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over. It’s time to upgrade your love life. And, of course, the Valentine’s Day clock is ticking.
So what are dating app users most looking for in their new relationships?
It’s hard to pinpoint. A Google search for “what people are most looking for in a relationship” produces more than three billion results. Among those on the first page are several credible articles who claim trust, honesty, kindness, and the ability to be yourself to each be the top answer.
While there may be no clear consensus on what people are most looking for in relationships, psychologists John and Julie Gottman believe they have identified the “number one thing” that makes relationships successful—how a couple responds to bids for connection.
The Gottman’s, founders of the Gottman Institute and the world famous “Love Lab,” have been studying romantic relationships for more than fifty years. Malcolm Gladwell featured their work in his New York Times bestseller, Blink.
In the Gottman’s most recent study, they determined the biggest factor in predicting a marriage’s longevity was how often a couple “turned toward” their partner.
“When a couple turns toward each other, they make and respond to what we call ‘bids for connection.’ Bids can range from little things, like trying to catch your attention by calling your name, to big things, like asking for deeper needs to be met,’ the Gottman’s told CNBC.com.
Let’s say your partner is looking at their phone and says, “Oh, this is interesting.” How do you respond?
Do you turn toward them? (i.e., acknowledge their attempt to connect, inquire about what they saw, join the moment, etc.)
Do you turn away from them? (i.e., not notice their attempt to connect, actively ignore them, continue with what you’re doing, etc.)
Or, do you turn against them? (i.e. shut down their attempt to connect, become angry or irritated, scold them for interrupting your work, etc.)
According to the Gottmans, the happiest couples recognize when counterparts are making bids and stop what they’re doing to engage. In other words, they turn toward each other.
Successful relationships, whether they’re between couples or teammates, rely on connectivity. Both parties must strive to create, maintain, and validate sound connections.
The next time you feel inclined to assess your relationships with your teammates, think about how you respond to their bids to connect. Do you turn toward, away, or against? Your answer may be the key to improving your team’s connectedness.
And if you happen to be among the millions utilizing an online dating app this month, take time to evaluate your match’s response to your bids to connect. Swipe right on the ones who turn toward you. They’re demonstrating a capacity to be a good teammate.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate!