The bird test: does your relationship pass with flying colours? | Relationships

Name: The bird test.

Age: Never mind how old anyone is. Look, there’s a woodpecker in that tree over there!

I thought pass notes always started with the age question? Zzzzz. And now I know we can never become friends. And the chances of us becoming a thing are … let me think about it … 0%!

What do you mean, what kind of a thing? A romantic thing. Or even just a friend thing. Not going to happen. Because you just failed the bird test.

The bird test? It’s a way to establish whether or not a relationship will be successful.

I thought there were apps for that now. And algorithms. This is more fun. And it has birds (though they are not actually necessary).

How does it work then? So handing over to Alyssa Caribardi here: “The bird test states that if you say something that could be deemed insignificant and your partner responds with genuine curiosity, that’s a really good sign that your relationship will last a long time.”

So, how should I have reacted? Well, if you had shown some interest in the woodpecker… even if we don’t know anything about them, we could have looked them up together. There might have been hope for us.

And my less than enthusiastic response? “If they blow you off”, says Caribardi, “that’s a really bad sign.”

And who is this Alyssa Caribardi? Is she an ornithologist? She’s a TikToker and her bird test video has had, at time of writing, 3.9m views and nearly half a million likes.

Great, so this is a TikTok trend? It is. Wait though – many viewers were quick to point out that the test echoes what John Gottman calls a “bid for connection”.

Gottman, the actual psychologist and well-known relationship expert? That one! He says these requests to connect, which can be verbal or non-verbal, are “the fundamental unit of emotional communication”.

Ignoring it is not good then? He says that the repeated rejection of bids for connection spell disaster for relationships.

And he’s done some research? Yes, with a bunch of newlyweds. He then followed it up six years later when some couples were still together and some were not.

A bid for connection, a bird for connection … It’s what happens when psychology makes the journey to TikTok.

Do say: “Woodpeckers have special mechanisms to protect their brains from getting injured? That’s so interesting, let’s get married.”

Don’t say: “Yeah, and my cat passed the bird test an’ all.”

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