There are all kinds of tests on social media that are supposed to determine the strength and quality of your relationships. The latest example is the “bird test” – a way of finding out whether your partner or friend is interested in what you like or what you’re talking about.
For example, if you point out something seemingly insignificant, like a bird, and the person being tested shows curiosity, then they’re a keeper. Otherwise, your relationship may be doomed to failure, according to this theory.
As far as TikToker Alyssa Caribardi is concerned, the bird test is infallible. She uses it on friends, family members and virtually everyone she meets, she explains in a video that has been viewed more than four million times. And if they pass the bird test, she lets them know about it right away.
In the comments on her post, some react with humour, with quips like “my cat always passes the bird test”. But others seem to realise their relationship may not be all that sincere. One user notes that her ex seemed annoyed by the fact that she noticed and pointed out nature or animals.
The bird test actually stems from a psychological notion called the “bid for connection”, theorised in the 1980s by Dr John Gottmann, an American professor of psychology specialising in couples’ relationships. In short, these requests for connection are attempts to attract your partner’s attention.
“Bids can be small or big, verbal or nonverbal. They’re requests to connect. They might take the form of an expression, question, or physical outreach. They can be funny, serious, or sexual in nature,” explains the Gottman website.
According to his theory, turning towards each other in this kind of way is the basis of a fulfilling relationship over time.
He stresses the importance of small, everyday gestures: “Some people think they can put their relationship on ice and then thaw it out with the occasional romantic date night. But relationships are built and maintained with daily attention, not grand gestures.”
And the more emotional connections a couple has, no matter how insignificant, the longer their relationship will last. The key is to regularly fill your “emotional cup” by accepting or offering these famous “bids for connection” on a daily basis.
To confirm his theory, the psychologist scientifically evaluated the relationship quality of thousands of couples. In the ’80s, Gottman and his wife founded the Love Lab, which studies couples, observing them for several hours at a time, to understand the mechanisms of marriage, its successes and failures.
They found, for example, that couples destined to last turned to each other 86% of the time under observation, while couples destined to divorce turned to each other 33% of the time.
Using a range of scientific data, the professor was able to predict a couple’s divorce with an accuracy rate of 91%.