Have you ever pointed out something small to someone you’re with — a pretty bird outside the window, for example — only for them to dismiss it entirely? As one TikToker explained in a recent video, that person has failed the “bird test,” and it’s not a good sign.
In the video from late October, Alyssa explains that this test can be used to gauge compatibility not just in romantic relationships but in platonic ones too. In her example, she went to Starbucks with a friend and pointed out that there was a woodpecker outside the window. Alyssa’s friend “whip[ped] around so fast and was like, ‘Where?!’ and I kid you not, for the next ten minutes, the two of us stared out the Starbucks window just watching this woodpecker fuckin’ peck away at this tree while we Googled random facts about woodpeckers.”
She continues, “The bird test states that if you’re with someone, romantic or not, 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.”
As several clever cookies in the comments pointed out, this theory has an actual name besides the “bird test” — these little moments are called bids for connection, a term popularized by Dr. John Gottman. The Gottman Institute describes bids for connection as, “any attempt from one partner to another for attention, affirmation, affection or any other positive connection.” (One commenter suggested that as a compromise they should be known as “birds for connection.”)
According to the Gottman Institute, women are more likely than men to make these bids, while many men often struggle to respond in ways their partners would like. Other examples of minor bids for connection include, “How do I look?” or “Could you take the dog for a walk?” or even just listening as they talk about their day.
Commenters agreed that this was a good test for relationships, with many people speaking candidly about those in their lives who failed the bird test (for many women commenting, mothers were a big one). Some felt that in many cases, people could pass the test at the beginning of a relationship but fail after a while due to dwindling interest; it’s worth paying attention to how someone’s responses to your bids might change as your relationship continues and checking in if you notice a significant change.
Meanwhile, as is the way of the internet, others had jokes. “I didn’t even pass the Bird Test for this video,” wrote one man, while the undisputed best comment simply stated, “My cat always passes the bird test.”