Future of human relationships rests on a test about birds. Here's how (and why)

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A new TikTok trend is testing the solidity of couples’ relationships with a simple “bird test” that, to the surprise of some, is backed by science.

Content creator Lyss Lyss, @alyssacardib on TikTok, posted a video titled ‘Bird test’ last month that has garnered over 4.6 million views. She claims the test “never fails” to determine the longevity and health of a relationship.

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“If you say something that can be deemed insignificant and your partner responds with, like, genuine curiosity,” Lyss said in the video. “That’s a really good sign that your relationship is going to last a really long time.”

Alternatively, she said, if your partner blows you off, that could pose challenges in one’s relationship. The test is not limited to romantic partnerships, she adds.

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She recounts a story wherein she was sitting at a Starbucks with a friend and pointed out a woodpecker she saw out the window. They continued to have a lengthy conversation about the bird and have maintained a close relationship since.

Research by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, psychologists who have studied relationships for over 40 years, found that couples who engage in “connection bids” are a foundational fabric of relational communication, Psychology Today explained.

A connection bid occurs when one partner seeks attention, affirmation, or any other positive interaction, and the other partner’s response can either foster closeness or create distance.

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A positive reaction, or turning inwards, signifies one partner engaging with the other’s bid for connection. It could be as simple as asking if they saw a bird, to more complex bids like asking for advice.

Research showed that couples who turn toward connection bids 86 per cent of the time have significantly higher chances of maintaining a lasting, healthy relationship compared with those who do not.

The hashtag #birdtest has over 7 million views with users testing the trend.

“EVERY time I see an eagle, I’m like look an eagle! But my husband doesn’t respond. Probably getting a divorce now,” one TikToker joked.

Another user posted a video telling her partner she saw a hummingbird. His response was to look out the window with her and scan the backyard for the bird.

“They’re not usually out this time of day,” he responded.

Unknowingly being challenged, his partner tells him she “loves him so much” after passing the test.

Though the TikTok trend may seem like a lighthearted challenge, research shows that “the basic principles of connection, attention, and mutual respect remain the cornerstones of a strong, enduring partnership.”

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