The Bird Test Is Trending on TikTok (& It Actually Says a Lot About Your Relationship)

It's way more accurate than the orange peel theory

bird test couple lookng at birds
pixdeluxe/getty images

Remember the TikTok viral orange peel theory? You know, the one that goes that if you ask your partner to peel an orange for you and they do it, it's a strong indicator that they love and support you, because they’re performing this small act of kindness. If they refuse, it's supposedly a red flag that shows their lack of care and support. Well, there's another potential way to measure the strength of your relationship that's trending on the platform: It's called the bird test.

The bird test can be used in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones. In the video below (which has amassed more than half a million likes), TikTok creator @alyssacardib gives the example of sitting in a coffee shop with a friend and pointing to a hummingbird out the window. Her friend immediately turns to look and the two watch and talk about the bird for a bit. That, she says, is a sign that her friend is interested in and listening to her. She says, “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.”

As for how legitimate it is, we'd venture to say it's way more accurate than the orange peel theory, which licensed marriage and family therapist Neha Kumar, L.M.F.T., told us she's wary of. She said of the theory, "I think these types of tests are never a good sign. If you feel the need to test your relationship, that is a red flag in and of itself."

The bird test, on the other hand, is actually rooted in research on relationships. It's connected to work done by the Gottman Institute (which applies research on relationships to practical, down-to-earth therapy and trains therapists committed to helping couples) about “bids,” or attempts a person makes to connect with their partner. According to a Gottman Institute blog, "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." So pointing out a pretty bird is considered a bid, and how your partner responds to it says a lot about your connection. The blog continues, "When our partner denies our bids, we internalize the experience. Our brains subconsciously keep track of how many bids are accepted or rejected by our partners. When our partner constantly turns away or against our bids, we begin to feel frustrated. We are more inclined to criticize our partners, which pushes them to be defensive and may result in an argument."

So while it might seem silly to think about something as small pointing out a hummingbird to your partner being an indicator of the health of your relationship, it actually could say a lot about the strength of the connections you have with people.

Anyone else have the sudden urge to go bird watching?

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...