20201214M Day 349: BIRDY Authentic Relating Relationship Game

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Check-in: I’m missing my beloved and wondering if I will see her in a week. A cold front blew in last night. I woke up from a dream at 2am and went outside to look for meteors. I saw a long cloud or vapor trail across the sky but no meteors. I had homemade cherry pie for breakfast with my Aunt and my friend K. Her daughter made it before leaving for CA. Music playing this morning has been the beautiful piano music of Ludovico Einaudi followed by an ecstatic dance set (1/17/19) by DJ Hamid. K and I are going to do virtual yoga in an hour – I’m looking forward to stretching my body.

BIRDY is an authentic relating (AR) game based on a relationship exercise I learned from a friend. I learned it as BIRD, and then added Y. BIRD is an acronym that stands for Boundaries, Intensions, Requests, and Desires.

AR Games are structured communication exercises, about 10-25 minutes in length, that are often led by a facilitator who establishes a safe container for the exercises. To establish a container, participants agree to certain agreements, such as confidentiality upon request, respect yourself and others, lean into your edge, and be present. The guided exercises/games can either be played as a full group or in pairs, triads, quads, etc.

Whether you are on a first date, in a fresh relationship, or have been in a relationship for decades, BIRDY can help you build a deeper and more authentic relationship with someone. I have only played BIRDY in a pair group, but it could be played in groups of three or more. For simplicity, I will describe the game play for a pair of two players, Austen (he/him) and Blair (she/her).

  1. Austen goes first and shares with Blair a boundary, intension, request, or desire. There is no need to go in BIRD order. It is best to pick whatever is alive in the moment.
  2. Blair replies by repeating back Austen’s boundary, intension, request, or desire as close as possible using the sentence stem “I hear you have a …”. Blair then continues her reply with the sentence stem “Hearing that, I feel …” and shares a particular feeling she is having and/or describes any physical changes she senses in her body.
  3. Austen then replies with the sentence stem “Hearing that, I feel …” and shares a particular feeling he is having and/or describes any physical changes he senses in his body.
  4. Switch players and now Blair shares with Austen a boundary, intension, request, or desire. Continue going back and forth until any pre-established game time is up or for a particular number of rounds. It’s a good challenge to play long enough for each player to have a chance to share at least one of each boundary, intension, request, and desire.
  5. As an option, the sharer can add a “why” to their share. This is for the Y in BIRDY.

Here’s an example of play:

Austen: My Intension is to date you and explore a romantic relationship with you. This is because I find you attractive and understand that you are, like me, looking for a partner to settle down with and start a family.

Blair: I hear that you want to date me and explore a romantic relationship with me because you find me attractive and we are both looking for a partner to start a family with. Hearing that, I feel a bit of tightness in my chest and throat, and feel a mix of anxiousness and excitement.

Austen: Hearing that, I feel curious and optimistic.

Blair: My Intension is to get to know you slowly and be open to either friendship or romance. This is because I have recently ended a two-year relationship and am wanting some time to digest that relationship before getting into a new one.

Austen: I hear that you want to get to know me slowly and are open to either friendship or partnership. You have recently ended a two-year relationship and want some time before beginning a new one. Hearing that, I feel empathy, compassion, happiness, and relief.

Blair: Hearing that, I feel curious and understood.

Austen: I have a Desire to put on some music and dance with you in the living room. This is because I enjoy dancing and am feeling playful now.