TikToker Put Boyfriend "On Probation" for His Level of Cleanliness: "He Kinda Liked It"
One couple is managing different lifestyles by a performance improvement plan and TikTok is divided.
Nadeen Hui is doing whatever it takes to save her relationship, including putting her boyfriend on "probation" for his messy ways. In a TikTok posted last month, Hui, a 30-year-old boutique concierge owner from San Francisco, revealed how her lifestyle is very different from her boyfriend's and things weren't going well. She told BuzzFeed, "He was someone who could let plates stack up in the sink for two or three days, then he'll eventually do them, whereas I was someone who needed to wash plates and utensils right after I used them." Fed up, Hui said, she "PIP'd her boyfriend in real life" and explained, For those of you not (working) in tech, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) … is what you get put on when they're about to fire you," and TikTok blew up with very strong opinions on both sides.
The Couple Moved in Quickly at the Start of the Pandemic
Hui said the two moved in very early on and didn't really know each other's lifestyles yet, but explained how she preferred it that way. "We started living together really early on in our relationship so we saw all of each other's living habits and lifestyles super quickly. and I honestly think it worked out better this way because we could decide if we actually wanted to work on these lifestyle habits together or split up. since it was so new, there wouldn't be much love lost and we'd still be friends. but ultimately, we decided that we wanna stay together, and these lifestyle changes were for the better so why not do it? I had to learn to be more accepting and easy going, and he had to learn to be more tidy and considerate of shared spaces."
Hui Felt She Wasn't Compatible with Her Boyfriend Even Though "They Had a Lot of Love for Each Other"
In her video, Hui said, "My boyfriend and I were having a lot of issues in the beginning, like a lot. Ultimately, I felt like we weren't compatible even though we had a lot of love for each other. As a last straw, we decided to do a performance improvement plan."
What the PIP Entailed
Hui shared the details of the PIP and explained they had a "shared note with daily and weekly tasks that he needed to do, and a set of things he needed to work on." She elaborated to BuzzFeed and said, "For lifestyle and home cleanliness, our compromise was on time — rather than him doing the cleaning after 2–3 days, it would be done at the end of the night, and I would be more easygoing on not having to have things done right away. It included things like: putting all the dog toys away in the basket, walking around the house and collecting all used cups, bowls, plates, etc., loading and starting the dishwasher, sorting clothes to hang up or for the hamper, and taking out the trash. The actual written down plan was just for him, because he needed a set to-do list to run through, the same way most people learn to build habits (you repeat the same things every day until you naturally do it)."
Why She Felt the PIP Was Necessary
Hui shared why she felt this was the way to approach the situation and how the PIP helped her boyfriend. "He's an engineer, and sometimes it's really hard to communicate with him without using something that he can already relate to. Plus, he kinda liked it."
The PIP Worked and the Couple are Still Going Strong
Hui said the PIP worked and they still use a Kanban board (a project management tool often used in office settings), which helps her partner stay on top of what household chores need to be done. "That has been the only thing that has stuck and works." She concluded the video saying, "We also do weekly retrospectives where we check in with each other at the end of each week to see how we're doing, and that's my favorite."
Hui Received So Much Backlash, She Did a Follow Up Video Addressing the Haters
While some people were all about the PIP and loved Hui's approach to saving her relationship, others weren't so kind and were very vocal about it. One person wrote, "this is so condescending," while someone else said, "I'd prefer not to be someone's manager or assign tasks though.." Another user wrote, "And this is why I don't date sw engineers can't be project managing at work and my personal life too." Hui did a follow up to clear a few things up. She said, this wasn't something she did to get what she wanted and stated how that wasn't ok. She also said it wasn't just about him and that she needed to work on things too. "We literally tried everything we could. I didn't give him an ultimatum, It didn't come from a toxic argument. It's not some manipulation tactic. He's an amazing person, but he just wasn't a fit for me at that time. Our lifestyles just didn't fit. That was it." The two have been together for over three years now and ask each other every week if they feel like they were loved, what they could have done better and how to improve.
There Was Also Positive Feedback
Hui did get a lot of negative comments, but it wasn't all bad. "I think a lot of what I said in the video was taken out of context and also probably triggered a lot of unhealed hearts, which is understandable. The majority of the men hate it, and the majority of the women applaud my approach. Multiple marriage and couples therapists reached out and said this is great communication. Some men think that this would have saved their previous relationships. It's a mixed bag, but without context and in a 60 second video, it's hard to share everything."
Why Hui Shared Her Story
She told BuzzFeed that she decided to share her story on TikTok to "share this experience with all the women who struggle to find the right, loving partners because they tend to give too much, or feel too much, or be taken advantage of. Been there, done that. And you don't learn unless someone shows you that you can absolutely have all your needs met. I'm thankful to have learned these things from my friends and aunties who are in very happy, successful marriages, but I didn't grow up learning these things, and I know a lot of women didn't either."