Reading Research

Top 15 Relationship and Social Theories from “How I Met Your Mother”

“How I Met Your Mother” is a popular TV series that explores the intricacies of relationships, friendships, and life lessons through a group of close friends. Throughout the show, various theories are introduced to explain or predict social and romantic dynamics. Some of the most notable theories include the Olive Theory, the Lemon Law, the Porch Test, the Hot/Crazy Scale, the Platinum Rule, the Mermaid Theory, and the Dobler-Dahmer Theory. These concepts not only provide humor but also shed light on human behavior in various situations.


  1. The Olive Theory: According to the Olive Theory, a perfect couple is formed when one person loves olives and the other hates them, complementing each other’s preferences. This idea was inspired by Marshall and Lily’s relationship.
  2. The Lemon Law: Proposed by Barney, the Lemon Law states that a person can end a date within the first five minutes if they realize it’s not going well without any consequences or explanation required.
  3. The Porch Test: Introduced by Ted, the Porch Test evaluates whether someone fits into the group dynamic by envisioning them sitting on a porch with the rest of the group in their old age.
  4. The Hot/Crazy Scale: The Hot/Crazy Scale, another one of Barney’s creations, suggests that a person’s attractiveness is inversely proportional to their level of craziness.
  5. The Platinum Rule: The Platinum Rule states that one should never date someone they see regularly, like a coworker or neighbor, as the potential fallout from a bad breakup could make future interactions awkward.
  6. The Mermaid Theory: According to the Mermaid Theory, any woman a man is friends with will eventually become attractive to him after enough time has passed, similar to how sailors would mistake manatees for beautiful mermaids due to their prolonged isolation at sea.
  7. The Pit Guy/Girl Theory: A Pit Guy/Girl is someone who is so infatuated with another person that they’d metaphorically dig a pit to keep that person in, as a way of expressing their obsession.
  8. The Sexless Innkeeper: This term refers to someone who attempts to initiate a romantic encounter by inviting a potential partner to stay at their place, only to have the situation remain platonic.
  9. The Reacher and the Settler: In every relationship, there is one person who is “reaching” for someone who is more desirable (the Reacher) and one who is “settling” for someone less desirable (the Settler).
  10. The Dobler-Dahmer Theory: This theory suggests that grand romantic gestures can be seen as either endearing (à la Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything”) or creepy (like serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer), depending on whether the recipient is attracted to the person making the gesture.
  11. The Three Days Rule: According to this rule, one should wait three days after a first date before calling or texting the other person, as to not appear too eager.
  12. The Front Porch: This is another reference to the Porch Test, where the characters envision themselves in old age, sitting on a front porch together, to determine if a new romantic interest fits into their friend group.
  13. The Woo Girls Theory: The Woo Girls are a group of women who go out partying and constantly shout “Woo!” as a way of expressing their excitement. This theory suggests that some people need this kind of behavior to feel alive and have fun.
  14. The Ewok Line: The Ewok Line is a theory that posits one’s opinion of Ewoks from Star Wars is determined by their age, with those born before the release of “Return of the Jedi” generally disliking Ewoks and those born after finding them endearing.
  15. The Chain of Screaming: This theory proposes that when someone is yelled at, they will likely yell at someone else in order to release their frustration, creating a chain reaction of screaming.

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