16 Social Theories And Relationship Rules From "How I Met Your Mother"

How I Met Your Mother celebrates its legen-(wait-for-it)-dary 200th episode Monday night. Here’s to all of the awesome stuff they’ve taught us about bro-ships, love, and life.

1. The Three Days Rule

Overview: You have to wait three days from receiving a number to call the person.

Theoretical Origin: Jesus invented the three days rule by waiting three days between his death and resurrection. According to Barney, “If he had only waited one day, a lot of people wouldn’t have even heard he died. They’d be all, “Hey Jesus, what up?” and Jesus would probably be like, “What up? I died yesterday!” and they’d be all, “Uh, you look pretty alive to me, dude…” and then Jesus would have to explain how he was resurrected, and how it was a miracle, and the dude’d be like “Uhh okay, whatever you say, bro…”

Validity Score: [10/10] This theory draws from the fundamental age old question: WWJD (What would Jesus do?)

2. The Hot/Crazy Scale

Overview: A person is allowed to be crazy, as long as they are equally hot. A graph is used to display someone’s hot-to-crazy ratio. Ideally, you want your date to be above the diagonal line, indicating that they are hotter than they are crazy.

Validity Score: [6/10] The widespread relevance of this theory depends on the mental stability and shallowness of a dater. But, no one maintains the psyche to put up with loose canons for too long (see: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days). Regardless of how hot a date may be, waiting anxiously for them to become unhinged eventually takes a toll on one’s brain/body/apartment/life.

3. The Lemon Law

Overview: From the moment a date begins, you have five minutes to decide whether you’re going to commit to an entire evening. If you don’t, there are no hard feelings and no repercussions.

Practical Origin: Some U.S. state laws provide a remedy for purchasers of cars and other consumer goods in order to compensate for products that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance.

Validity Score: [2/10] While this might save people a lot of time and misery, it’s grossly inhumane.

4. The No Questions Asked Rule

Overview: Fulfilling a request for a friend without making inquiries about the request’s potentially shady nature. In exchange for doing the request without making further reference to the incident, friends earn their own opportunity to impose their unquestioned requests in the future.

Validity Score: [6/10] This is such a practical rule to impose. Just imagine: “I need you to go buy me a burrito right now, NO QUESTIONS ASKED,” or something else a little more sketchy. The problem is actually finding acquaintances who aren’t interested enough to ask you so many/any questions about everything. Those are rare breeds.

5. Graduation Goggles

Overview: The nostalgic feeling one has about a time or someone in their life when it is about to end, even if the time/that person was completely miserable. As soon as you are about to leave, quit or break up with someone or something, you start to enjoy everything you hated about it before because you realize that it will soon be gone forever.

Theoretical Origin: Robin likens the experience to “getting misty on graduation day,” because despite high school having been, “four years of bullies making fun of kids with braces… you realize you’re never gonna see those jerks again.”

Robin’s Advice: “You can’t trust graduation goggles. They are just as misleading as beer goggles, bridesmaid goggles and that’s just a bulky outdated cell phone in his front pocket goggles.”

Validity Score: [10/10] Entirely relatable. This reaction ultimately draws from a fear of change. Whether its high school, college, an internship, a job or a relationship, everyone is destined to be completely miserable at some point of life. It’s reasonably scary exiting one thing that you already know makes you miserable for another thing that may bring forth a brand new form of hell.

6. Woo Girls

Overview: A demographic of single females who love to go out partying and constantly shout “woo!” Woos are used to cover up for deep-seated misery.

Woo-ing Limitations: Females who are happy can’t woo.

Validity Score: [9/10] We’ve all heard them. Their high pitch cheers have made your ears bleed and your eyes roll. However, by claiming that these woos actually serve to mask buried grievances implies that these girls actually have some depth to them, which is difficult to imagine.

7. The International Date Line

Overview: The figurative line between identifying a get-together as a “Date” or “Not a Date.” Literally the line divides a globe into equal halves. One half is red with the label “Not a date” and the other half is green with the label “Date”. As events unfold throughout an encounter, the globe rotates until the true nature of the get-together is determined.

Barney’s Warning: “The international date line is the line between happiness and sorrow. On that side, you’ll be home tonight. On that side, home tomorrow.”

Validity Score: [7/10] Grasping the status of a get-together influences important factors such as attire, discussion topics, winks, leg brushes, who’s paying the check, and post-encounter invitations.

8. The Ewok Line

Overview: The Ewok line correlates the birth year of a person and the subsequent appreciation of Ewoks. It is used to determine whether someone is too old for you to date.

Origin: Ewoks split Star Wars fans into two camps: those born before and those born after May 25, 1973. Anyone born to the left of the Ewok line was at least 10 years old when Return of the Jedi came out and thus had a low appreciation for the Ewoks because they were too old for something so cute. Anyone born to the right of the line had a high appreciation for the Ewoks because they reminded them of their teddy bears.

Barney’s Theoretical Application “…By the immutable laws of the line, my 29-year old girlfriend who hates Ewoks must in fact be no younger than…37.”

Validity Score: [3/10] This framework is probably only useful to Barney.

9. Acceptable Age-Difference Formula

Overview: The formula places a dating floor on the acceptable age of a female depending on the age of the Bro. The female’s must be greater or equal than the bro’s age divided by 2 plus 7.

x >= y/2 + 7

x = chick’s age; y= Bro’s age

Practical Origin: Article 113 of The Bro Code

Validity Score: You do the math.

10. The Chain of Screaming Theory

Overview: The Chain of Screaming (also known as The Circle of Screaming or The Pyramid of Screaming), states that once screamed at by a higher authority, one must scream at an inferior.

Barney’s Theoretical Application:Marshall’s boss is Artillery Arthur. Arthur’s boss’s boss screams at Arthur’s boss. Arthur’s boss screams at Arthur. Arthur screams at Marshall. Marshall screams at Lily. Lily screams at a student who then screams at her father who turns out to be Arthur’s boss’ boss.

Barney’s Prescription: When your boss screams at you, you never scream back. Find an inferior to scream at.

Validity Score: [8/10] “Never scream at your boss” is just common sense. However, yelling at an innocent subordinate to let out some steam is just not cool. This theory displays how unmanaged anger breeds more anger. Cool it, people.

11. The Mermaid Theory

Overview: Every woman, no matter how initially repugnant, has a mermaid clock— the time it takes for a man to realize he wants to sleep with her. This is due to a woman’s hotness being in direct proportion to the time exposed to her.

Theoretical Origin: Long ago, sailors stuck at sea would get so desperate for female companionship that they started to picture the manatees as foxy fish babes, or mermaids.

Prescription for un-mermaiding: Once mermaid-ified, a woman can become unattractive again through pregnancy or throwing up. However, an unattractive woman can return to being a mermaid again by breastfeeding.

Validity Score [5/10]: I have doubts that all males will want to sleep with every heinous female they are ever overly exposed to. This theory simultaneously implies that: 1. Males and females can never be nonsexual friends. 2. Males are capable of getting past looks to become attracted to homely females. 3. Males will want to sleep with just about everyone

12. Freeway Theory

Overview: Relationships are like freeways. There are exits that can be taken to get out of them:
1) 6 hours (aka one night stand)
2) 4 days
3) 3 weeks
4) 7 months
5) 1.5 years/18 months
6) 18 years
7) Death

Barney’s Remix: “Watch your steps when you get up kids, cause I’m about to drop some knowledge. Relationships are like freeways, freeways have exits, so do relationships. The first exit, my personal favorite is 6 hours in, you meet, you talk, you have sex, you exit while she’s in the shower. The next exits are: 4 days, 3 weeks, 7 months, a year and a half, 18 years, and the last exit, death, which if you’ve been dating the same woman your whole life, it’s like “are we there yet?”

Robin’s Counterargument: “Okay but if relationships are like a freeway, then saying ‘mm hmm hmm’ is like, getting into the carpool lane. And, I don’t want to take an exit but at the same time I’m not ready to get into the carpool lane. Because what’s in the carpool lane? Oh, it’s a big diamond!”

Validity Score [9/10]: Once you stop enjoying the ride, pump the breaks.

13. Platinum Rule

Overview: Never date someone you will see on a regular basis. Such relationships never work out in the end and lead to never-ending suffering as those involved would constantly see each other.

The stages include:
1) Attraction
2) Bargaining
3) Submission
4) Perks
5) Tipping Point
6) Purgatory
7) Confrontation
8) Fall Out
9) Co-existence (added by Ted)

Validity: [6/10] There are some people who you see on a regular basis that are easily avoided and replaced: your neighbor, your dentist, your bartender, etc. The cutie who perfectly brews your cup of coffee every morning is not worth the risk.

14. The Engagement Ring Effect

Overview: Engagement rings have power over your social presence. When a woman puts on an engagement ring, she becomes invisible to men. Any special attention or perks that she previously received ceases as her unavailability is outwardly clear.

Pop Culture Equivalents: “It’s like when Bilbo Baggins wears the One Ring in The Hobbit. The ring is like the cloak that Harry Potter wears to sneak around Hogwarts.”

Marshall and Lily’s Advice: “It’s nice to be groped by strangers…but nothing beats the rush you get when that one special person looks at you and everyone else becomes invisible.”

Validity Score: [7/10] Landing free stuff is undoubtedly awesome, but being the recipient of so much genuine love and affection from one person is really quite a special form of special attention.

15. The Lobster Situation

Overview: The maddening experience of wanting something so badly simply because you have been told that you can’t have it.

Practical Origin: Refers to the time Robin ate lobster after a doctor told her that she could never have it, as she is allergic to it.

Robin’s Prescription: Do it once to get it out of your system. Robin never wanted lobster again after she ate them one more time.

Validity Score: [10/10] The sensation of wanting something just because you’ve been told it’s off limits is all too real. Nothing makes you want something more than knowing you can’t have it, even if that thing isn’t even really that great. How totally effed up is that?

16. The Dobler-Dahmer Theory

Overview: A fine line between love and insanity. If both people are into each other, then a big romantic gesture works: Dobler. If one person isn’t into the other, the same gesture comes off serial-killer crazy: Dahmer.

Practical Origin: The Theory was used as a reference to Lloyd Dobler from the late 1980’s romantic comedy film, Say Anything, holding up the boom box outside Dianne Court’s window. While the Dahmer is a reference to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Validity Score: [4/10] With one or two crazy dating parties involved, a big romantic gesture might work. A big romantic relationship, however, will most certainly not work.

17. Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M. Rule

Overview: Exactly how the title sounds.

Cited Exception:The birth of Ted’s son, Luke, being born after 2 A.M.

Ted’s Appeal: Some rules were meant to be broken

Validity Score: [10/10] Being awake past 2 A.M. means not being asleep. Not being asleep is inherently not good.

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