How I Met Your Mother’s Olive Rule And Why It Makes Sense

How I Met Your Mother may not have got their finale right, but they certainly got the Olive Rule correct. 

What is it?

The Olive Rule, in a nut shell, is the idea that opposites attract. But not just attract, they compliment each other. You quite literally find your other half.

How I Met Your Mother's Olive Rule And Why It Makes Sense


So, imagine you are in a restaurant on a date with a guy/girl you’ve only just met. You have almost no knowledge of who they are or what they are like, only that they are extremely cute and you are definitely interested.

As you talk, you distractedly chose your food, not wanting to focus any time on the menu when you could be talking to your date instead. But when the food comes, you’ve realised your mistake; the plate has olives.

Obviously you can’t make a fuss in front of your date, you can’t come across as a child in a tantrum that won’t eat their food. But if you eat the olive you’ll gag. 


So you pick them off, leave them to them to the side and push through. You’re an adult, you can handle it.

But your date notices the pile of olives to the side, and figuring that you may not be wanting to eat them yourself, tentatively asks: “are you not eating those?” Ashamed, you admit no, and that you hate olives. 

How I Met Your Mother’s Olive Rule And Why It Makes Sense


Your date now has the biggest smile as they ask if they can have them. Of course you happily hand them over, and now you have the perfect mate. 

The girl that will always take your olives off your hands. 

The perfect balance in a relationship. 


Not Just Olives

Obviously this doesn’t just apply to olives, otherwise it would be a very random and singular rule. It’s a rule of opposites, so this can apply to food, film and any other interests.

For example, gherkins. A controversial food in the world. When me and boyfriend are at McDonalds, and he orders a burger, he’ll always give me his gherkins. Sometimes, on days he feels very loving, hell order extra gherkins in his burger so he has more to give to me. 

imagine you are in a restaurant and you are on a date with a guy/girl you have met on whilst shopping or bumped into in the coffee shop. You have almost knowledge of who they are or what they are like only that they are extremely cute and you are definitely interested. So you are conversing asking about what they like and what they don’t like and you begin to read the menu you half heartily pick a dish that sounds like something you would eat. The food comes and you are hit with a dilemma the plate has olives and throughout your journey as an adult you have always avoided olives because you tried it that one time when you were younger and you realised that they are definitely not for you. But asking to return it would feel to rude and this is your first date you don’t want to be that person or even yet you don’t quite know how your date would react if you threw a tantrum about olives you finish your food but you leave the olives and have created a small space around your plate that houses only the olives. Your date now asks “are you finished?” and you reply with “yes” then they say the words that now you become concerned “do you mind if I have those?” they take it off your plate and begins to hoover them they inhale so quickly it is like a magic trick but is it bad? Of course it isn’t that small gesture has opened your world with much more possibilities now when you go out to eat or when you get one of those fancy drinks with an olive in you have a partner in crime whole will relieve you of the olives that you leave behind it will make it look like you don’t waste food and it will also keep your partner happy.


It’s a small gesture, but one that shows that you love them wholeheartedly. You are willing to embrace their quirks that you don’t agree with. 

It works both ways, I’m not such a big fan of meat, while my boyfriend is a massive carnivore. So when we go to a carvery I order the meats that he likes and pass them over on to his plate so he has extra. This leaves me more room for the vegetables and roast potatoes on my plate. A win-win in my eyes. 

Love can be shown in many different ways, and taking rejected food from your partner is one of those ways. A strange one, I admit, but one where you get a food you love so its a great rule in the end.

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Not Just Food 

I did say it wasn’t just food. It also works for tv programmes and other interests.

For example, Love Island. You may absolutely love it, and are watching it religiously every night, your boyfriend on the other hand may hate it. So when you watch the show, he can be doing his own thing. Say reading a book or playing his games.


How I Met Your Mother's Olive Rule And Why It Makes Sense

Our differences keep us who we are, and give us independence away from each other. We aren’t the same person, and we need to accept this. We can enjoy our own things respectively.

We can even introduce each other to these things and we may surprise ourselves, we could learn to love something we thought we hated. How many boyfriends have actually ended up getting into Love Island with their girlfriends? I know quite a few who have ended up more invested than their girlfriend.


Similarities are great, but differences are just as important in a relationship. 

It Makes Sense

I’m not saying to get all your relationship advice from How I Met Your Mother because the show is truly awful for showing what is a healthy relationship. 

This was a man who spent 9 seasons telling his 2 kids all the women he dated and slept with. 


But the show had a few golden nuggets in it, the Olive Rule being the main one. We not only need the Olive Rule so food doesn’t go to waste, but also so we can make each other happy in the small ways. 

Love is in the day-to-day routines, not the big gestures. Show you care by giving them your olives.

Comment below any more rules from TV shows that you think could actually apply in real life.

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