TikTok's olive theory is about compatibility

TikTok’s Olive Theory Is A Viral Compatibility Test

You might remember it from How I Met Your Mother.

TikTok: @mushr00mfairy222

If How I Met Your Father hasn’t inspired you to revisit the original How I Met Your Mother yet, TikTok’s latest trend might be the extra push you need. In the show, the characters propose an olive theory — a way to test compatibility using, well, olives. According to the olive theory, in a perfect couple, one person loves olives while the other hates them. Apparently, TikTok agrees. The #OliveTheory hashtag has 72 million views on the platform, and it’s starting to sound like you should order some on your next date.

As Ted explains in How I Met Your Mother Episode 1, the olive theory goes like this: “The olive theory is based on my friends Marshall and Lily. He hates olives. She loves them. And in a weird way, that’s what makes them such a great couple. Perfect balance.” (Spoiler: Later in the episode, it’s revealed that Marshall doesn’t actually hate olives. He just didn’t want to say “no” to Lily when she asked for his olives on their first date. Despite the olives stacked against them, the couple decides to “make it work.”)

The core of this theory can be summed up as “opposites attract” — no matter how they feel about olives and pickles. Here are some videos explaining the #OliveTheory and why users think it’s a good barometer for overall compatibility.

As one user captioned their video, “i live by the olive theory.” Commenters seemed eager to buy into it, too. “My ex hated olives. So do I. My current relationship makes me the happiest I’ve ever been. He loves olives,” one user commented. Another joked, “6 years deep, and we both hate olives. do I leave?”

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule — for this one, the exception is built into the show, and TikTokers aren’t above pointing it out. “But the olive theory is not true 🥺 the real story behind it is wholesome though,” one user explained. “They both like olives, he just says he doesn’t so she can have them. THAT’s true love,” another wrote.

Whether you and your SO are naturally the perfect match, or they’re willing to give up their olives for you, this theory is proof that sometimes it’s good to have different tastes.