Top 10 Barney Stinson Rules To Live By



Top 10 Barney Stinson Rules To Live By

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Welcome to WatchMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Barney Stinson Rules of Life. For this list, we'll be going over the aphorisms, rules, and theories devised by Barney Stinson on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” Our countdown includes the Ewok Line, the Platinum Rule, the Chain of Screaming, the Hot/Crazy Scale, and more!

#10: The Cheerleader Effect

“Not a Father’s Day”

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. While hanging out at the bar, Barney laments the lack of attractive women around. The rest of the gang points out a group in the corner they all agree are hot. However, Barney asks them to look again. Collectively, they appear attractive, in a phenomenon he calls “the cheerleader effect,” though it goes by other names. Just like cheerleaders, these women appear hot as a group, but individually, not so much. Barney later experiences the same effect with a group of guys he befriends. Notably, real scientists have studied this cognitive bias and found that it has some merit. They even named it after Barney’s theory!

#9: Who Corporate America Wants

“The Possimpible”

When Robin needs to get a job to stay in the U.S., the gang goes over their resumes. Barney suggests a video one and uses his own to demonstrate. It’s a perfectly Barney affair, complete with him interviewing himself using different accents, empty, meaningless aphorisms, and a mini-music video of Barney singing a song about how awesome he is. As amazing as it is, his friends point out that it ultimately says nothing about his qualifications. Barney tells them that’s the point – that corporate America wants people who seem like daring mavericks, but who don’t actually take any risks or go against the grain. It may come in a ridiculous package, but Barney’s spitting facts here.

#8: The Ewok Line

“Field Trip”

When Barney learns that his girlfriend Nora doesn’t like Ewoks, he’s quite upset. But not for normal, “Star Wars” fan reasons. Instead, he interrupts a tour Ted is giving to do a presentation on the subject. He has quite a lot of material prepared, but Ted tells him to get to the point. The point is that, according to Barney, those born after a certain year do like Ewoks and those born before don't like them. This Ewok line correlates with how young someone is, because of how Ewoks reminded kids of their teddy bears. Therefore – Nora is older than she claims to be. The theory doesn’t entirely work, since people born after the line can watch them later, but it’s still fun.

#7: The Three Days Rule

“The Three Days Rule”

Let’s be clear – Barney didn’t invent the three days rule. Everyone knows you wait three days to call someone after you get their number or after a date. It’s been an unwritten rule for dating for what feels like forever. Or, according to Barney, around 2000 years. After Ted considers calling a girl immediately after getting her number, Barney chastises him and cites Jesus as the one who began the three days rule. Barney’s description of Jesus’ resurrection as only he can tell it is hilarious and surprisingly apt. We’d love to hear him tell more Bible stories, even if the dialogue sounds a little “stilted.”

#6: The Chain of Screaming

“The Chain of Screaming”

After Marshall’s boss yells at him, he’s at a loss at how to respond. At the bar, Barney tells him about the Chain of Screaming, or the Circle of Screaming. In this theory, bosses will always scream at those below them, who in turn take out their anger and frustrations on those below them or let it bleed into their home life. Occasionally it loops back around, hence the circle. While it’s certainly not a healthy rule to live by, it is a common phenomenon in the workplace and other places in life.

#5: The Date Time Continuum


When his girlfriend Stella invites Ted to her sister’s wedding in 6 months, he is forced to reexamine their relationship. He cites a rule devised by Barney. In this rule, Barney states that you should never make plans with someone you’re dating longer than the amount of time you’ve been going out with them. A relationship’s time scale is relative, so making plans outside the “boundaries” that have existed thus far can easily lead to complications. Although there are probably exceptions, like with every rule, it’s still a great guideline, particularly for early on in a relationship.

#4: The Mermaid Theory

“The Mermaid Theory”

When Marshall gets a new secretary, Barney tells him it’s only a matter of time before he’s attracted to her. Marshall is initially dismissive since he doesn’t find her attractive. Barney relates how the myth of the mermaid came to be – that sailors mistook manatees for beautiful women after too long at sea. Which is true. But Barney’s Mermaid Theory is that no matter how initially repugnant you find someone, spending enough time around them can and will lead to them going from manatee to mermaid. As rooted as Barney’s theories are in bro culture, this totally applies to all sexes. Everyone can hear that siren song eventually.

#3: The Hot/Crazy Scale

“How I Met Everyone Else”

The gang meets Ted’s new girlfriend, whose name he can’t remember, and upon hearing they met online, Barney concludes she must be crazy if she’s beautiful. He then explains the Hot/Crazy scale, which he illustrates in animated graph form. According to the scale, a woman must be at least as hot as she is crazy to be worth dating. “Blah Blah” makes several moves on the scale during the evening. We like to think that most of these theories can apply to women and men, but in this case, crazy dudes are not worth it, regardless of hotness! We’ll let Donald Glover explain: “…if you have a crazy boyfriend – you gon’ die.”

#2: The Platinum Rule

“The Platinum Rule”

Ted’s embarrassing butterfly tattoo is a source of endless amusement for his friends. It also leads him to meet Dr. Stella Zinman, who is his tattoo removal expert. The rest of the gang are incredulous that he asks Stella out, because, as Barney puts it, “don’t poop where you eat.” He goes on to explain what he calls “the Platinum Rule.” Named in reference to the “Golden Rule” in the Bible, which can be interpreted as “love thy neighbor,” the Platinum Rule is to never LOVE thy neighbor. As he details throughout the episode, getting involved with someone you see on a regular basis almost always leads to awkwardness and unexpected complications. It’s aptly named since it’s a valuable lesson. Especially with service personnel.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The Lemon Law, “The Duel”

An Amicable Way to Back Out of Doomed Dates? If Only It Were So Easy…

The International Date Line, “Bedtime Stories”

The Line Between Date & Dinner with a Friend/Acquaintance Is Finer Than You’d Think

The Freeway Theory, “First Time in New York”

Every Relationship/Freeway Has Its Bumps, But Make You Want to Take an Exit

#1: What Makes a Legendary Moment

“Sunrise” & “Sweet Taste of Liberty”

The night before his wedding to Robin, Barney gets drunk and decides to impart his wisdom to two young guys he meets on the street. His final and most poignant piece of advice is this: “whatever you do in this life... it's not legendary unless your friends are there to see it.” It’s a sentiment that Barney has expressed to Ted before, but never so succinctly. Barney gets up to all kinds of weird things and he’s constantly dragging his friends into misadventures. They always make for good stories. And that’s the point – because legends are made in the telling and they can’t be told unless they’re lived first.