# Why does covalent bonding satisfy atoms?

Having to retake an introductory chemistry course has gotten me thinking. Covalent bonding is where electrons are shared between two atoms that both want more electrons.

Let us take $$\ce{O2}$$ as an example.

The red and purple oxygen atoms share 2 electrons. This means that they now both have 8. Fantastic!

However, electrons do not sit around statically but rather buzz around randomly. If the electron moves around, then on average having 4 electrons between 2 atoms means 2 electrons each. This means no one is any better off than from when we started.

My question is, seeing as the electron sharing would actually mean that on average each atom still only has 6 electrons, how can they become stable in this covalent bond?

• One thing to keep in mind is that a lone oxygen atom does not want 10 electrons (including the 2 $1s$) around it. As a doubly-negative ion it will rapidly autoionize. But, it does prefer to share a few electrons with another oxygen atom (that shares a few with it) as part of them negotiating to make a molecule. – Jon Custer Mar 31 '20 at 14:14
• chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/710/… – Mithoron Mar 31 '20 at 14:57
• What answer would you want really? It's clear that "having 8 electrons" is a dumb rule of thumb for kids, especially in this case - dioxygen is a biradical and its bonding looks quite differently then you write, but on your level of learning of chemistry... let's just say that "electrons do not sit around statically but rather buzz around" isn't useful thinking there, some would even think it completely incorrect; not me but it's utterly useless when actual bonding is concerned. – Mithoron Mar 31 '20 at 15:09