By now, I am sure we have all heard of the golden rule with regards to treating others. The golden rule was often enforced in classrooms and other social groups growing up and it says to treat others like you would like to be treated. It makes sense when you first hear it. If you want someone to be nice to you, you need to be nice to them. That has always been the go-to rule for how to treat others but I recently heard of another rule that makes a lot more sense to me. It’s called the Platinum Rule. This rule says to treat others like THEY would like to be treated. The platinum rule challenges you to exercise true empathy and listening to discover how someone else would actually like to be treated. This shifts the focus of relationships from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.” You wouldn’t want to be treated like someone else; you are unique and have your own wants/needs.
The golden rule has a few short comings. How many times have you done something for someone but didn’t receive the response you expected? It might be because you did the way you’d like it done. You see this in relationships, where couples often have miscommunication about what each other’s interests. You can also see this in cross-cultural interactions; something endearing to one culture might be offensive to another. If you go around treating everyone like they’re you then you’re going to miss the mark on a lot of people! The platinum rule challenges you to learn more about the other party before acting. Implementing this into your life will allow you to develop and deepen relationships with people you might not have anything in common with. Simply trying to understand what they like and where they are coming from will create a deeper bond.
The platinum rule resonates with me because I know I would personally enjoy people learning what I like and treating me accordingly and I know others feel the same. I think it would be a fair price to pay for me to have to reciprocate that to other people as well. The goal of the platinum rule is personal chemistry and productive relationships. It is beneficial for both personal and professional relationships. A good friend should seek to know how you specifically feel about certain things and to treat you in a manner that makes you feel the best. A good business will seek to understand its customers’ and clients’ needs in order to best serve them and bring the highest value. The best doctors are the ones who actually seek to understand who you are and what makes you feel the best before reaching a diagnosis. This rule is applicable across the spectrum of relationships we encounter.
The platinum rule does not mean you have to change your personality. It doesn’t mean you have to roll over and submit to others. You simply have to try to understand what drives people and recognize your options for dealing with them. This empowers you to always be in a better position to find win-win situations and avoid misunderstandings.
Let’s all GO Platinum!
Calls to Action:
- Be a little more conscious of how you treat others
- Focus more on understanding and listening
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