The Golden Rule says “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Basically, treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. Seems like a good plan, right?
Yes. But maybe there is a better perspective.
A potentially better rule is the “Platinum Rule” which states “Do unto others as they would want to be done to them.” This rule was developed by author Dave Kerpen.
The great thing about the Platinum Rule is that it recognizes that everyone is different. You should think about how the other person wants to be treated, taking into account their personal perspective. In many cases, how another person wants to be treated is different from how you want to be treated. Dave Kerpen provides the following example from Dale Carnegie which is instructive:
Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Other Examples: Imagine you are going to have a few other couples over for dinner. If you love steak and red wine you may think you are really treating your guests well with a choice cut of steak and an amazing pinot noir. But what about guests that don’t like steak or red wine? Obviously, thinking about the guests who prefer fish or are vegetarian and might prefer white wine is a higher level of care.
Similarly, buying one of your favorite fiction books for a friend who only reads non-fiction isn’t a good gift. Telling a spouse how much you love them all the time when they prefer acts of service isn’t really what they want (this is part of the “five love languages” concept).
According to therapist Marie Hartwell-Walker, a common issue with couples is where one thinks: “She (or he) shouldn’t feel the way they do because in a similar instance I wouldn’t feel that way. That’s Golden Rule talk. Often one feels unseen or devalued because the other took it for granted that they knew what would be appreciated instead of asking. Mature love is characterized by a mutual application of the Platinum Rule.”