the platinum rule -

You’ve likely heard of the Golden Rule before.

This is an axiom, found in a number of religions around the world that says:

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

This is a great rule to live by, but it has some limitations.

When I was in college, I got the chance to take a few ethics and philosophy courses. This is where I heard about the Platinum Rule for the first time.

This rule goes a step further saying:

Treat others as they would like to be treated.

What’s the difference?

When we live by the Golden Rule we project our own wants, needs, desires, personality traits, and characteristics onto the other person. This isn’t always a problem, but treating others as we would like to be treated can cause a host of issues if your desires deviate greatly from the other.

For instance – are you someone who likes surprises? Do you love surprise parties? Do you love not knowing that something (good) is going to happen? Imagine if you planned a surprise party for your surprise-adverse spouse that gets anxious when surprised because that’s how you would like to be treated.

That could be a disaster.

That’s living by the golden rule, but not the platinum rule.

Treating others as they would like to be treated can be difficult. Sometimes we don’t know the other person enough to make the right judgement call.

Sometimes we don’t know the person at all.

Sometimes the platinum rule demands that we make assumptions or use deductive reasoning to make an educated guess on the best course of action to take in a given situation.

And sometimes we get it wrong.

But a world governed by the platinum rule results in more kindness and more empathy. Centering the other person in our interactions with them instead of ourselves makes us less individualistic, less narcissistic, less isolated.

The platinum rule is healing.

The platinum rule says “I see you.”

The platinum rule says “I understand you.”

The platinum rule says “I care about you.”

But what if we take this too far?

The platinum rule is not about martyrdom or a savior complex. The platinum rule is about being a little more loving to those around us and considering their needs along with our own.

Do you live by the platinum rule?


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