One of the first key principles we learn as children is the Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But as I have gone through life, I have become more and more convinced that the Golden Rule is incomplete.
Instead, we should follow the Platinum Rule—do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them. There’s a small difference here, but it’s important.
The Morning Coffee
Here’s an example of what I mean: My wife loves her morning coffee. Early on in our relationship, when I would make her coffee, I would only fill up her mug halfway. Why did I do this? I was following the Golden Rule. I like to fill up my coffee mug halfway (and refill as needed) because that way my coffee stays hot. That’s what I like, so that’s what I did for her.
She didn’t see things the same way. “Why did you only pour me half a cup?” she would ask. The reality was that my wife liked a full cup of coffee. It took me awhile to realize it, but I wasn’t actually serving her by only pouring her half a cup of coffee. I was following the Golden Rule, but it fell flat.
This is a small example, but if you observe your relationships, this kind of thing comes up a lot. We are all different, with different wants, needs, and preferences. If you only follow the Golden Rule, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you, you are likely to miss the mark.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the Golden Rule isn’t all bad. There are some things that are probably universal in relationships. In these cases, the Golden Rule works. But in many areas of life, where there are important differences to recognize and understand, the Platinum Rule will serve you better.