Following the Golden Rule is Not Enough

How often do you find yourself completely unable to communicate with someone? You’re trying to make a point, get something done, but interaction with the other person is about the same as interaction with a brick wall. No matter what, you can’t see eye to eye, even though individually, you each think you are “right.”

We all remember our first days of school, when the first rule we learned was the “Golden Rule” which sounds a bit like “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” This may work like a charm for children who are each still developing their own behavioral styles and treating peers with or without respect is a lot more black and white.

As you find yourself in your twenties and beyond, the reality that treating others “right” and “wrong” is not so black and white anymore. You can both be treating each other “right” and still find yourselves butting heads. I will be first to admit that I’ve found myself in many frustrating situations, because I feel that I am making perfect sense and I’m interacting with someone who thinks the same of him or herself.. but we are not in agreement with each other. Unless you live in complete isolation or under a rock.. you have most likely found yourself in these situations. This is when it is very valuable to realize that the Platinum Rule® should really be the rule to follow. The platinum rule reads, “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.” I am all in favor of somehow incorporating this rule in college courses..

At first look, it may sound like this rule is advising you to “give in” to the other person. However, this is not the case. This rule involves a deeper understanding of different behavior styles that people possess, and how to work with those styles. For example, say you have a strong, dominating personality. If you are interacting with someone, “Bob” who is a little more reserved, would you really treat him or her the same way you would treat someone like yourself? Probably not. You would likely end up stepping all over “Bob” and over time, “Bob” would not appreciate it and probably harbor negative feelings towards you. This concept seems simple, but I bet it isn’t something you actively think about. Most of us, by habit, just think about what we think is right, without realizing that different types of people will have a different reaction to our actions as we would. And we just spend the entire time, irritated and thinking to ourselves, “Why is _____ just not understanding??!!!! I can’t make myself any clearer!” I’ve been there, numerous times and I am willing to bet you have experienced this as well. I will dig deeper at some different behavioral styles at a later time, but the next time you find yourself frustrated with someone, I very strongly urge you to think about the “Platinum Rule” and then think about what you can do differently to remove the brick wall between the two of you.


The Platinum Rule® is a registered trademark of Dr. Tony Alessandra. Used with permission. All other rights are reserved in all media.


One Response to Following the Golden Rule is Not Enough

  1. thebrandinthemirror says:

    Thank you for spreading the word about “The Platinum Rule”. I first learned of this concept about ten years ago by reading Dr. Tony Alessandra’s & Dr. Michael O’Connor’s book of the same name.

    Learning how to adapt our style to the behavioral style of others is a proven method for reducing interpersonal tension while increasing levels of trust.

    Becoming a flexible communicator will help you earn more promotions, make more sales, become a charismatic leader and improve every personal relationship.

    If you wish to learn more about The Platinum Rule, I recommend a visit to

    With appreciation,

    Scott Zimmerman
    Managing Partner, Platinum Rule Group LLC

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