The golden rule says to treat others the way you want to be treated. Makes sense, right? But it got me thinking about it how it felt when my husband, Dave treated me the way he wanted to be treated. You see, we have both experienced the loss of loved ones recently and are grieving. We both lost my dad and Dave lost two close friends in the same month.

When I’m grieving I want to be comforted right away. I want to talk about my grief, how I am feeling, etc. When Dave is grieving he needs time alone before he feels ready to talk about his grief.

Imagine how this plays out for us. I am trying to talk to Dave, comfort him, discuss his feelings because that is what I am needing and wanting. He is leaving me alone to give me time and space to work through my grief on my own because that is what he is wanting and needing.

Well, we were both frustrated with each other. But this is what the Golden Rule says, right? Dave and I were treating each other the way we wanted to be treated.

However, the platinum rule says to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Ah yes, this is what we were forgetting. We were overwhelmed with our own grief and we forgot how each of us wants to be treated in times of grief. It is okay. Once we were aware of what we were doing we were able to shift and be more supportive of each other.

The platinum rule is great, but what if we don’t know the person and do not know how they want to be treated? You could simply ask or you can apply the golden rule in these situations. The golden rule is great to remind you to treat everyone with respect, kindness, and fairness. For example, maybe you don’t like it when you have to wait for someone, so you try to be on time or you don’t like to be lied to, so you try not to lie to others.

Although, when you have a closer relationship with someone and you know them better, you can apply the platinum rule and treat them the way you know they want to be treated. This rule acknowledges that not everyone wants to be treated the same way. It encourages you to be curious about others. Instead of assuming that they’re the same as us, we can make observations and ask questions if we want to treat them the way they want to be treated.

For example, you love to celebrate your birthday and want your friends and family to all come together, but you know your friend would rather celebrate in a low-key way with just a few people. Maybe you like to discuss and process how you are feeling when you are upset, but your partner prefers to process on their own.

Which do you prefer? Golden or Platinum? Maybe you don’t like to follow the rules or maybe you try to follow them too closely and get overwhelmed. It’s okay, be curious and remember there usually are exceptions to the rule.

“How they treat you defines them. How you treat others defines you.” Rita Zahara