The Golden Rule is Wrong

The Golden Rule.

We all know it.

We all grew up learning it in elementary school.

The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Or, put in laymen's terms, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

While the sentiment behind the Golden Rule means well, I'm here to tell you that it isn't the best rule to follow. 

The Golden Rule is wrong.

The Golden Rule is wrong in a very specific way. It doesn't take into account the other people you are dealing with.

It equates everyone as if they were the same. It does not differentiate between extroverts and introverts. It does not classify people based on their communication preferences. And it assumes that everyone is like you.

Clearly, everyone is not like you.

(If everyone was like you, the world would not have any issues or conflicts and everything would get done on time and in an orderly fashion all the time.)

Would you treat an extrovert the same way as an introvert? Would you communicate to two people the same way if one enjoyed texting and the other person liked talking on the phone? 

Instead of the Golden Rule, use the Platinum Rule.

The Platinum Rule says that you should treat everyone the way they want to be treated. Not the way you want to be treated.

The Platinum Rule is better than the Golden Rule because it forces you to know the type of person you are dealing with.

To know how someone wants to be treated means you have to have to communicate with them and get to know them first.

Just because you like to socialize and chat with people about their weekends before talking about business, doesn't mean everyone else does.

If you were using the Golden Rule philosophy this scenario would be fine.

But the Platinum Rule philosophy tweaks that thinking to find out how the person you're dealing with likes to act. If they are a straight-to-business person, you'll want to think about adopting that strategy to best serve them and not yourself.

Some people may say that you would just be mimicking the other person if you adopt that strategy. And that people can spot a faker a mile away.

I believe differently. I believe if you get to know the other person before you deal with them, this puts you in the driver's seat. You can control the conversations and the negotiations because you know how the other person will behave.

Remember, the Golden Rule is no longer the best rule of thumb to practice when dealing with other people. The best rule to follow is the Platinum Rule.

Stop treating others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way they want to be treated.

Nico Hohman

Nico Hohman is the broker/owner of Hohman Homes, a residential real estate brokerage based in Tampa, Fla. Nico is also a contributing author to Realtor Magazine and Inman News, the innovative news source for the real estate industry. Nico has contributed his time and talents to better the standards of the real estate industry and the local community by leading and serving on committees at Greater Tampa Realtors, Emerge Tampa Bay, the University of Florida School of Construction Management Alumni Council, Toastmasters International, Nativity Catholic School, and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Guild. Plus, every fall, Coach Hohman is the Head Golf Coach at Jesuit High School of Tampa.


Since he began practicing full time in the residential real estate in the fall of 2014, Nico has been involved in the transaction and management of over 100 properties with a total value of nearly $20,000,000.


With a degree in Construction Management from the University of Florida and past experience in the home building and remodeling industries, Nico focuses on helping homebuyers find and purchase new construction homes. He also helps home sellers looking to sell their properties that also require significant renovation.