Former head of federal behavioral analysis program: The 'golden rule' is wrong, here's the best way to interact with people


We've all heard it since kindergarten: treat others the way you wish to be treated. This "golden rule" has long been a mainstay of interpersonal interaction.


Robin Dreeke, a Naval Academy graduate, former Marine, former head of a federal behavioral analysis program, a current FBI agent, and coauthor of "The Code of Trust" reveals why this conventional thinking is actually the wrong way to go about making a connection with another person.

He instead lays out what he calls the "platinum rule": treating others they way they wish to be treated. Following is a transcript of the video.

ROBIN DREEKE: The difference between following the "golden rule" versus the "platinum rule" is really pretty simple. The "golden rule" is about treating people as you want to be treated, but let's take it to the next level, if you want to inspire people to do things and take action, you use the "platinum rule." Which is: treat people how they want to be treated.

And so, in order to do that, you actually have to start diving deep and understanding what their priorities are. Their needs, wants, dreams, aspirations - personal, professional, long term and short term. You know, when you're doing that, and following the "platinum rule," you're making it all about them.


The best thing to do is: try to figure out whether someone is either people-oriented or task-oriented.

'Cause if someone is people-oriented in their engagement, it's easy to tell. They use a lot more personalization, a lot more use of pronouns, a lot more personal stories and anecdotes. And so, when you want to have a great conversation with, and engage someone like this, use those types of things.

As opposed to someone who's more task-oriented, they're looking more about the process, procedures, and how to do something, rather than who to do it with. And so, when you just use those basic understandings of how people are genuinely trying to interact, and just modify your communication for them.

One of the humbling moments I caused in my early career - I can't remember how long I actually had in, a couple years. I had been doing really well. I'm a people-oriented individual, but you love people so much, one of your favorite topics of people is me, myself.

And what I was doing was - there was an opportunity to talk to a university student in New York that actually was in touch with one of our subjects that we were looking at.


And, when I interacted with this guy, I was doing what I had always done with every other human being before that seemed to work really well. I was being very people-oriented. I was using a lot of anecdotes and stories. I'm talking about going to sporting events, I was looking forward to try to get to a Yankee game or a Rangers game.

I was just trying to be social, and trying to develop this relationship so we could actually move on to the information gathering. But what I failed to do was - I failed to understand that this guy was a Ph.D. candidate and working in a technical area, so in other words, he is very task-oriented, he wanted to know specifically what exactly I wanted, and how not to waste his time. And all I was doing was completely wasting his time because I was communicating the way I wanted to be communicated with, not the way he wanted to be communicated with.

I tried calling him up for a second meeting. Got no answer. I was like, "huh, that's interesting."

Called again. No answer. Email - no answer.

So, I did what any lover feels like when he's jilted. You use a different phone number. So, he didn't have caller ID, so I used a different phone number, and lo and behold he picks up the phone and he proceeds to tell me that nah, I'm just wasting his time and he'd rather not have any communication with me.


I reflected on that one a long time, and still do, because it was a great humbling moment realizing the difference between the "golden rule" and the "platinum rule."