That's not the whole story . . . | INFJ Forum

That's not the whole story . . .


Sep 5, 2009
Friendly neighbor commentary:
(Soft Disclaimer: I tend to be a bit repetitive in my writing)

Sometimes, we judge each other harshly when we read about their experiences, not taking into account the complete circumstances of their lives when we provide feedback or criticism. We have such a strong desire to help that we ignore deeper problems or issues, and blame the individual and hold them accountable, expecting them to just get up and do something, get out there, make it happen. Such advice may not be practical or realistic, however empowering these words may appear. And seemingly obvious options may not be available to them, under the circumstances.

One of the things I would like to see happen when we encourage others is that we are careful not to assume too much about the person or judge their handling of a situation too harshly based simply on their descriptions of their life and experiences, since it is only a partial look, from a particularly personal perspective. People are not always clearly in control of their circumstances, however much we've been taught to think this way.

Whether our personal descriptions of our experiences demonstrates an understanding of the big picture in our lives or the implications of our past, present, or future actions, it is important to recognize that we are only seeing a portion of the picture, one partially constructed through individual and social perceptions. Judging someone based on a description of their experiences is very tricky, and the advice given quite misguided, without a complete understanding of context.

Although a complete stranger may be better able to see things in us and our situation that we don't notice ourselves including misguided beliefs or flaws in our perceptions of these experiences, what they are seeing is still incomplete. In the end, some situations will likely need differing degrees of help, support, or advice to address, handle, and solve them. So, I believe we should avoid one-size-fits-all standardized approaches to advice.

Everyone will always do as much as they can to help to solve a crisis or help someone get through a situation, but always keep in mind that we shouldn't assume anything too quickly or easily about anyone, since we don't know the full story even if they describe their lives in complete detail.

So, always keep in the front of your mind, that there's more to someone and their story than their descriptions imply . . .

So, it's important to look to the person, to find out what they want, so that they can get what they need, not what we want to give them . . . (two things quite easily confused)

Last but not least, those who post about personal experiences, issues, or problems, be realistic about what complete strangers on a board can reasonably achieve. (As an example, I've posted things here expecting others to understand immediately what I'm going through, without providing much detail, which is unreasonable. It was impractical to expect you to know how to adequately respond in the way I needed.)

I hope this helps us (including myself) to respond more effectively to posts of a personal nature in the future.
Last edited:
I agree... things can on occasion get over heated, it's difficult for me to not get caught up in reaction to certain things. I guess that's true for everyone, and yes what u say is true because it's tough sometimes to provide empathy when yr experiencing 'judgement'. Not that it's bad, just less helpful, but this can be a tool reminder for our own awarenss and personal growth :) I'm glad u started this thread.