A common phrase in the military is “Been there, done that.” It’s an overused statement but it relates a kinship of shared experience between people with a common perspective, at least in part. People who use this phrase generally have credibility with the listener so both parties can share stories, laugh, cry or commiserate about the shortfalls of the experience. But this post is about the opposite of a shared experience.
Heres the advice: If you’ve only heard about something–an experience, an organization, an activity–don’t pretend you understand it. Don’t complain about it. Don’t make suggestions about how to fix it. Don’t spread rumors about it. Instead, learn about it. Listen to understand. Ask questions. But ask them with a bent toward comprehension of the subject, not critiquing it.
If you haven’t been there or done that, be quiet and learn about it. Otherwise all you’ll do is lose credibility and make people mad.