For awhile I had a someone un-nuanced take on blame. My un-nuanced take was basically, “finger-pointing is bad”. This can work well, actually - especially if you pair it with taking responsibility yourself. You can spin a given situation any way you want, so just spin every situation so that it’s you who F’d up. This technique builds rapport. The down side is that it also accumulates responsibility, so it can burn you out. Worse, if other people believe you in full, they might never improve.

An important realization is that blame is not necessarily the same as bullying, and I had conflated the two a lot. Blame only feels like bullying if you already know you messed up and people keep telling you about it. If it’s clear someone knows they made a mistake, don’t point it out. Just help them get through it. Don’t say “would be cool if you didn’t fuck up, man” but also don’t say “oh no it’s my bad I could’ve …” (unless you really want to build rapport!)

The above strategy works because taking responsibility for things you do is the only way to get better. This applies to everyone. So if you see the results of someone’s actions causing trouble, first identify if they’re aware and only if they’re not, give them a gentle nudge. If you succeeded at identifying that they weren't aware, this likely won't come off as bullying. It just closes the loop and helps them get better.

So I think a lot of my original mindset was half right. Spending time pointing fingers is often a waste. But finger pointing isn’t inherently bad, and we don’t need to avoid it entirely. Let’s think of it as closing the loop instead. Just try not to close loops that are already closed and your rapport should remain intact.