My girlfriend is currently writing an appraisal for work but I was wondering if there was a word/phrase that convey what she is thinking better. She wants to say that while some people like to criticise and blame when others make mistakes, she is the opposite. She has come up with the following:

"acting with integrity/helping others rather than blaming others"

It seems a bit clunky with a repetition of "others" and the forward-slash may seem to show a lack of thought. Upon googling "opposite of blame" and some thought, I have come up with some words and phrases:

  • non-judgemental
  • positive reinforcement
  • highlighting issues and putting suggestions forward
  • mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn (although this seems to suggest mistakes made by yourself)

I was wondering if anyone had any helpful suggestions/comments on this. I am looking for something more concise and something that upon reading, is easily understood.

Thanks in advance!

  • 4
    She shouldn't credit herself with the phrase acting with integrity: it's too self-serving, self-promoting, & patronizing (by criticizing others "who don't have as much integrity" as she believes she has). "Helping others rather than blaming others" can be cut to "helping rather than blaming others". Here are some more phrases: "by seeing everyone's mistakes (mine included) as opportunities to learn rather than to simply pass judgment, generate guilt, & punish"; "by calmly discussing missteps & misunderstandings"; "by motivating others to 'do better next time'."
    – user21497
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 22:01
  • If you type "how to offer constructive criticism" into a Google search window, lots of interesting hits appear on top, & none of them are YouTube videos of weirdly named singing groups, at least, not on my PC: YMMV.
    – user21497
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 22:06
  • Thanks Bill, those are some fantastic comments and feedback. Appraisals always seem to be an articulation minefield where you want to sound positive about yourself without making yourself sound like a fool!
    – Kel196
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 22:06
  • 2
    "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar," a relevant expression goes. A recommendation to critics is: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." And the uniquely-qualified speaker chose not to. Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 22:32

9 Answers 9


In the context of your question, "support" seems to be an appropriate counterpart to "blame." If that makes sense to you, then consider The word "bulwark," a synonym of support, which has a useful meaning that deals specifically with conflict situations where one person strives to solve the conflict instead of lay blame.

Bulwark (n): any person or thing giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt.

The word itself is a little clunky, but if your girlfriend is the person to offer support and encouragement, this word could serve your need.

In terms of working for the good of the group and avoiding petty disputes, you can call her a "collaborator."

collaborator (n): to work with another or others on a joint project.

As attributives, both of these could concisely describe her assets.

Good luck.

  • Thanks @tylerharms, some very insightful and positive comments. Bulwark is a new word to me, but does seem to convey the attributes we are thinking of.
    – Kel196
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 22:34
  • I've heard the word bulwark several times – in the second line of Hedge's translation of Luther's famous hymn. I can't remember if I've heard it outside that context, though (at least, not until I just read tylerharms' answer).
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 22:40
  • 1
    Your definition not withstanding, I'm not sure bulwark really fits here. A bulwark is a wall for support or defense- something to keep between you and your enemy/attacker/foe. Any metaphorical meaning derives from that, so that your person giving strong support or encouragement is meant to be from the viewpoint of someone who gets in the middle and takes the brunt of the blame, while saying, "that's okay, don't worry about it, shrug it off etc." Bottom line- I would not put it on a resume or appraisal.
    – Jim
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 23:19
  • @Jim: Well, if a person stands up for someone blamed, I think the word is approppriate. I disagree that must absorb, in this case, blame. I would argue that the broadest sense of the definition is a "protection against", and the use in context is of a person who protects against the petty finger-pointing that hinders people from achieving goals. A person who stands up for this might have to stand in the middle of an argument and calm people down but not necessarily absorb blame. I do agree, though, that it is a word that would stand out on a resume.
    – tylerharms
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 6:30
  • The term collaborator has a negative connotation for me. it makes me think of people who collaborated with occupying enemy forces. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 0:16

In the context, support is a good opposite to blame, as is understand.

A phrase like find reasons to praise rather than blame others might be what she's looking for.

  • Alongside understand, I'd also go with empathy - the ability to understand what others are feeling from afar. I can understand a serial killer and still want him to be executed. I can't empathise without feeling sad, either way.
    – Lunivore
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 23:07

The problem with:

acting with integrity/helping others rather than blaming others

is that it might easily come across as critical of the rest of her organization. I'd avoid the phrase "rather than X" where X can be construed as anything negative.

You could say:

helps others in crisis situations without playing the "blame game"

(While "blame game" may sound a bit informal, the phrase can be found in business literature, the news, and some dictionaries.)

That said, my most significant suggestion here is changing "rather than" to "without." Rather than can have a somewhat accusatory tone which, ironically, is the trait she is purporting to avoid.


"Credit" is an acceptable term for what you want to convey; it's a more constructive variant of "blame".


Consider laud.

laud: to praise (someone or something).

  • TL;DR@OP: Opposite of “blaming people” would be to laud them. The middle ground is absolution.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 6:42

She could be said to be offering constructive criticism. That is a phrase defined as:

Criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions

If she is working to help younger or newer-to-the-organization people, she is serving as a mentor.


I suggest using the phrase "seeking to find solutions rather than fault".

As others have noted, you should be careful to avoid sounding boastful or arrogant in your self-appraisal, so I would not suggest being as strongly declarative as saying "I am always seeking to find solutions rather than fault". I would soften that a bit and say something like

I have tried to always remain positive and seek solutions rather than fault, and believe I have been successful at that.


Praise and blame semantically oppose each other.


I would go with a variation one of the following:

  • "seeking solutions rather than pointing fingers"
  • "finding solutions to shared problems"
  • Hello @Roger D, please include any sources and elaborate more to created a better answer. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 15:31

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