%% This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!

->''"If you gotta ask, you'll never know."''
-->-- '''Music/LouisArmstrong''', defining {{Jazz}}

What could be more more {{egregious}} than CannotSpitItOut, you ask?

There's a crisis and information is needed. There's someone, perhaps many someones, who have this information right on hand and it would simply take five minutes to explain.

In fact, the hero outright ''asks'' for it. [[PolitenessJudo Politely. A lot.]]

"You'll have to figure it out yourself."

Often characters who really shouldn't have any motives to [[PoorCommunicationKills keep this information secret]] from the character do this. It may be merely to pad out the season, or if the person is TheChooserOfTheOne it may be a test to see if the character is in fact worthy of the title of chosen one. Though they frequently claim that making the hero work through things by himself is a necessary learning experience, it may be just because [[LovesSecrecy they enjoy]] [[DelightingInRiddles keeping him in the dark]].

Commonly uttered by [[TimeTravel Time Travellers]] since solving people's problems for them would change history... [[TimeyWimeyBall except when it doesn't.]] TimeTravel is funny that way.

It's also a stock phrase for the AllPowerfulBystander. The TricksterMentor never ''says'' it, but [[TheOnlyWayTheyWillLearn you know he's thinking it]]; the ZenSurvivor practically ''breathes'' in these. An OracularUrchin will get out of de-cryptifying their CrypticConversation with the hero this way. Likewise heroes and super heroes with a SecretLegacy might be overjoyed to find out they're not the black sheep of their family, but wonder why mom and dad never helped out before.

Used in almost exactly the same places and situations as "YouAreNotReady", with the implication that [[OnlySmartPeopleMayPass the act of working the information out is the only way to make yourself worthy of it]]. The intellectual version of HelpingWouldBeKillStealing. See BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible for characters trying to avoid incrimination. Often couched within a CrypticConversation. Can cross over with ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself, if these mentors prevent others from aiding the hero. Compare NeverGiveTheCaptainAStraightAnswer.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* At no point in ''Manga/{{AIKI}}'' does Kunitoshi ever give a straightforward lesson on anything. The most he does is tell you when you've screwed up. On the other hand, should someone manage to get started on their own, he ''does'' give them legitimate advice on the next steps.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': [[ArcherArchetype Soken Ishida]] refuses to explain his son [[HeroicNeutral Ryuken's]] RefusalOfTheCall to his grandson Uryu. Instead, he tells Uryu that he has to learn for himself the secret of what Ryuken wants to protect. Sadly, this approach didn't work out for the Ishidas, since [[spoiler: Uryu has now joined up with the very people Ryuken was hoping to protect him from.]]
* This is C.C.'s favourite trope in ''Anime/CodeGeass'', aside from being a SugarAndIcePersonality. [[spoiler:She was in league with the Protagonist's parents, but switched sides after some soul-searching]]. Mostly, she's willing to help out ''a lot'' from behind the scenes, whilst leaving Lelouch to learn lessons on his own.
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'' uses this with protagonist Izuki Midoriya's super-power One For All. Though the previous wielder All Might mentors Izuku and teaches him what he can, ultimately he encourages Izuku to figure out his own way of using it -- especially because when Izuku imitates All Might's fighting style, he ends up [[HeroicRROD breaking his bones]] and risking permanent, crippling injuries. [[spoiler:Eventually he does find his own way, which he dubs "One For All Full Cowl", which involves spreading about 5% the power evenly throughout his own body rather than doing 100% all-or-nothing attacks; he also adopts a kick-heavy fighting style to avoid risking more strain to his arms.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' Jiraiya tells this to Naruto when he is training him on how to use the Rasengan, that Naruto will have to work out how to pop the balloons and complete all 3 stages of mastering the jutsu by himself.
** Notably, Naruto also improvises a way to do the first stage while circumventing the most difficult part which Jiraiya didn't expect at all.
** Also, during a CrypticConversation over a game of shogi, Asuma asks Shikamaru what part of Konoha the King represents. [[spoiler:Only with his last breath does he reveal the identity of the King: the new generation.]]
** Kabuto revives some fairly powerful kages during the 4th shinobi world war, controlling their bodies but allowing them to speak normally to their opponents, who they would otherwise want to be allied with. One of them, the Second Mizukage, gets tired of explaining his techniques (or rather, tired of his opponents utterly failing to make effective use of the explanations), and eventually states that if they're not strong enough to figure it out on their own and seal him, they don't deserve to win.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Robin asks Rayleigh, first mate of the Roger Pirates, whether Roger found out what happened in the 100-Year Void, the truth detailed in the Rio Poneglyph she's been looking for most of her life. He advises her to continue her journey, suggesting that she might come to an entirely different conclusion than he did, saying that they, as mere pirates, could not hope to understand the true history as well as the scholars of Ohara did. He still offers to tell her if she wants to know, but she politely declines.
* Despite the obvious worry of ''Manga/PrincessNine'''s lead about the truth of her late father cheating in a baseball game, none of the characters who admit to knowing will tell her. She is later inexplicably convinced by her own ''bizarre dream sequence''.
* Used effectively in a serious arc of ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': a new rival, Ryu Kumon, is using the devastating ''Yamasenken'' martial art invented by [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass Genma]], and is tearing up the place looking for its counterpart/complement, the ''Umisenken''. However, Genma is [[MyGreatestFailure so horrified that someone is using it]], he utterly ''refuses'' to teach Ranma anything about either style. Only after Ranma is nearly killed and comes home a bruised, battered pulp, does Genma relent slightly: he will use the Umisenken style on Ranma, once, and it's up to Ranma to figure out the entire style from that ridiculously brief demonstration. Naturally, Ranma does.
** Except he actually didn't. His mom found the scroll detailing it and cut it up to use as an envelope containing a message for Ranko. All without being aware that Ranma was Ranko and that Ranma needed to learn the Umisenken.
* In ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'', the main character, as a Sanzo priest, is supposed to give advice and provide an example of how to live your life. Sanzo rejects this as hypocritical and useless. He therefore takes a "figure it out yourself" stance on LIFE. The one time he does give a lecture on Buddhist ideology (his personal favorite, "if you meet the buddha, kill the buddha") it is a HUGE deal.
* In ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', both Asahina Mikuru and Nagato Yuki give Kyon very incomplete information about [[spoiler: how to ... save the world from Haruhi.]] Kyon puts both clues together at nearly the last minute to do just so. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] to some extent because both Asahina and Nagato are constrained by rules.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/MyBravePonyStarfleetMagic'': The shtick with Inquirius. All she can do is talk in questions, which gets redundant when she starts talking like that even in regular conversation. [[Series/PowerRangersTurbo This sounds familiar somehow...]]
* After the four retrieve the first piece of the Vasyn in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' and the Fans “call” to congratulate them, George asks why his ring stuck, and Ringo asks whether he actually teleported or the Fans saved him. Jeft says ~THESE ARE NOT THINGS WE CAN TELL YOU. YOU MUST FIND OUT FOR YOURSELVES.~ To which George, reasonably enough, cries “Rubbish! How're we supposed to find this bloody thing for you if our magic goes haywire for no reason?” Shag is equally annoyed at Jeft for holding out on the four, and answers their questions for them. (At which Jeft sniffs, ~ARE WE QUITE FINISHED SPOILING MYSTERIES?~)
** Immediately after they leave the four, Jeft gives Shag a series of good reasons why he didn't want to answer the questions. She grudgingly agrees that he was right and she was wrong.
*** [[spoiler: His reasons are all garbage; he really did want to preserve the mysteries in the story, since it's all a game he cooked up.]]
* Kyoko Kirigiri's attitude in ''Danganronpa'' (mentioned below) is satirized mercilessly in ''WebVideo/DanganronpaParody''.
-->'''Kyoko''': Hmm, this is going to be a really challenging one, so I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to help you out this time.
-->'''Makoto''': This time? When did you even help me out the first time?

* In ''WesternAnimation/RiseOfTheGuardians'', this seems to be the case with the Man in the Moon, particularly in his "interactions" with Jack. Also, he seems to have a very hands-off relationship with the Guardians as a whole.
* No one can be told what Franchise/TheMatrix is, [[InvokedTrope you have to see it for yourself]].

* The cheela (neutron-star dwelling beings) of ''Literature/DragonsEgg'' live ''much'' faster lives than humans, and advance at a much faster rate (it takes them roughly ''one day'' to advance from their equivalent of Sumeria to their equivalent of Rome). When a human spaceship shows up and ''even further'' boosts their rate of technological advancement (by essentially beaming Wikipedia at them), they feel the need to pay them back when they (again within a day or two) advance far past human technology. However, they can't just ''tell'' us everything; instead, everything they know is ''encrypted'' with keys that are based on the knowledge contained inside. So, for example, the unlock the section on faster-than-light travel, humans will need to find a pyramid on a body around ''Epsilon Eridani''...which is about 10 light years away from the Sun. Their reasons aren't really explored, but they seem to feel that simply telling us will deprive us of the benefits of figuring it out ourselves.
** Basically, the cheela asked themselves "What if we'd gotten the human encyclopedia all at once instead of at a slow (by our standards) trickle?" and decided that it would be a bad idea to dump all their knowledge on the humans at once.
* This trope defines the plot of book four of the Literature/EnchantedForestChronicles. The [[FisherKing king]] of the Enchanted Forest carries a magical sword that OnlyTheChosenMayWield, the chosen being a member of the king's bloodline. This becomes a problem when the current king is trapped in a [[TailorMadePrison magical prison]] and the only thing that can free him is . . . Yep, the sword. The good news is that the king, before he was imprisoned, fathered a son, who should by rights be able to wield the sword. The bad news is that that son is only a baby. To make matters worse, the [[LegionOfDoom Wizards]], who imprisoned the king, can track the sword when it's being carried by someone ''who knows what it is''. The solution: wait for the son to grow up, give him the sword, and point him in the direction of the prison in the hope that he will figure out what he has to do himself. Consequently, most everyone he encounters knows more about his quest than he does, but can't tell him anything for fear of the Wizards finding him.
* In ''[[Creator/IsaacAsimov The Gods Themselves]]'', the nature of [[StarfishAlien Soft One]] maturation requires that the Rational work out the species' life cycle on his own. Simply telling him how it works prevents him from reaching the level of mental development needed to actually cause the final maturation.
* A rare TearJerker example of this in Donna Tartt's ''Literature/{{TheGoldfinch}}'', when the protagonist finally meets his beloved mother (who tragically died) in a dream:
-->And I knew that she could tell me anything I wanted to know (life, death, past, future) even though it was already there, in her smile, the answer to all questions, the before-Christmas smile of someone with a secret too wonderful to let slip, just yet: well, you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?
* Most of Literature/HarryPotter's interactions with Dumbledore revolve around measured dispensing and denying of plot critical information -- all as a "learning experience".
** In the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince sixth book]], Dumbledore admits that this was a bad idea. But even then, he still doesn't tell Harry what a Horcrux is, even though he has excellent reasons to do so (Harry doesn't think finding out about them is that important; if he knew what they were, it might move up his priority list).
** In the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows seventh book]], he implies to [[spoiler:Snape that he kept secrets from Harry so that Voldemort wouldn't know through their PsychicLink]].
** During the[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows seventh book]], while the PowerTrio is on the road trying to figure out what they have to do, Hermione suggested this trope as a rationale for why they had to do something while LampshadeHanging how little sense it makes. Later on, when Harry turned the same rationale on her for a different goal, she admitted that she didn't really believe it and was just trying to get her way in the first place. [[spoiler:Of course, Harry turns out right anyway]].
* ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'': Lyra cannot be told anything about her destiny but has to complete it naturally on her own... BecauseDestinySaysSo, literally...
* This is how Elodin teaches naming in ''Literature/TheKingkillerChronicle''. It basically consists of doing random things for stupid reasons, letting the students figure out how to name stuff.
* In the second book of ''Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy'', ''The Girl Who Played With Fire'', Lisbeth tells only cryptic clues to Mikael while he is trying to investigate the murders she is accused of and clear her name.
* Richard's companions in ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' pointedly refuse to explain most of London Below, on the premise that it's dangerous to know too much. Richard nearly dies several times due to lack of forewarning, at which point his "friends" chide him for ''not knowing information they withheld.''
* L.E. Modesitt's ''Literature/SagaOfRecluce'' series has a particularly ridiculous case of this. Order mages are usually "trained" by giving them a near-incomprehensible textbook and sending them off into danger. Why? Because, for no apparent reason, actually explaining things prevents mages from applying what they were told. Even though the explanations make perfect sense to the reader.
** Of course, the ordermages who are "trained" in this fashion usually either [[JustifiedTrope refused to learn the normal way or are the first ordermages in the area]]. In addition, the people doing the exiling do it primarily to [[MikeNelsonDestroyerofWorlds protect everyone else on the island]], and the "textbook" is the semi-incoherent journal of one of the former exiles.
* In ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', the eponymous antagonist uses this after dropping a few oblique hints so a smuggler captain he wants to come to a particular conclusion doesn't get suspicious.
** A version of this trope is brought up in ''[[Literature/XWingSeries Starfighters of Adumar]]'', when Wedge Antilles does not want to kill the ProudWarriorRace guys he's having to fight, but can't tell them why because he's trying to sway their government, and outright stating that he finds their way of life repulsive won't win the New Republic any favors.
-->'''Hobbie:''' "Do to them what you do to us at times like that. [...] Tell them ''what'' you're doing but not ''why''. Then let them speculate. Listen to them as they speculate. When they come up with an idea you really, really like, [[AscendedFanon tell them 'You finally guessed right. That was my reasoning all along.']]"
* ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'':
** This is Miles Vorkosigan's standard response whenever someone asks him how to do something he's asked them to do, when he doesn't know how to do it himself.
** [[TheEmperor Emperor]] Gregor also makes Mark Vorkosigan figure it out himself in ''Literature/MirrorDance''. As Mark says (using asking someone for the time of day as a metaphor):
---> Gregor would hint obliquely where I might look for a [[CallARabbitASmeerp crono]].
* ''Everybody'' in Robert Jordan's ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''. If the good guys didn't universally have a habit of not sharing information with each other (along with [[{{Jerkass}} other]] [[WouldntHitAGirl tragic]] [[StrawFeminist flaws]]), the series really would have been a trilogy. Of course, this is intentional, as one of the major themes of the series is the problems caused by poor communication and unwillingness to talk. The series is often compared with ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. Both could be deconstructions of the typical fantasy "a dark power is rising" by detailing how ''difficult'' it really is to just get all of these different nations and people in charge to put aside their differences and band together against evil.
** The author also had a habit of using this line on readers who wanted to know what the hell was going on.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* During ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr.'', this was usually the reply Brisco got when asking questions about the Orb to anyone who was actually in a position to know something.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': "You're Welcome". Cordelia wakes from her coma to help Angel and company rediscover their true calling:
-->'''Cordelia:''' You just forgot who you are.\\
'''Angel:''' Remind me.\\
'''Cordelia:''' Oh no, that's for you to figure out, bubba.
* In an episode of the 2000s {{reboot}} of ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' when the character Six gets Baltar to tell Commander Adama he needs an atom bomb to find possible Cylons, and Six tells him, "figure out the rest yourself."
** Of course, it was this very bomb that enabled the ''Cylons'' to find the ''humans'' once they had settled on New Caprica.
* The Doctor from ''Series/DoctorWho'' and Sailor Pluto from ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' both invoke the "changing the future" excuse.
* Should you ever find yourself in ''Series/FraggleRock'' and [[WanderingMinstrel Cantus the Minstrel]] happens to be around, ask him for some advice. He'll give it freely, but it's so cryptic that you ''have'' to FigureItOutYourself. This quirk of his has been lampshaded on several occasions.
* It's also the case for several characters on ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', particularly the [[BlueAndOrangeMorality Observers]][[note]] although in their case it's sort of justified in that they [[TimeyWimeyBall exist outside time]][[/note]], although [[TricksterMentor Sam Weiss]] gets a few good moments in seasons 2 and 3.
* God does this in pretty much every episode of ''Series/JoanOfArcadia''.
* A complaint often leveled at the characters in ''Series/{{Lost}}''; they all really need to be more forthcoming with answers ''and'' persistent in the asking of questions.
* ''Series/{{Monk}}'' is having problems with his assistant Sharona and is very annoyed when he realises his psychiatrist knows how to fix it but is using this trope.
-->'''Adrian Monk:''' I wanna make sure I understand this. I have a problem... you know the answer...
-->'''Dr. Charles Kroger:''' That's right.
-->'''Adrian Monk:''' I'm paying you...
-->'''Dr. Charles Kroger:''' That's right.
-->'''Adrian Monk:''' ...but you won't tell me.
-->'''Dr. Charles Kroger:''' That's right. Adrian, the answer is inside you.
-->'''Adrian Monk:''' No, doctor, the... answer is inside you. If you told me, I would hear it, and then the answer would be inside me!
* Dimitria spent the first half of ''Series/PowerRangersTurbo'' doing this (her species could ''only talk in questions,'' supposedly, though fellow "Inquirian" Visceron didn't have this problem), only to drop this practice when the four veteran Rangers- probably more experienced at this sort of thing than she was- were retired and replaced, at which point she got a lot more direct.
** [[DontExplainTheJoke Get it?]] Because it sounds like inquiry/inquire? Question?
* Lampshaded in an early episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'', with the 'Holly Hop Drive'
-->'''Lister:''' It's just a box, with "STOP" and "START" on it!\\
'''Holly:''' It's fairly straightforward. If you want to start it you press "START", and you can work out the rest of the controls for yourself.
* Dr. Cox has this attitude very often with all of his interns/residents on ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', although it is possible that this is because, as doctors, they need to be able to perform procedures/diagnoses in order to become effective medical staff. Or, possibly, because he's [[DrJerk a jerk]].
* It's a recurring part of the Ancients' schtick in ''Series/StargateSG1'', and a lot of what makes the Tollans so annoying.
** Nicely explained concerning the issue of ascension. The Ancients believe people should learn how to do it themselves (after all, ''they'' did), while the Ori promise to ascend followers for them ([[TheCakeIsALie which is actually a lie]], but no one knew it at the time). While Daniel is usually frustrated by the Ancients and their lack of helpfulness, he once spoke in their defence to stop people from following the Ori:
--->'''Daniel:''' You're right. Maybe...hoarding knowledge is wrong. Or maybe it's not. Maybe learning something for yourself is part of the journey to enlightenment.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'':
** A time traveler in an episode pulls this on Picard, saying how happy he is to be visiting the Enterprise. Picard, meanwhile, has a difficult decision to make and wants the time traveler to tell him how the decision turns out (the fate of a whole planet was at stake). The time traveler, naturally, refuses. Picard does make the right choice and saves everybody, but in an interesting subversion it turns out that the time traveler is bluffing about knowing how things come out: he was actually from the ''past'' and had stolen the time machine.
** In the SeriesFinale "All Good Things...", Picard asks Q what he's ''really'' saying about humanity. Q begins to whisper something in his ear, then changes his mind, smiling broadly and bidding Picard farewell.
--->"In any case, I'll be watching. And if you're very lucky, I'll drop by to say hello from time to time. See you... out there!"
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "Meet the New Boss", the Winchesters try to [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu bind the Grim Reaper]] to force him to dispatch a rogue angel who achieved godhood. They eventually fail, but Death doesn't immediately vaporize them. Instead he goes out of his way to create another eclipse so that the Winchesters can reverse the ritual that started all this mess and tells them to compel the angel to do it, but emphasizes that it's not a CosmicEntity's job to save one tiny planet every time it's on the edge of disaster.
-->'''Dean:''' "Compel"?\\
'''Death:''' '''''Figure it out.'''''

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the case of the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, it's obvious what the real reason is that Phoenix Wright (and Apollo) have to figure everything out for themselves. After all, it wouldn't be much of a game if they kept telling you how to solve the problems. In-universe, however, it's kind of strange how everyone, including his mentor Mia, refuses to give any advice at trials more helpful than sometimes-vague hints. Apparently, Phoenix's growth as a lawyer is more important than making sure his innocent client doesn't get convicted of murder, even if that client is Mia's little sister.
** Phoenix in fact questions Mia's motive for being so secretive about the outcome on one occasion. In the second case of ''Justice for All'', she tells him that if he can't answer her questions, he won't stand a chance against Franziska in court.
** Miles Edgeworth tells Phoenix in ''Justice for All'' that he has to decide for himself what being an attorney means. It's suggested that he doesn't tell Phoenix what he considers to be the right answer -- to reveal the truth -- because Maya is being held hostage to force Phoenix to get an acquittal for his very-much-guilty client.
** Ema Skye uses the phrase directly in the 4th game, regarding Phoenix's loss of his badge.
* ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'': Kirigiri and Togami both pull this regularly. Kirigiri justifies it with the idea that Naegi needs to learn how to solve cases on his own in case [[AnyoneCanDie anything happens to her]], while also wanting to avoid her preconceived notions influencing the investigation. Perhaps more pragmatically, she also has to worry about giving out more than anyone needs to know on the off-chance that one of the other students might be the BigBad ([[spoiler:[[ProperlyParanoid which turns out to be the case]], just not in the way she thought]]). Togami, meanwhile... he's just a {{Jerkass}} who wants to flaunt his intellect in a show of power, since to him [[ThisIsACompetition the game is a life-or-death struggle that he intends to win]]. In the second case he actively hinders the investigation in order to smoke out people smart enough to be a threat to him.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. If Loghain is a party member, and you decide not to take him with you to defeat the Archdemon, he puzzles why you spared his life if you had no intention of forcing him to kill the archdemon as an alternative to self-sacrifice, one of your answers is that someday he'll realize why. If you choose the Heroic Sacrifice, it's doubly poignant.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' has Auron say pretty much exactly this.
--> ''Rikku:'' Hey, you know something, don't you? Spill the beans!
--> ''Auron:'' Look not to others for knowledge. This is your journey, too.
* At one point in ''VideoGame/LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'', when Lightning tires of her riddles and wordplay and outright asks Lumina what the hell she's talking about, Lumina's response is that Lightning has to figure it out herself or else it won't mean anything. [[spoiler:Considering that Lumina is actually an aspect of Lightning's personality that she cast off, this isn't necessarily off the mark.]]
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories''. Axel explicitly offers Sora a hint as to what's going on in Castle Oblivion, but Sora turns him down, stating that he'd rather figure it out himself.
** Granted, in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 358/2 Days]]'', Axel gives Roxas the exact opposite treatment.
** Played straight in the first ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' though, when Sora asks Hercules what it takes to be a true hero.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'', this is more-or-less what Wess tells Duster when sending him to get the [[spoiler:Egg of Light]]. Naturally, being told ''only'' to get a shiny thing in the nearby ancient castle, with no more details than that, backfires, but Wess simply blames Duster for the mistake.
* An old game on the Apple II called ''Nightmare #6'' started off with the text: "The object of the game is to figure out the object of the game."
* In the InteractiveFiction game ''VideoGame/ThePKGirl'', Katryn makes a very big point of giving you exactly half of the information you need and letting you win the rest of the story yourself. Of course, she's a FemmeFatale and a [[MagnificentBastard Magnificent Bitch]], and [[spoiler: while she has her own agenda, using you as her catspaw is [[SecretTestOfCharacter her way of testing you to see if you're]] worthy to take over ROSA]].
* The entirety of ''VideoGame/{{Riven}}'' is an instance of FigureItOutYourself. Atrus is too busy to explain the situation before sending you off, so he gives you a wondrously cryptic journal, assuring you that "most of what you'll need to know is in there". He does mention that he can't supply you with an escape hatch, "for reasons you'll discover". And he tells you to signal him when you've accomplished your mission, but doesn't tell you how ...
** Arguably, the [[VideoGame/{{Myst}} entire series]] is based on this.
* The Star Tablet keepers of the ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'' series tend to do this a lot, much to said Stars' annoyance.
** Most notably, [[VideoGame/SuikodenV Zerase]] and her {{Expy}} [[VideoGame/SuikodenTierkreis Zenoa]], who practically brag about their knowledge and ridicule you for asking questions of them.
* Somewhat amusingly, when Yuan from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' says this to the party, it's mostly just that he's too [[GoodIsNotNice impatient]] to bother explaining all the details.
* This is integral to Jonathan Blow's approach to designing games. He says he enjoys the "aha!" moment when he finally works out how to progress in a game, and wants people who play his games to experience that pleasure for themselves, refusing to release walkthroughs or help guides for that reason. He's also said that this is why he doesn't enjoy playing most games, because they tell him exactly how to play.
* The ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', and ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'' are rather notorious for this. The games will only go so far as to explain the basic controls, but in terms of telling you where to go or how to fight the bosses, well, you'll have to figure that out yourself. Over and over and over...

* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', this is Ellen's approach to help Elliot [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2013-03-13 realize what kind of relationship he truly wants]]. This is partly on the grounds that they've had some time to diverge since [[OppositeSexClone Ellen's initial creation]], so Ellen's feelings on the matter aren't ''necessarily'' going to be the same as Elliot's, and partly on the grounds that if he ''doesn't'' figure it out himself, he'll just fight it whether it's true or not.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', Karkat is extremely reluctant to explain anything of use to John, even though it would be immensely helpful. This is because he's organising the conversations in a reverse temporal fashion (his first talk with John is John's last, and vice versa). Thus, he's already explained those facts and doesn't want to repeat himself every time, which means John either figures it out himself, gets the information from another source (which pisses Karkat off) or waits until Karkat is finally good and ready to explain. When Karkat later trolls Jade, she enforces a password system for the explicit purpose of not letting him do this.
** Part of Karkat's aggravation stems from the fact that John is, essentially, doing the very same thing to him.
* After Joyce from ''Webcomic/ItsWalky'' asks [[AllPowerfulBystander The Cheese]] if God exists, his answer is a version of [[http://www.itswalky.com/d/20031107.html this]].
* A few of the ''Webcomic/{{Nukees}}'' comics that focus on the undergrads talk about this tendency in undergrad textbooks. "The book says, 'the reader can show how X becomes Y squared. I'm the reader! I can't show! The back of my ass! That's what I can show!"
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2404 Buddha, in the best Zen tradition, offers a flower in response to a request for enlightenment.]]
* [[http://talesfromthevault.com/thunderstruck/comic603.html Justified]] in ''Webcomic/{{Thunderstruck}}'', with the Shackled Man. Basically, [[spoiler:he can see all possible futures except events directly involving him. So if he tells anyone what he sees, and they act on it, he can't see what happens to them after that.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/Ben10SecretOfTheOmnitrix'', this is implied uttered by the creator of the Omnitrix at the very end of the MadeForTVMovie. Due to the very little learning experience Ben expresses, it's pretty much used to maintain the [[StatusQuoIsGod status quo]]. Of course, Azmuth doesn't tell him anything, anyway.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'', Angelica could be found repeatedly [[ParentalBonus reciting the Louis Armstrong quote]] to the babies.
** [[HilariousInHindsight That just made the time they camped out a lot funnier.]] Angelica said, "We couldn't sleep 'cause of the [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Sachmo]]."
* Mr. E from ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' is this one. He hangs a lampshade in one episode when he wants to give a Riddle to Mystery Inc, but Shaggy demands a straight answer.
--> '''Mr. E''': Where's the fun in that?

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The ancient philosopher Creator/{{Socrates}} believed in using a complex questioning method to engage with his opponents, instead of simply arguing for the ideas that he had in mind; this makes this OlderThanFeudalism. This method of debate gets so mind-blowingly annoying that it may have had more than a little to do with why Socrates was eventually sentenced to death by the people of Athens.
** It can help people understand a concept more than if they were just told about it. By asking them questions, they can theorize and you can find out what they already know and what they need to be taught. It's also effective politically, if done well, in that the person you're doing this to will think ''they'' came up with ''your'' idea. And people will always accept things more easily [[GladIThoughtOfIt if it's "their" idea]].
*** Part of the reason he was executed was because he annoyed (or rather, pissed off) the wrong people with his questions. The tall and mighty didn't like being made fools of back then.
** It probably didn't help Socrates that (at least as portrayed by Plato) he rarely paid more than lip service to his own favored method of discourse. After an initial series of exchanges that show how hopelessly confused his opponent is regarding the matter at interest, the core questions from Socrates invariably go like: "And wouldn't you agree that such and such, and also that this and that, so because of fee fie foe it must be true that blah de blah?" The opponent is then reduced to meekly agreeing. Figure it out yourself, indeed.
*** During his lifetime Socrates objected to the way Plato represented him. Plato basically treated Socrates as a mouthpiece for his ideas.
* In the card game TabletopGame/{{Mao}}, it is against the rules to tell people about the rules. That is the only one of the rules that the people trying to get you to learn the game can tell you. You have to figure out everything else from how the people who know how to play are playing, and [[TrialAndErrorGameplay when you get penalized for getting something wrong]]. Oh, and a new rule is added by the winner of each round.
** Interestingly this game is often described as a good glimpse into what trying to learn etiquette feels like for autistic people.
* Many parents take this approach to child rearing, in hope that they'll end up with smart and independent kids.
** Likewise with teachers sometimes. They'll only give enough of the basics with a few examples. The rest is up to the student to understand and get a better appreciation for what they've learned, rather than just regurgitating the material.
* Youngsters [[ComingOutStory coming out]] are sometimes surprised to find their parents knew all along. As did their friends, and neighbours.. "But I've only did realised it myself!" "Yes, but you needed to figure it out for ''yourself''."
* Often invoked (many times as a HandWave) in technical lectures and discussions, especially in math and science: "The proof is left as an exercise for the reader." In general, the lower the quality of a textbook or the shorter a lecture is on time, the more frequently you can expect the sentence to occur.
** It's sometimes more of a focus thing. As engineer, you don't really need the whole mathematical proof behind most things. You need to understand what you're doing and why and apply it to practical things like building bridges. As a doctor, there is knowledge needed about what the body is made of, but you don't need all the exact chemical reactions. A race car driver doesn't need to know all the formulae and mathematical models that make his car go 3 milliseconds faster than his opponents' cars. There is a vast sea of knowledge and it's become impossible for one person to know it all.
* A quote from physicist UsefulNotes/RichardFeynman: "What I cannot create, I do not understand".
* Similar to the matrix example above, it's debated whether or not [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia qualia]] can be accurately defined.
** Obviously it can be sufficiently defined since they wouldn't be able to talk about it otherwise.
*** The word qualia can; individual qualia can't. That's basically what the word is defined as: "Things which cannot be accurately defined."
* There are things in life that can only be learned/believed through experience, some because it doesn't quite make sense logically at the time ("Careful - the [unchanged-looking] stove is hot now."), and some because it's something no one really knows how to explain, and you can't really comprehend unless you've learned it by experience. ("Love and hate are not opposites.")
* This is actually a large part of constructivism, a teaching philosophy that is becoming more common in today's schools and being driven into education major's heads by their instructors. Children are not simply told "This is how you solve a problem." Instead, they are guided through the process with questions and prompts from the teacher so that they can discover the answers themselves.
** Doubly so in language learning, where the "Translation Method" (ie. using known language A to explain a word/phrase in unknown language B) can interfere with the mental modelling that would otherwise develop from struggling through language B by itself.
* Zen Buddhism thrives on this, as the whole point of enlightenment is that it's something you have to pursue and figure out yourself. Therefore asking a master to explain something is more likely to get you a {{Koan}} or a seemingly unrelated demonstration than anything a layperson might consider useful.
* It's doubtful that they are doing it to teach or improve the user; but it's amazing how many computer programs state that "an error has occurred" or "a required file is missing" without considering What Error or Which File to be something that they need to mention.