Alice has a problem and she goes to Bob for some advice. She pours her problems out to him, unaware that he isn't paying attention, but by the end of their "conversation" she's figured out the answer to her problem and thanks Bob for his help. On the other hand, Bob may be all set to give her some advice, but before he can get a word in, Alice comes up with a solution and runs off, thanking him, and leaving Bob bewildered, though he'll still probably say, "You're welcome." If Bob contributed anything at all, it was simply to serve as a catalyst for Alice to re-state (and thereby re-think) her problem.

In short, this is when a character has a EurekaMoment without being inspired by the other character, but acts like the other character gave them just what they needed or thought they needed. Sometimes the other character isn't actually listening in the first place - they're asleep, or they've left the room, etc. Sometimes it's an animal, a person who they share no languages with, or TheSilentBob. A common variation is for a character to be visiting their therapist, who doesn't say much more than "hmm," and "I see," yet they leave the session [[EpiphanyTherapy feeling much better]] (in fact, [[AllPsychologyIsFreudian psychoanalysis]] actually ''recommends'' that the therapist say as little as possible, partly to prevent them from putting words in the patient's mouth and partly to encourage the patient to talk themselves).

Also known as [[http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?RubberDucking Rubber Ducking]] IRL. At the other extreme we have GladIThoughtOfIt. Compare ExplainExplainOhCrap for another situation where the act of describing the situation leads a character to a (much less helpful) understanding.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' (the second movie) - "Oh, you're good."
* ''Film/AirplaneIITheSequel'' has this with Ted Stryker, in a flashback.
* In ''Disney/TheLionKing 1'', this happens the second time Timon meets Rafiki.
-->'''Rafiki''': My work here is done.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Some of Hermione's I-think-I-just-had-an-epiphany-I'm-off-to-the-library moments in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' were like this. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Ron at least once (he hates it when she figures something out and then leaves without telling them what it was).
* [[CharmPerson Rin]], in Shannon Hale's ''[[Literature/BooksOfBayern Forest Born]]'' has the gift for helping people this way, due to her quiet and accepting nature.
* ''Literature/{{Momo}}'', by Creator/MichaelEnde. Momo is a little girl who basically solves everyone's problems by simply listening to them. She never gives any advice at all, but the people who talk to her suddenly come up with ideas and solutions.
* One of the many reasons SherlockHolmes keeps [[TheWatson Watson]] around; explaining his cases to someone with less understanding often gives him just the brainstorm he needs.
* Literature/{{Psmith}}'s relationship with Mike as his "[[TheConfidant confidential secretary and adviser]]" seems to embody this. Psmith is constantly praising Mike for his "invaluable" intelligence, despite the fact that he rarely lets him even get a word in edgewise; the truth is he likes having an audience.
* ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'' addresses the first example listed under Real Life below; computers are logical, but lack common sense. As such they make an excellent substitution for a particularly dimwitted student; by breaking down a process into simple logical steps that a computer can understand, you are bound to understand the process better yourself. Very much TruthInTelevision.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' by Lord Vetinari, who thinks that when people go ask other people for advice it isn't because they want their help. They just want someone to be there while they talk to themselves.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/BlackBooks'', Bernard and Manny visit the same psychiatrist, and both of them experience ([[StatusQuoIsGod temporary]]) epiphanies. The shrink never says a thing, and gets showered with money for her trouble.
* Happens in the ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "Punked". Alexis asks her dad how to know if she's in love, but before he can give her any advice, she rambles on about it, coming to her own conclusion, but thanking him as if he gave her the answer. Quoth Castle as she runs off, "Glad we had this talk."
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', when Frasier asks for his brother's advice, he basically uses him as a Straw Therapist while he [[TheCobblersChildrenHaveNoShoes diagnoses himself]].
* This sometimes happens with [[TheDanza Charlie]]'s interactions with his therapist in ''Series/TwoAndAHalfMen''. Sometimes he tries to ''make'' it happen in order to reach his preferred conclusion, usually with little success.
* ''Series/{{Monk}}'', as well, at least once each with Dr. Kroger and Dr. Bell, as well as a time or two where he used a non-therapist as a wall off of which to bounce ideas.
* The therapist Maddie talks to (or rather ''at'') in the ''Series/JonathanCreek'' episode "The Scented Room".
* The second episode of ''{{Scrubs}}'' did this, where first J.D. and then Elliot did this with Dr Cox. This cemented Dr. Cox as the guy people (especially J.D.) came to with problems, much to his annoyance (''especially'' when it involved J.D.).
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': With the Doctor around, this is almost a given. He'll be talking to his companion and then he'll explain what he had figured out. His companions will still wonder what he said!
** Some Doctors do this as a charming and fairly respectful habit (like the Tenth and Eleventh) but it's a lot more grating in other cases, particularly the First, who will do this, start acting on a plan several places behind the end of his logic train, and then call the companion a stupid child for not keeping up. In "The Romans", his response when Ian asks if Barbara and Vicki are okay is "Pipes!" - when Ian attempts to press him on it, the Doctor explains the [[WikiWalk convoluted logic train that caused him to deduce that not only are Barbara and Vicki okay but that the Romans are experimenting with using pipes to transport water]] and then yells at him for not paying attention.
* ''Series/{{House}}'', usually at least OnceAnEpisode. Sometimes House and Wilson will be in the same room and talking, but having two entirely different conversations, and something Wilson says or does causes House to get up and leave, generally without explanation. One time when both his team and Wilson were unavailable, House commandeered a passing janitor to be his sounding board; apparently he's physically incapable of being brilliant without [[TheWatson someone]] there to witness it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* In ''OnceUponAMattress'', the Queen asks the wizard to help her think of a test to give Princess Winifred, but ends up just complaining without letting him get a word in edgewise. She ends up coming up with the idea all on her own, but still calls the wizard "a genius" for it.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The therapist in ''{{Phantasmagoria 2}}'' had surprisingly little to say about Curtis's various revelations: everything from being dressed as a girl by his horrifically abusive mother, to his attraction to both his female co-worker and male best friend, to his interest in bondage. You'd think there would've at least been a comment of note. Oh well, Curtis seemed pleased with the sessions.
* An AbsentMindedProfessor mage in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' can be asked about her research, and she'll tell the player about problems she's having. If instead of admitting to having no idea what she's talking about you respond with random gibberish ("Uh... Seven?") she'll filter it through several layers of BatDeduction and come to a breakthrough, thanking you for your insightful advice.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In one ''ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'' strip, Merlin discusses something with Arthur over breakfast. Merlin then admits he just needed to say it out loud, and NotAMorningPerson Arthur replies that obviously Merlin knows him better than to actually ask his ''opinion'' at that time of day.
* Used in [[http://kevinandkell.com/2011/kk0902.html this]] ''KevinAndKell'' strip, where Frank seeks guidance from his advisor Simcha.
--> '''Frank:''' Wait. I arrived at my conclusion just by thinking about it. \\
'''Simcha:''' Sometimes this is actually a pretty easy gig for me.
* Early In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', the ghost of Roy's father made a habit of appearing to him when he tried to get to sleep. After [[AchillesInHisTent briefly forsaking the rest of the party]], he didn't appear, but Roy still tried to talk to him anyway, [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0162.html leading to this trope]].
* In ''WapsiSquare'', Monica thanked Darren for his advice [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/01312005/ without realizing he never said anything.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* In Legendary Frog's flash video "Kerri's Big Invention", Kerrigan asks a monkey for advice, which responds to her in generic monkey noises. Kerrigan admits that she has no idea what the monkey said, but is now somehow inspired. She then immediately gets back to tinkering.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus," Kyle asks his baby brother Ike for advice and just gets gibberish in response, but he comes to a conclusion on his own.
* In ''[[Franchise/DisneyFairies TinkerBell and the Lost Treasure]]'', Terence vents his frustations with Tink to [[TheOwlKnowingOne an owl]], and actually answers the owl's hoots ("Who?"), working through his problem this way. After he leaves, Fairy Gary shows up, looking for advice about the guys [[ManInAKilt making fun of his kilt]].
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda Holiday Special'' has this one where Po thinks of a way to make sure he and his dad spend time together during the Winter Festival, so he mumbles in front of the guard who remained stoic. He figures out a solution regardless and thanks the guard who still remained stoic.
* Happens in ''TheSimpsons'' episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2" when Lisa finds a clue and then thanks a nearby pigeon for pointing it out to her.
-->'''Lisa:''' I'd kiss you if you weren't riddled with disease.
* Occurs in ''[[{{Peanuts}} Play It Again, Charlie Brown]]'' between Lucy and Charlie Brown.
* Used in the ''GravityFalls'' episode "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel," with Mabel asking Wendy for advice on breaking up with someone, but as Wendy keeps listing all the guys she's dumped, Mabel realizes what she has to do and thanks Wendy for their talk.
* At least once on ''[[WesternAnimation/TheLittleMermaid The Little Mermaid: The Series]]'', King Triton would ask Dudley for advice, but since Dudley is a turtle and talks very slowly he can't get a single word in as Triton keeps interrupting him and Triton ends up coming to the conclusion himself.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* There is an old academic advice that basically says, if you want to understand what you're learning, find someone who knows even less than you to explain it to. In other words, in the process of breaking down an idea for someone else to understand you also get a better understanding of it (this is very much a truth; even if you thought you got it before, it can reveal a lot of mistakes or parts that you have skipped.)
* In software development, "teddy bear debugging" is a well-known technique where you try to fix a problem by describing it to a coworker, friend, or even a stuffed animal. The mere act of putting it to words often allows you to figure it out on your own.
** Aka "bugbear".
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA ELIZA]] program, a "psychoanalytic" computer program where people would type in their problems (for instance, "People don't like me") and it would just throw their statements back at them in the form of questions ("Why do you think people don't like you?"). The majority of users said the program helped them feel better.
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