The Latitude of Attitude – What’s Your Angle?




One of the things which I try to assess about a person when I’m interacting with them is where they are coming from.

[Such as are they the sort of person who will read the previous sentence and trip over my incorrect use of grammar. Will they be offended by my error so much so that they are unable to continue reading, feel superior to me because they saw a wrong. Will they attempt to show me the error of my ways and the correctness of their way. Or are they the sort of person who did not notice, and wouldn’t care if they did.]

What is their angle.

The place from where someone is coming can be – Where were they located physically before they relocated here with me. Their mood, behaviour, self-expression and needs will be influenced by the place before they were here. It will be affected by the journey they took from there to here. It will also be influenced by here and how they perceive where here is.

If they are meeting with me after a long and stressful day at work, and on the journey to get here they were crammed into a train and someone groped them or bashed them with a briefcase, however they consider this place to be a relaxing haven… then their mood may be cranky, their behaviour may be aggressive, their self-expression may be abrupt, and their needs will be pushing them to find a release valve for their experiences, but they will feel a sense of relief at finally having got here after being there and traveling from there to here.

They may need to rant to get things off their chest and out of their system. A laugh to create a boundary between work and play, to draw a blurred line and step over it. Silence to soothe. Sharing to remind them that they’re not the only one having a life which is sometimes overwhelming. Gossip to distract from themselves. To take off their clothes and put on a different attire. To change their angles into curves.

Their angle may have many angles to it.

The place from where someone is coming can be – Everything they’ve ever experienced in life which influences how they experience the now. Everyone whom they have ever met which will have a say in how they view other people now. Everyone they have ever been which will have bearing on who they are in the moment.

We are framed by many angles, past, present, and projections of the future.

The place from where someone is coming can be – What they are projecting onto me. Who am I to them and what they expect from me. Am I the supplier of something they need or am I the demander of something they supply. Both. Rarely neither. How well do they know me and how well do they think I know them. Is their angle of me sharp, acute, or something a bit trapezoid.


The other thing which I try to assess in an interaction is my own status. To be aware of from where I am coming. My angle, and my angle of their angle.

[Such as that I am the sort of person who grew up with someone who felt compelled to grammatically correct me at every opportunity, since they were an opportunist they found plenty of opportunities to do so. This may be a helpful compulsion in certain situations – you kind of need this from a teacher when you are their pupil – but when all you’re doing is having a chat it is an annoying obstacle to communication.

This particular person was all angles and no curves – they did not do curves unless it was in the form of a curve ball which knocked you out of the game, they certainly did not make exceptions for learning curves, even when, like me at the time of most of our interactions, I was a child and they were an adult, and not my teacher of English or math.

Thus if you’re the sort of person who prides themselves of being a member of the grammar police, and you come at me with your red pen when all I’m doing is having a chat, and you expect me to be grateful for your unrequested services… perhaps you should have checked the angle from which I was coming before you came at me from your angle.]

Assessing the angle of others, from where they are coming, is an angle from which I am coming. I will adjust my angle according to the angle of others. The mathematical formula of this angle adjustment is complex and I often jumble the numbers which cause mixed results and odd looking structures. Sometimes the framing cuts off a corner of my subject of focus, and I end up focusing on what I cut off rather than what I managed to capture – as I did when I looked at the photos accompanying this post and that’s why I chose them.

[I ended up being the photographic grammar police, circling and underlining my errors with a big indelible red pen, and pointing out what I did wrong rather than what I did right.]

Our angle on and of others is often the result of the angle we have on and of ourselves – the angle we have of ourselves is sometimes the result of the angle which others have on and of us. So those angles are part of a circle, which may be part of a spiral. Our angles bump, the bump causes them to spin, twirl, and things spiral from there, sometimes the result is negative, sometimes positive, such is the delicate dance of mathematical formulas in human form.




“if man is 5 [3x]
then the devil is 6 [5x]
then god is 7 [3x]
this monkey’s gone to heaven.”
– Monkey Gone to Heaven lyrics [repeatedx], Pixies.
*inspired by The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge: Angular


  1. True, but unluckily emotions step in and it’s hard to see it as detatched as this, therefreo you take into account their perspective, you listen, you try to understand but you get a fist in your face!:)).Not everything is mutual, alas..


    • What is true?

      Why are emotions unlucky because they step in?

      Why do you think this is detached?

      And when you say this – “you take into account their perspective, you listen, you try to understand but you get a fist in your face!” – how did you not see that fist coming if you truly took their perspective into account, were listening and trying to understand? Surely the fist makes sense, and if it doesn’t perhaps you forgot to factor in your perspective, didn’t listen to yourself, and did not try to understand how you affected – that includes how your taking into account their perspective, your listening and tries at understanding them affected the interaction.

      Did you attempt to manipulate them (while pretending you were doing something else) through your understanding of them – that is often what prompts a fist in the face – metaphorical or otherwise.

      Someone who is angry does not want to be placated, they just want to be angry… and for you to take a step back while they are that way. If you insist on shoving your face forward, a punch aimed at some other frustration may hit your face, but it may not have been meant for you. You could have avoided the punch if you hadn’t been trying to manipulate the puncher into not punching because people who punch is something you don’t like and so you try to stop people from being who you don’t like – but they may not want to be who you want them not to be and whom you need them to be for you to be who you want yourself to be. And many variations on that theme.

      If you’re trying to manipulate someone else (even if this manipulation if for all the right reasons) and they suss that out – you may well get a fist to the face for your effort. None of us like to feel manipulated (whether it is for good or not, for our benefit or not).

      This being human thing… can be simple, but in trying to simplify it we make it more complicated than it already is 😉


      • it’s true what you say, although this is a very cerebral way to look at relationships and emotions, which are bound to intervene in every exchange, sometimes subvert the order of cold analysis you have listed. Manipulation is not my forte, i just spend hors listening to people, but i am less generous now and I invest when i think it’s worth it, while in the past i just did it for the sake of it. i do not think a fist in the face is justified even where there are reasons, but this is just my personal point of view.


        • The mind is a part of the experience of relationships as much as emotions are. Some emotions are all in the mind, just as some thoughts are emotion translating itself into words.

          I just wondered why you thought that when emotions participate in an interaction that this is something which is unlucky… as emotions are wonderful, even when they don’t feel that way when you’re on the receiving end. They’re still natural, normal, and part of the equation. A person expressing themselves, and us experiencing their self expression.

          As far as I am concerned there is nothing cold about my cerebration, for me it allows for more warmth. Analysis allows for more openness, for embracing all that there is, of self and of others. Knowing from where someone is coming allows me to understand their expression of self better and not impose my own rules on them. It is about finding the meeting ground between the you and the me, and letting the two dance in their own way and not impose my dance on them or vice versa, finding a common ground and a common dance of sorts which allows for the unique to each dancer.

          And if you think I was advocating physical abuse… I was not, but as you said, it is your personal point of view, one which enables you to express who you are using your perception of what I said. Such is the delicate dance of interactions. We see what we see to see ourselves in our view of the other. Whether that is who the other is…?


          • It was a metaphorical fist I was worried about!!! it happens to me i don’t understand where people want to go, as you say, i can’t see the fist coming.
            i didn’t want to vent once again, but three weeks ago I met by chance l’amour de ma jeunesse ( A N, of course) and it was a disaster.The conversation was one sided, all his remarks were against me, he was patronizing and spiteful but i was paralysed and this horror tea lasted two hours.Why did i accept to spend time with him?because i thought he is part of my past and i feel genuine fondness even for who i can’t share much with. My attitude was exactly what you described, i was open, i was just listening and i found funny to meet after more than a decade.But i have changed, so i shyly say i don’t agree and he felt attacked-you can imagine the Nrage.i found very painful to follow his speech as he was grabbing my mind and forcing it into something i didn’t want to. maybe my fond attitude is towards a someone i could love in the way my parents taught me, that’s to say accepting what is not love but a constant violence on what i am and what they expected of me. i couldn’t see this ocean of nasty emotions coming, as i was placid and in a good mood.Meeting wasn’t possible but this made me realize i have moved on and changed, even if i still find i have so much to work on.
            i love the emotional side of life, but Ns (especially those on the higher side of the Spectrum) use them in a devastating way and there is no exchange possible;
            i am reluctant to use a word as equation as it suggests me a sort of objective and rational reality.It was very painful, and sad because no matter how i tried to be in a real dialogue, it was like madness, i couldn’t grasp his logic nor where he wanted to go with his words.he imagined me against me but i was just there and he ignored the real possibility of two people talking to privilege a made up, bogus, phony one. Sorry i should have told you before, it was a kriptic message without this episode.


            • And now that you’re shared, I know where you’re coming from 🙂


              If we don’t know where people are coming from we may misunderstand, be confused, etc. and may not see the fist coming (talking about metaphorical, figurative ones).

              Which reminds me of a friend at school, who once asked me if he could punch my arm. I said go ahead. He did (lightly). It changed the dynamic of our relationship a bit, made him feel more able to be himself around me – he wasn’t a puncher, he was testing me, and it seems that I passed this test which = being able to handle him when he was feeling raw, as in his emotions were in need of expressing themselves openly and honestly. We test people all the time to know whether they only want to know us superficially or deeper. Sometimes a metaphorical fist is the test. Sometimes letting it hit us instead of seeing it coming and avoid it, is a personal test of whether we only accept people when they are the way we need them to be for us to meet our needs… or whether we are not always all about ourselves in our relationships.

              I have to confess that I sometimes use a figurative and metaphorical emotional fist to test people. I learned that from my friend. How others react lets you know what kind of a relationship you have with them, and which they have with you. Those who feel safe with you, are sometimes going to hit you with their emotions, because sometimes their emotions hit them and they need to pass it on before they can understand things. Somewhere safe… because we’re all afraid of the same things at the end of the day.

              It’s good to meet ghosts from the past and give them corporeal form… a good way to get closure for our fantasies by making them real. We live, meet life head on, and learn from it.

              This meeting gave you insight into the past, the present and… turn that alchemically into a gold which will finance your future and it is all exactly as it is meant to be. Don’t dwell… learn, expand, explore.

              No need to apologise for being yourself, that’s natural and normal 🙂


              • Thank you Ursula. I try to ponder and reflect upon my daily experience with a certain discipline, I try to vent less ( you already had your share!!).I have discovered that even when i feel lifeless and sad, if i focus on people rather than myself, life becomes more interesting again and I often experience i am able to give support and help more than i expected myself to be able to.
                I “met” you almost a year ago at the end of the month, and I owe you a lot, i am so grateful to you; sometimes when you mention your mother ( and your italian memories ,pizza and paris)i feel as though we shared the same spiritual childhood, the same notion of “family”. I have listened to all the voices here everyday and it has been an important experience for me. The notion of perspective and trust towards myself, i think i have learnt it here more than lying on the couch. I can now acknowledge my inner change and i can encourage people to expect to feel better in spite of their N families.
                You have awakened in me my love for writing and it’s a wonderful gift. Thank you again a thousand times for being there ( and being there for me too). xxxx


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