We weigh up how we are doing in life by feedback. Only way to weigh (hey, hey), unless we just don't care what people think. And one of the interesting times is when there is no feedback at all. Am I doing OK? Or am I being dull? If nothing has gone wrong have I taken insufficient risks?
So someone takes me on one side and says how much softer I have been recently. That she used to think I was a bit unapproachable but I have changed. I point out, in my own subtle way, that I am an acquired taste and she has probably changed, leaving her to ponder if she was right the first time. Meanwhile an email arrives from someone telling me I have been a bit stern recently.
When they are shooting at you from both sides you are probably standing accurately enough in the middle. Not a good place to observe the battle.