How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Increase one's own social status, relative to others.
Decrease others' social status, relative to one's own.
Gain power and influence.
A says something.
B says something that positions B as superior to A, usually in the subject A has brought up.
or, B says something that positions A as inferior.
or, A and B position C as inferior to both of them.
As a tribal species we have a great concern for our position in the 'pecking order' and spend a great deal of time subtly positioning ourselves, often within polite verbal battles. Entire conversations may be purely about status, even when they may seem to be inconsequential.
Status is a relative thing. We do not have status relative to a fixed standard but to other people. We thus see ourselves as superior and inferior relative to other people.
Having higher social status means we have the power to direct others and take things from them, originally including food and mates. In normal society it is seen in higher status people interrupting others and overriding their views and decisions.
There is also a reversal on the Status Game (the Modesty Game) where a person positions themself as inferior to others but in doing so is claiming superiority. Effectively what is said is:
'I cannot claim to be superior without risking others continuing the game by trying to reduce my status, so I will send a signal that I am modest, which means I know my superiority but am being considerate of others and so actually deserve to be given higher status.'
There is a Power Game, often used by acknowledged and prospective leaders, which appears as a Modesty Game. The person positions themself at a lower status whilst everyone knows that if they actually treat that person as if they were lower status they will suffer from the use of the other person's power. Power games often deliberately break rules simply as a demonstration of power.
Watch any conversation and you will very likely see status games going on. When you are aware of them, you can then choose what to do.
Manage your own status games where you may be so concerned at gaining status you fail to persuade others.
Sometimes you can give status in order to get something in return. At other times, you need to gain status in order to be able to influence others.