August 8, 2012 The Softer Side of Social Slaughter
The arsenal of the inventive to manipulate, control, and damage others without the use of force contains more than the social avenues that have been explored so far. There are subtler approaches, and more enjoyable ones--even for the victim, at least until the final effect is achieved. This is not to say that the results are always detrimental. Sometimes these actions are mutually beneficial, and of course some benefits are slanted more to one side than the other.
The first item for this class of social implements is the use of seduction--usually reserved for the sexual kind as opposed to the seduction of power, fame, or money. The goal is usually to get something, elicit some action, or to cultivate an emotion as part of a future requirement. Seduction is successful anywhere from within a few moments of plying the target to not until after parting the next morning (metaphorically speaking of course; it could still be the middle of the night, or the middle of the same afternoon). Seduction can also be a part of a plot to discredit the target, extort something from the target, or part of an ambush.
The second type of interaction shouldn't be overlooked despite the simplicity of it. Plain old social networking is still important even in fiction and games. A deft hand at smoozing goes a long way, as does an ability to smooth things over when tempers flare and events get out of hand. As hinted, making connections is just the first step in using this specific set of social skills. Allies, informants, funding sources, and the like require maintenance at some level or other even if it's just an infrequent friendly touching base. Also keep in mind that these are the kind of social set ups where trading favours of all kinds is an important factor. Of course people and groups can be used as instruments and help in the previously discussed social combat areas.
Whatever the social sphere being worked on, do not write off the interactions with rivals, and in some cases even outright enemies for these kinds of interactions, especially if there is room for shifting allegiances. Even if there is little budging consider catastrophes and other threats that may be so great that they force the bitterest of enemies to set aside their enmity to deal with the situation before resuming hostilities again. It's entirely possible that the result of working together is an appreciable impact on the feelings of one or both parties toward the other. Of course a one-sided change can easily result in a betrayal and even worse future encounters, as well as a whole host of new social interactions--and an escalation of violence.
Music: Timelessness by Fear Factory and Basket Case by Green Day.