We are used to people with external positions of high status, like: judges, professors, ministers, executives, doctors (Ph.D. and M.D.), army generals and the like. You climb up the social ladders up to the higher status. And people who did not reach this high status –are being treated as subordinates, no questions asked.
Their high position is clear and respected by all.
But not all status differences are out in the open, formal, preceded by hard work and study, anf then – certificated, and acknowledged by authorities and establishments.
For there is another, more widely spread status difference between people, status differences which are informal and less out in the open, it exists between almost any persons who are in communication or relationship. It is difficult to trace and pin down, for it is not being expressed in the outward formal world, but rather in the shadow world of the games people play, this appear in patterns of communication-transactions which keep repeating themselves over and over again. And it is not less effective than the formal status differences.
Between any two people communicating, there are usually informal difference of status; for example:
- One (the higher status one) usually gives advices, the other is grateful for them (and again it is happening in a game-pattern).
- One (the higher status one) is hardly disclosing any information about his own life, but wanting to know info. about the other’s. He has the privilege of remaining in the dark, while demanding full exposure from the other who has a lower status.
- One (the higher status one) usually seems to be right in his views while the other admits more mistakes.
- The one who has higher status brings about the topics to the conversation and is allowed to talk longer about them.
- The one with the high status could let the other talk, but without relating at all to what he says, either by silence or by switching the topic.
- The higher status one is allowed to disagree more often than the lower status does.
- Questions: who is teaching who? Who is showing the way out of a difficult situation? And who adopts the solution offered by the other?
This informal- subtext relations – is so fixed and vital in a relationship, that if the balance of this hidden control is being disturbed or, God forbid – reversed – then the person with the high status – would end the relationship or at least, put them on hold.
This kind of relationship is never exposed or admitted, and often it could be covered by good intentions, and even by care.
Now, what would happen if the one with lower status will protest against this unequal status relationship, or even try, God forbid, to reverse the status relationship? Well, either a ‘war’ would break out, or even the one who used to have the higher status – will disconnect the relationship – altogether.
Social status quotes – 1
Social status quote – 2