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Competing for Social Status

by Ron Kurtus (2 December 2015)

Social status is your position or rank in relation to others in society or some group. It is the honor or prestige associated with that position and is your perceived level or value in society.

Some people have inherited social status, such as being born to a wealthy or prominent family. However, in most cases you must compete with others to achieve a higher social status. Winning any competition can increase your status. But you also can specifically seek to increase your social status through other competitions.

The method of competition may be through your performance, through a head-to-head contest, or by a predatory attack on your opponents.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Status from performance competition

You can gain status among a group simply as a result of your performance.

For example, you may get a promotion in your job due to your work performance. You are not trying to beat out anyone in particular but are just trying to do your best. The promotion increases your status with respect to your peer group.

An article was printed in the local newspaper about the work Jenny did to help the homeless. This recognition raised her status in the eyes of those who knew her.

Gaining wealth is another form of winning a performance competition and increasing your status.

Status from head-to-head competition

Winning a head-to-head competition increases your status with respect to your opponent, as well as with onlookers.

You might directly compete with another person to show who is the best in some area. This is often called "keeping up with the Joneses" where neighbors compete with each other to imply which one is more successful.

When Jim and Gloria saw that their good friends bought a new car, they felt they had to get one too—even if they couldn't afford it—just to keep up and not be left behind in status.

To a degree, the winner of any contest or competition has shown he is better than his opponent and thus has greater status in that area.

Status from predatory competition

A predatory competition is when one party attacks or competes with the other without permission. This is increasing status with respect to the other person by trying to lower his or her status in the eyes of others.

This can be done by insulting the other person, spreading rumors to ruin the person's reputation, or personally attacking the person.

Teenager Charlie would often pick on Dan. This made him feel more powerful and of a higher status than his victim.

Summary

Although some people have inherited social status, such as being born to a wealthy or prominent family, in most cases you must compete with others to achieve a higher social status. You can specifically seek to increase your social status through winning competitions with others.

The method of competition may be through your performance, through a head-to-head contest, or by a predatory attack on your opponents.


Think well of other people, no matter what their status


Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

Websites

The Psychology of Social Status: How the pursuit of status can lead to aggressive and self-defeating behavior - Scientific American

Social status - Wikipedia

Two Routes to Social Status: Dominance isn't the only path to social status - Psychology Today

With change of social status comes a change of social circle - The National Arab Newsletter

Social position - Wikipedia

Competition Resources

Books

Top-rated books on Winning Competitions


Questions and comments

If you have questions, comments, or opinions on this subject, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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