Created By: OgreProdigy on August 6, 2011 Last Edited By: Prime_of_Perfection on August 16, 2011
Troped

The Social Expert

The character who is good at understanding and exploiting social situations.

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The Social Expert is a character with people skills, especially when dealing with large groups of people. He can recognize the social patterns in a group, figure out people's motivations, and know who the person in charge is. The Social Expert can identify who's manipulatable, who's a manipulator, and who's neither. The Social Expert can make himself likable even to his enemies, and is normally clever enough not to make very many of them.

Social expertise is an alignment-neutral skill, but it's practically a prerequisite for Manipulative Bastard, Magnificent Bastard and The Chessmaster. Nearly every Deadly Decadent Court will have at least one, probably more. May also be The Charmer.

Protagonist Social Experts are Guile Heroes, supporting Social Experts end up as Mister Exposition, and villainous ones are normally large-scale Manipulative Bastards.


Examples:

Anime
  • Aizen, the Big Bad of Bleach possesses this skill, when he bothers to use it.
  • Light Yagami from Death Note.
  • Lelouch and Schnizel from Code Geass.
  • Izaya Orihara from Durarara, aside from being a complete Troll and Manipulative Bastard and claiming to "love humanity" (except for Shizuo), also performs his own social experiments, such as encouraging depressed people contemplating suicide to do so, or making suicide pacts with them and then revealing he was just kidding and thinks they are idiots, just to see if they really will commit suicide or not. Or paying people to kidnapping someone, and then paying someone else to rescue them, just to see how they'll react. Yes, Izaya is a dick.

Literature

Live-ActionTV
  • The title character from The Mentalist.

Video Games
  • Shadowrun. At least one character in the PC group needs to have good social skills to deal with the various NP Cs the group will encounter. They should have high Charisma, good Etiquette skills and possibly cyberware/bioware that enhances those qualities (e.g. tailored pheromones). Such a person may be called "The Face" of the group.
  • Exalted has a threefold division between social skills, mental skills, and physical skills. Any character with high social skills is a social expert.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Both Azula and Long Feng in "Avatar: The Last Airbender".
  • Trent Lane in Daria, despite a personality so laid back that his communiques are seldom and brief, is often able to identify moments of mounting tension between his sister Jane and her titular best friend. A few times throughout the series he tries to drop subtle (well, slightly subtle) hints that steer the girls towards peaceful resolution.

WebOriginal
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • August 6, 2011
    NetMonster
    The title character from The Mentalist.
  • August 7, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Shadowrun. At least one character in the PC group needs to have good social skills to deal with the various NPCs the group will encounter. They should have high Charisma, good Etiquette skills and possibly cyberware/bioware that enhances those qualities (e.g. tailored pheromones). Such a person may be called "The Face" of the group.
  • August 7, 2011
    cityofmist
    Moist von Lipwig from Discworld, as well. It was necessary when he was a conman, and also came in useful when he was a postmaster and banker.
  • August 7, 2011
    Synchronicity
    May also be The Charmer.
  • August 7, 2011
    OgreProdigy
    The Charmer is a personality archetype combined with a specific set of manipulative abilities. The Social Expert possesses a more generalized set of manipulative abilities (and is as much an intellectual knowledge of manipulation and manipulators as it is actual chessmastery) and has no set personality archetype.
  • August 8, 2011
    hevendor717
    This sort of skill has gotten many people far in the USA version of Big Brother.
  • August 8, 2011
    Bisected8
    Ciaphas Cain, and pretty much any commissar who does their job through means other than intimidation. Helped by his Fake Ultimate Hero status.
  • August 8, 2011
    Unknown Troper
    Used and constantly lampshaded by Elan in Order Of The Stick

    Also, Jacky Faber of Bloody Jack learned the skills she needed to become one, mostly because she had to for the sake of survival.
  • August 8, 2011
    Prime_of_Perfection
    I like this trope concept, nice thinking here. Another example can toss in is Light Yagami from Death Note and Lelouch, Schnizel, and a more minor example of Clovis from Code Geass. For Web Original product I'm behind, Grandmaster of Theft's Cassidy Cain is one. No such thing as notability, after all and helps fill in the trope.
  • August 15, 2011
    Prime_of_Perfection
    Anybody against this one being launched? There are enough examples and trope seems to be well set-up.
  • August 15, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    • Trent Lane in Daria, despite a personality so laid back that his communiques are seldom and brief, is often able to identify moments of mounting tension between his sister Jane and her titular best friend. A few times throughout the series he tries to drop subtle (well, slightly subtle) hints that steer the girls towards peaceful resolution.
  • August 15, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    • Izaya Orihara from Durarara, aside from being a complete Troll and Manipulative Bastard and claiming to "love humanity" (except for Shizuo), also performs his own social experiments, such as encouraging depressed people contemplating suicide to do so, or making suicide pacts with them and then revealing he was just kidding and thinks they are idiots, just to see if they really will commit suicide or not. Or paying people to kidnapping someone, and then paying someone else to rescue them, just to see how they'll react. Yes, Izaya is a dick.
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