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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 ManipulativeBastard, MagnificentBastard and TheChessmaster. Nearly every DeadlyDecadentCourt will have at least one, probably more. May also be TheCharmer. On TheTeam, they are TheFace. Protagonist Social Experts are {{Guile Hero}}es, supporting Social Experts end up as MisterExposition, and villainous ones are normally large-scale {{Manipulative Bastard}}s. Contrast with NoSocialSkills.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime ]]

* [[spoiler: Aizen]], the BigBad of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' possesses this skill, [[SmugSuper when he bothers to use it]].
* [[MagnificentBastard Johan Liebert]] from Anime/{{Monster}}.
* [[VillainProtagonist Light Yagami]] from ''Manga/DeathNote''.
* Izaya Orihara from ''{{Durarara}}'', aside from being a complete {{Troll}} and ManipulativeBastard 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.
* Both Lelouch Lamperouge and his older brother, Prince Schneizel, in ''Anime/CodeGeass''.
* Askeladd from ''VinlandSaga''.
* Akiyama from ''Manga/LiarGame'' makes heavy use of social psychology and his resulting [[BatmanGambit predictions on how people will behave]] to change the course of the game.
* Ukraine from {{Hetalia}} is a NiceGirl version. She's the member of the Slavic corner with the best social skills, and tends to get along fine with other nations while Russia and Belarus are... well, themselves.

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* LexLuthor. His people skills allow him to both keep up his VillainWithGoodPublicity status as well as make sure his covert operations are in order. He is so good at this he is one of the few people who can keep the ''Joker'' in check during a villain team up.
* ''ComicBook/{{Livewires}}'' had a character called "Social Butterfly", whose talents lay in social situations.
* ''ComicBook/StormWatchPHD'' had Gorgeous, a beautiful woman with a talent for manipulating men. She served as the team's profiler.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/TheHustler'', this is Bert Gordon's most important skill as a ManipulativeBastard; he can quickly size up someone and identify their innermost weaknesses. He's so good that even after losing $18,000 to Eddie Felton in a 25-hour marathon session of pool, Minnesota Fats cheerfully agrees to keep playing just because Bert identified him as a "loser" -- and then proceeds to win it all back.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Mari in ''Literature/{{Salamander}}'' is a heroic version, serving as a HypercompetentSidekick in the world of politics to the TeenGenius ScienceHero, Ellen.
* Mister Wednesday from ''Literature/AmericanGods''.
* Cordelia Vorkosigan is the best example from the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga''.
* Vetinari and Moist von Lipwig from the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' books.
* Jacky Faber of ''BloodyJack'' learned the skills she needed to become one, mostly because she had to for the sake of survival.
* ASongOfIceAndFire has quite a few, as would be expected given the high number of ManipulativeBastard and [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] characters. Tyrion Lannister is a rare example of being this trope despite most people ''not'' actually finding him all that charming or likeable, partly because they assume BeautyEqualsGoodness and he's an ugly dwarf, and partly because his DeadpanSnarker tendencies tend to irritate people.
** None are quite so skilled or dangerous as Littlefinger, who [[spoiler: set the War of Five Kings in motion with just a few carefully chosen words.]]
* ''Franchise/HarryPotter'': By the time you realize the full breadth of Dumbledores' planning and manipulation in book seven, he looks like a full-on MagnificentBastard.
* ''Literature/ThePictureOfDorianGray'' has Lord Henry Wotton. Everything bad that happens during the story could be traced back to his words and the way he uses them.
* Rosario Blancanales takes this role in the HeroesRUs group ''AbleTeam'', and it's the reason for his nickname 'The Politician'.

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[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* BurnNotice has Michael Weston.
* The title character from ''TheMentalist''.
* Littlefinger from ''Series/GameOfThrones''. In one monologue [[DistractedByTheSexy which no one will likely remember]], he explains how this is his only way of getting back at the other nobles.
* Grifter Sophie Deveraux (or whatever her real name is) from ''Series/{{Leverage}}''. Her role on the team is to manipulate the mark with multiple "roles" that she plays, but often someone else needs to be sent in for one reason or another, and she'll coach them by reading the players and describing what she does and why.
* Special Agent Seeley Booth on {{Bones}}, who often relies on his 'gut' to solve crimes and is referred to as the 'people person' because of his natural intuitive insights and ability to read people well.
* Ryuji Iwasaki from ''Series/TokumeiSentaiGobusters''.
* ''Series/{{Scandal}}'': Olivia.
* Flabber from ''{{Series/Beetleborgs}}''.
* Cassie Ainsworth in ''{{Skins}}'' takes this to prodigious levels.
* WhiteCollar: Neal Caffrey. It's part of what makes him good at conning people.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** One of the main unique character quirks of the Second Doctor in ''Series/DoctorWho''. He can walk into any situation and immediately map out the social dynamics by observing their body language and interactions, approach whoever is almost certain to know more than everyone else, and then instantly figure out what they mean by the fact that they're lying about his questioning. "Power of the Daleks" is a spectacular example, where he effortlessly bluffs his way into the upper social circle of an Earth colony by [[BavarianFireDrill pretending to be an examiner from Earth]], and immediately makes a whole map of who's trying to overthrow who just by watching the politicians' facial expressions as they answer his trivial questions, ''while still recovering from temporary confusion caused by his first regeneration''.
** Leela. The Doctor is better at reading people than he pretends to be, but Leela's warrior training and unusual intelligence enables her to read and understand body language and facial nuance far better than he ever could. This is especially prominent in "The Robots of Death", which she spends a few steps ahead of him and a giant leap ahead of the people who ''actually are supposed to be solving the mystery'' the whole time.

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Most Tabletop [=RPGs=] have some way to create one of these.
* ''{{Exalted}}'' has a threefold division between social skills, mental skills, and physical skills. Any character with high social skills is a social expert. Among the Solars, members of the Zenith and Eclipse castes have the greatest talent in this area.
* ''TabletopGame/{{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.

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Tranio in ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'' could be seen as this. Not only does he blend in perfectly with the group of rich guys who hang around Baptista's house (despite being [[PrinceAndPauper a servant in disguise]]), he seems to have a handle on [[ZanyScheme all their schemes]] as well as his own.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* [[spoiler: Master Li]] from ''JadeEmpire''.
* Mike Thorton, the protagonist from ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'', is described by his boss as someone who knows how to [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate people to get what he wants]], and this is reflected in the conversation system. The conversational stances that Mike takes may have nothing to do with what he feels, and can drive people to friendship or enmity. according to his objectives.

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[[folder: Visual Novels ]]

* In ''VisualNovel/MajiDeWatashiNiKoiShinasai'', Yamato manipulates people's behaviour when he's not straight out outsmarting them.

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''GrandmasterOfTheft'''s Cassidy Cain uses social grace as both herself and to assist as a ClassyCatBurglar.
* Many exist in the WhateleyUniverse. Ayla and Jadis are social expert protagonists. Many more are antagonists.

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[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* [[GuileHero Terezi]] in ''{{Homestuck}}'' is the most talented manipulator of the series thanks to being the Social Expert, contrasted with [[TokenEvilTeammate Vriska]] who relies on more direct PsychicPowers.
* Elan in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is a [[GenreSavvy story-telling expert]] because his role is the party bard. This makes him able to predict the actions and motivations of almost everyone involved. His father is however far more experienced in the role.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Both Princess Azula and Long Feng in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Though, when they betray each other, Azula wins out in the end, [[MagnificentBastard easily.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', [[KnightTemplar Amon]] and [[CorruptPolitician Tarrlok]] share this trait. [[spoiler: Fittingly, they're brothers.]]
* 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. Ironically, he seems pretty oblivious to Daria's long-standing crush on him up until she finally gets over it, at which point he gives her a quiet apology [[BrokenPedestal for letting her down when she was counting on him]] while subtly explaining exactly why they would never work as a couple -- without one of both of them giving up some core facet of themselves to make the other happy.
* Mildew in ''WesternAnimation/DragonsRidersOfBerk''. He often uses his talent to rile up the villagers against the dragons.

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