People reveal in group behavior,a facet that is different from what they exhibit in an interpersonal context.All want to dominate or maintain a rank status within the social unit. The strategies they adopt for gaining and maintaining rank status differ consisting of two main types those who are affiliative and the other who are aggressive.
Aggressive Affiliative

Tactics used Coercive Showing talent
Threatening Showing competence
Authoritarian Affiliative

Outcome desired To be obeyed To be valued
To be reckoned with To be chosen
To be submitted to To be freely given

Purpose of strategy To inhibit others To inspire and attract others
To stimulate fear To create safety

( Gilbert and McGuire 1998)

Those who resort to aggressive strategies often become bullies or abusive when they do not get their way. Many of them operate in dominant-submissive modality and are uncomfortable with equality,since they have never learnt to be with equals.They tend to boss over their subordinates mercilessly and show extreme servility with their superiors in order to be favored.Such men / women usually want to dominate in intimate partnerships and power,superiority / absolute control over the partner is their aphrodisiac. Most of their communication is to establish their own superiority and they seldom listen , hence inhibit the other. They do not speak of their own shortcomings , especially with those who are below them in a hierarchy. They use your own truths against you and are very manipulative to establish their power. They can be your partner, sibling, parent, boss , many relationships where you feel bulldozed , emotionally or even sexually abused.

Sex is an important strategy employed to establish power, to get into the bed of an enemy’s wife or sister is the oldest form of it.In the modern world where women share professional spaces and other public spaces with men,sexually intimidating a woman to establish power is rampant. Often gang rapes are about establishing gender among men by display of sexuality,a way of befriending another man without appearing weak is to jointly hunt a woman sexually. Watching porn videos together ,discussing a sex worker or jointly using the services of one all are in this category. Even among intimate partners repeated demands for sex or humiliating or hurting a partner sexually is a way to mark power.

Affiliative strategists often get blamed as attention seekers,because they are experts at attracting people.Some of them do it so effortlessly and unconsciously
and many of our charismatic leaders are a combination of both strategies.Some of them do have the values which they display quite charmingly such as nonviolence, honesty or integrity. All that which glitters is not gold , but gold also glitters ! It would be good to believe a few people to be what their faces tell they are.

We all need to watch out to not resort to the same strategy everywhere,hence become either bossy or fancy attractive fixtures, used as crowd pullers.
You will know when people use you to do the nasty job repeatedly or people use you to attract a business deal but do not let you display your intellect or do your real work… be dichotomized by groups strips you of your individuality , because people like to see what works for them and not necessarily what you want , so to change the way others see you , change the way you strategize to establish rank.


  1. brief but expansive. i believe each human being has a certain degree of both, and the extent to which either is dominant depends on who we associate with – and the leverage they give us. nice piece that speaks the truths about our relationships.


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