Status transactions constantly occur in all relationships. Every action, every word spoken, and every inflection implies a status.
There is no way to be neutral. The moment someone goes up, others will go down. And, as Keith Johnstone points out, there is:
the difference between the status you are and the status you play
Although you can lower your status through submission or raise it through dominance or affiliation, we have no absolute control over it. Others always decide your status.
In his book This is Marketing, Seth Godin also points out that status is relative:
It doesn’t matter where you are on the absolute scale. Instead, it’s about perception of status relative to others in the group.
The only counter to this—besides shame—is attention. Referencing Godin again:
Status is most relevant when we try to keep it or change it... But it only matters when the person we’re engaging with cares about status.
So why do I mention all of this? Because most of the interactions between your characters focus on status. Who is up? Who is down? Who has it? Who doesn’t? And how does someone shift position?
It’s all about power plays, played out for your audience to see.