Recently I noticed that my model of social capital is fundamentally mercantilist, and that's pretty dumb. I seem to be trying to maintain a favorable balance of trade, trying to earn social capital through meeting others' needs, and trying to minimize the extent to which I "spend down" this capital. I have a tendency to spend down my real capital to accumulate social credit. This may often be counterproductive because most social currencies depreciate rapidly, and if instead I asked for help in ways that built up personal real capital (e.g. skills growth, introductions, etc.), I'd be in a better future position to trade for what I need. The obvious next move here is to figure out where I should be investing in myself instead of piling up social credit.
I have some sense that there are multiple types of social capital / exchange, but I don't really have a good model for what many of them are, so I just try and earn social credit in whatever currency seems most efficient, and hope that other people will do the relevant currency conversions for me. This seems often unrealistic. I'm with-it enough to know that, e.g., being a good employee doesn't mean the boss will lend me money or let me sleep on their couch, but I imagine I'm missing a bunch of similar stuff for personal relationships. I'm going to try to develop a more granular model of social currencies / types of interaction beyond "total goodness", and what conversions can and can't be made.
Alliances and connections
The broader context here is that I'm basically always trying to firm up alliances, partly because I value them a lot, partly because in my gut I don’t believe that anyone would persistently want to interact with me for any other reason.
This doesn't just take the form of accumulating social credit - there's also building joint real capital in the form of mutual understanding. I think I'll end up still endorsing much of that when I'm done thinking about friendship. Learning about another person's long-term nonurgent needs/interests makes me feel much more confident in the alliance, because (a) it's a sign that they think I'm worth telling about this stuff, and expect I might do something to help, and (b) it gives me valuable clues that may help me recognize future opportunities to efficiently help the other person, noticing opportunities to provide them with a large benefit at a small cost to me.