I consider myself to be a mildly social being while playing Eve. I have close friends and acquaintances and a few business associates scattered through the stars. The fluid nature of Eve's social structure makes good relationships flexible and bad ones brittle.
At times, I find myself in a quandary where I need to shoot someone I am very fond of. I will make a confession. I don't enjoy shooting my friends. I know that I am supposed to succumb to the sweet lure of pure pewpew. But, I must admit, that I prefer it not to be people I spend my days curled up chatting with. As one becomes more and more social one develops more and more of these bonds. Hence the need for flexible relationships.
The brittle ones will break in this environment. It can be brittle due to dissimilar outlooks on spaceship violence or on poor communication. This is most often seen with Blue status. I am blue, you are not blue, who is blue and what priority does that have. I once had someone say, "My personal standings are more important than my corporate ones," as he shot someone who did not shoot him because he was in a fleet.
Purple is a mixture of red and blue. Blue for status. Red for pirate. But I digress...
We were going on a field trip to gank. It was an odd ganking day where we didn't manage to gank anyone. This time, it was a bolt across high sec to a low sec pocket in an attempt to snare a mission runner. I was in my sweet, sweet Ares, zipping through high sec with a fair bit of glee.
As we were enroute someone spoke up and said, "That person is someone who has been very good to myself and another corporate member in the past."
Quandary. What to do? We are not blue. We are not being asked not to shoot him. Yet, we are reasonable people who understand relationships. We don't shoot Black Frog cynos for instance (most of us don't at least...). We know that social relationships can be delicate and that everyone has friends. A kill is a kill but it is not the most important thing that there is. But also, what is the past? I asked.
"Two years ago."
Oh. And there I was all ready to turn around. Two years? That is way too long. Maybe I am a jerk but giving someone a pass for cooperation from two years ago and potentially before I even started playing the game seems a bit unreasonable.
At some point relationships end or they thin to where others are not affected by them. These little delemis happen regularly. In Molden Heath, when in fleet Vov is a target. When not in fleet I am often fleeted with Vov. I don't wish to kill him when in a fleet but he doesn't hold it against me nor I him. Yet, that very understanding can deepen relationships as well to the point that people stop hunting each other as well.
I find that to be the most complex aspect of low sec. Everyone is very familiar in the areas that I play. Floyd and Robinton still make people squint after two months with us because they have years of interaction with each other from their days as anti-pirates. Friends and enemies merge into being just people. I find I have no one that I hate and people that I love.