Understanding the Difference Between Need and Want

A need is something that is a necessary condition or requirement. This could be a physical thing like food, water, and shelter or an emotional need such as self-esteem or a sense of belonging. A need is generally considered a fundamental human desire that must be satisfied before someone can feel complete and happy. Need is a part of the motivational theory of Abraham Maslow, which suggests that people have a hierarchy of needs in which basic physiological and safety needs must be met before higher needs such as esteem and self-actualization can be satisfied.

A person’s needs are personal to them and may change depending on their situation and circumstances. Some needs are universal, such as the need for air and water, while others can vary from person to person. For example, a person will always need to sleep and eat, but their preference for what they eat or drink may change.

The difference between a want and a need is that a want is more related to desires and preferences, while a need is something essential for survival, well-being, or achieving specific goals. The need for water, for example, is a basic human need while a want would be something such as a new toy or expensive shoes.

Identifying one’s own needs is usually a process that begins with looking at one’s daily experiences and asking what it is that they really need or want in their lives. For example, a person might be in need of more friends or a more fulfilling job. This can help them discover what changes they need to make in their lives or what goals they need to work towards.

In a social context, the need can also refer to a person’s ability or willingness to contribute to a group, society or cause. For instance, a person who is eager to volunteer and share their time with others is often seen as having a strong need to give back.

It’s important to understand the difference between a need and a want so you can avoid conflict in your life. For example, you might need to be more patient with your children but you probably don’t need to be pushy with them.

You can use need to mean the same as want, but it’s most commonly used in a negative way. For example, you can say I don’t need to go to school or I don’t need to eat dinner tonight. You can also use it to indicate that there is an obligation or duty: I need to pay my taxes this year or I will get into trouble. You can also use it to emphasize an idea: My daughter needs to wear sunscreen when we’re outside.