Distinguishing Between Needs & Wants

Needing vs Wanting

Our basic needs, such as hunger, shelter, and clothing, are essential for survival. We strive to meet these needs in every possible way. Additionally, there are emotional needs like love and belongingness. However, as we grow up, we also develop wants, which are usually bigger than needs and extend beyond basic survival. Many people can be confused about the difference between needing and wanting. This article aims to clarify the distinction.

Key Takeaways

  • Needing is instinctive and natural, related to basic survival and emotional needs.
  • Wanting is a feeling of desire for something or someone, but not essential for survival.
  • The difference between needing and wanting lies in their priority and importance for survival and well-being.


Needing is instinctive and natural. For example, when you are hungry, you need to eat something as you cannot delay this basic need for long. It is essential to satisfy these needs since they arise naturally in all living beings. Even sex is one of the basic needs of life, and we need fulfillment by having a sex partner. Needs are mostly natural, although, in the course of life, we tend to develop artificial needs as we become dependent on man-made gadgets such as cars, fuel (cooking gas), mobiles, computers, air conditioning, etc. Needing something means you must have it because your survival depends on it.


Wanting something or someone is a feeling that makes you believe you need it or the person. However, if the object or person does not become available to you, you will still survive, implying that wants are not as basic as needs. If you have a longing for something, you will work to get it, but that doesn’t mean you need the object. Having wants in life is natural and a great sign of ambition or desire to rise above others in life and achieve new milestones. For example, if you are not satisfied with the small family car you have and want a Mercedes, you can make do with the small car easily, though you are not satisfied and work hard to fulfill your desire to own a Mercedes.

Difference Between Needing and Wanting

• Needing is bigger and stronger than wanting, and a person’s first priority is to fulfill their needs.
• Basic instincts of hunger, clothing, shelter, and sex are considered needs that a person must fulfill to survive. There are also emotional needs of belongingness and being loved that must be met.
• Wanting is different from needing, and different people have different wants.
• If you love a person and believe you need them, you actually want them in your life since, without them, you will still survive.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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