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Want Vs. Need


Sep 20, 2008
Joliet, IL
Okay, I felt this should be a thread instead of a blog. But I did get the idea from a blog that I had read on here. The main point is to discuss your feelings on wants and needs.

We all have those moments when we want something so bad that we claim we need it. I find this most prevalent in small children who want a candy bar or toy in a store. But it seems to be around a lot more in young adults like myself. I hear all the time how kids my age need a cell phone or need certain clothes. You don't, you want them and you can most definitely live without them. It seems reversed for me though. My mother says I need to have a cell phone, but what she really means is she wants me to have one. For those just in case I get lost moments. I hate cell phones, so I constantly refuse.

So how do you guys feel about the whole want vs need thing? And, if you care to share, when have you claimed to need something you wanted or vice versa?


Hello Sweetie!
Jun 18, 2011
Well, I think there are nuances to the want/need thing. I think it's more conditional to the world you live in. You can certainly function with very little, but certain life situations could depend on you possessing certain items. Like for me, if I were not to have a cell phone, I would have a harder time making it in my line of work, because the first 2 years in it, I depended heavily on extra shifts - because I had a cell phone my employer(s) had a way to contact me when something came up, and because I was always quick to answer and easy to persuade to come in at the last minute, I managed to get a lot of shifts, which kept me afloat echonomically at a time when I had next to no financial security.

But you do have a point that there are many things in life we may claim to need, when in reality we just want them. We might be happier with these items, but we can certainly function without them. I personally can't recall a specific incident where I have claimed to "need" something when in reality I just "wanted" it. I think the closest would be having internet access at a regular basis. I could strictly function without it, but I do consider my happiness contingent on having regular access. It's my link to many of my friends, my link to news, my link to entertainment, so it holds a great importance in my life. I go stir crazy when there's a power outage or I am forced to be isolated for more than a day or two.


Vocare Ad Pugnam
Jul 31, 2010
Gotham City
Personally, we don't really need much else other than food, water, air, and shelter. Everything else/the wants are what make life bearable, at least in this day and age.


be vigitant
Feb 20, 2012
I think it's important to recognize wants vs. needs, but unfortunately in our society I find it to be largely ignored. I've always seen people make the distinction between a want and a need ambiguous. What with the existence of credit cards and whatnot, people might not feel as pressured to think or care about if what they are buying is a want or a need, and may put a want over a true need, like air, water, food, shelter. Even then, they may forego a need for a want (such as a new iPhone, etc.). Personally, I think a person's wants and needs depend on their values.
From my experience, people tend to classify their wants as needs upon seeing others in their environment possess desired objects they themselves lack. The opening post gleans across a good point-Children persuade their parents they need the latest trending gadgets. But what compels them towards asking this of their elders? Often times it's the realization that other kids at school possess such modern technology. In a commercial society, no one desires to be perceived as less fortunate than other and commercial goods are a method through which to display one's wealth.

Many of the objects in my own life that I want but claim to need are recent innovations of the 20th century which make life easier. Among these are television, cell phones, and the Internet. The Internet is my go to source for easy socializing with friends when I can't go out and one click leads to news access. Cell phones are a simpler way for me to communicate with others on the go. In case of an emergency, I'm able to alter plans if someone calls me and having a portable phone assists in informing others of my present location. Television is my perceived source of stability. While I could opt to watch the same programs on the Internet, it's likelier that my Internet will crash than a power outage occur and take out my television as well, ensuring I can view news as well as my favorite programs at their predetermined time slots.


Sage of Tales
I like to think of myself as a fairly pragmatic person. I grew up with thrifty parents and I've pretty much spent all my adult life poor (by American standards). I tend to have very clear thoughts upon what I "need" vs. what I "want."

I know, for instance, that I "need" eletricity because all of the appliances in house run on it, including the oven/stove to cook food and the referigerator/freezer that keeps food preseved. I have gone some days without electricity - due to storm outages, a couple of times when the bill was late... As much as I have "Internet withdrawls" and want to be online, or watching television, or playing videogames, I know that I do not "need" those. Unlike eletricity for foodstuffs and keeping the house warm/cool, things I used to entertain myself and even to communicate are not basic survival.

I of course, "need" grocieries, but I do not always need high-quality, expensive things. I can make tough meat edible, I don't need the super-duper expensive-cut steak. Crab legs are an occasional treat, but not a "need."

When I need new clothes, new jeans, for instance, I turn up my nose at getting a "fasionable" new 50-dollar pair in favor of the 5-dollar finds at the thrift store. This is because of what I usually use my jeans for: working and such. I don't have my farm-job anymore, but the last time I went jeans/pants shopping, I worked with horses and had "I'm going to be wearing these while pitching manure" in mind when hunting for new clothes.

If I had my way, I'd have my own farmhouse somewhere and the capability to live like a pioneer, with the things I really enjoy having around now as my luxuries but not dependant on.
Jul 8, 2011
Somewhere in the known universe
Your needs are different based on yourself. some of us will think "To hell with morality!" While others need morality. If you want the wants, you will lack the needs to survive. Its a very hard choice, but I pick needs. Heck, I may lack morality after so long, but at least I will live.
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Like a river's flow, it never ends...
Jun 2, 2009
I consider myself a frugal person and thus can pretty much determine what I "need" and what I "want". (Not to say that I don't allow myself to do some impulse shopping at times.) Food is most definitely a "need", but at the same time there are some foods that I "want" that I don't necessarily "need". Same thing goes for clothes as well. I need those, but I generally go for the cheaper clothes that I know I'll use on a daily basis and get my money's worth out of them. Granted I do go out and buy nicer clothes that I can wear to places like church and to other formal functions but at the same time those don't necessarily constitute as a "need" even though I might need them when a time arises for me to have them.

I don't necessarily "need" things like video games, books, internet, computer, and all that other extra stuff that I could do without, but I do enjoy having them and these things do help me keep my mind off things that it shouldn't be on. So in a way those things are "needs", but they're mostly "wants".

Night Owl

Oct 3, 2011
Skybound Coil Tree, Noctilum
Wants vs. Needs, a discussion spanning multiple generations.

How I define needs:
Needs are some basic thing needed for survival or to do a certain task.

Wants: Something specific that is preferred over what would meet a need.

For example: To log onto DGN you need to connect to the internet. A want would be to connect with the best equipment out there, when you just could log on using dial-up.

Or you need food to live. You could eat grubs, bugs, and berries. A want would be a big mac with fries.

You live in a bad part of town, you need a cell to help keep you safer. You want an IPhone5. etc.

I hope I am making sense. Need is a requirement, Want is a specific way to meet a need or improve on what you have meeting that need.


Like a sir.
Apr 21, 2012
I think it all comes down to what makes someone happy. You may not need something to survive but you might "need" something to be happy. Also, if you think like survivalist, you're really an opportunist. Something that can get you info on a prospective mate or how to fix a problem (let's say "How to start a fire") is extremely valuable. With food more readily available, I guess people have swapped the "grab as much as you can carry" mentality from food to personal items.

The "want" for something can hinder you in a lot of situations. Getting emotional because you don't have access to the internet isn't gonna help you when you're in a crisis. There are times when you should ignore your emotions and actually think. That doesn't mean you can't get emotional; holding those emotions in too much can really screw you up. There's a time and place for everything.

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