Thanks for joining me again in this series. We're to the third level in Maslow's pyramid, Social Needs. (If you missed it, I already covered the first level, Basic Needs, and the second need, Safety Needs.) Once a person has taken care of themselves physically, they are ready to share themselves with others in a meaningful way, and that leads to social needs.
Social Needs encompasses the need for love and belonging, by both small social connections and larger social groups. In fact, many versions of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs calls the Social Needs level the Psychological or Love Needs.
At this point, people want to be surrounded by friends, a sweetheart, a spouse, children, neighbors, office coworkers, church, community. This is a need to have relationships, either through marriage, having a family, being a part of a fraternity, a gang, or a bowling or gardening club. This truly is a psychological need, one you feel with both your head and your heart. It's intimacy, and it's much more than just sex at this level. It's the need to love and be loved, and that's in a sexual and non-sexual way.
With this need also comes the fear of being alone or looking foolish. At the extreme, this could lead to clinical depression. There are some times when this need is so strong, it overcomes the Basic and Safety Needs, as in the case of an anorexic who may ignore the need to eat and the security of health to have a feeling of belonging and acceptance and control.
I could throw out so many scenarios for writers to consider regarding this theory of a needs heirarchy. For you historical writers out there, think of the carpetbagger who moves around with no clear knowledge of where they might stay. Wouldn't their first priorities be having a place to sleep? a place to eat? Would it really be to find love?
What about the severe mental disorder of Borderline Personality Disorder? These individuals are so driven by their emotional needs that they act in hysterical and disturbing ways at times, definitely capable of jeopardizing their own safety.
What other scenarios can you think of that either do or don't fall in line with Maslow's theory? (Keeping in mind that it's just that...a theory....not a fact.) :)