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Thursday, April 15, 2010

T3 - Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - Social Needs

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.) :)

Wordle: signature

14 comments:

Julie Jarnagin said...

"With this need also comes the fear of being alone or looking foolish." Interesting. I can see how I could really use this in my current WIP.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I feel the creative juices churning. I have a few questions if you have the time...

Would a person with a moral mission, say justice, overlook personal needs and safety to achieve their goal?

And for a romance...would they be able to pull their focus enough to engage another person?

Kenda said...

So glad I discovered your blog! You definitely give food for thought for all of us who are in the process of developing our characters. Now I'm heading off to read about the first two levels of the pyramid since I've come in a bit late here...

Thanks, too, for visiting my page. It's always fun to "meet" new friends :-)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

glad it's helpful julie. with the realization of the need also comes the realization of the lack of fulfillment of the need (if that's the case). it's actually pretty profound.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

raquel - i think a good example of the question you asked might be frodo in lord of the rings. he overlooks all of his safety needs (and even basic needs...like lack of fairy bread) to see to a high need (probably more like level 4, though...we'll get to it.) but on the flip side...lord of the rings is fantasy and completely infeasible. but i DO believe that people do this....look at our armed forces, constantly putting themselves in harm's way for the ideal of freedom.

i'm not really sure what you're asking in your second question. pull their focus from achieving their social needs?

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

thanks for that comment kenda! i appreciate you popping over. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Very interesting! I'm not sure how I could use this. I'll have to go back and read more, though I think I get the gist of things.

Christine said...

My mother has BPD. My brother and I spent years trying to figure out how she ticked and then we stumbled upon this info and everything clicked into place. Growing up with a borderline mother is like living in Wonderland with the Crazy Queen. Definitely great fodder for writing!

They really don't believe they have a problem, either. My mom would go to a therapist and talk about why WE were messed up. I ended up creating a very big boundary in order to keep my own sanity and my writing production quadrupled as a result because I am no longer expending energy on her drama.

Kris said...

Jeannie - this is great stuff that I haven't thought about in years! I did a lot of research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in grad school -- a great way to look at characters!

Talli Roland said...

Wow! Thanks for all this great info!

Elana Johnson said...

This is so true! For me, who writes in societies where needs might not be met, this is a good thing to keep in mind. Thanks

Raquel Byrnes said...

Thanks Jeannie! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. It really helps with my WIP. By the way, enjoyed your article on Christian Fiction Online Article. Congrats.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

your welcome, ladies! thanks for coming by (and for the follows!) :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

You are so helpful. I have been thinking about Maslow's heirarchy lately. It's actually helpful what you said about sex vs. intimacy. The physical aspect of sex is a strong need, but it is the social/emotional one that comes at a higher level. The women in my drama can be confused by this. (In real life, too). Anyway, thanks again!!

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.