Social Needs – Concept, importance and examples

We explain what social needs are, their importance and examples. In addition, other needs of the Maslow pyramid.

social needs
Our social bond largely determines how happy we are.

What are social needs?

Social needs are those that are linked to community life, that is, that have to do with the relationship between the individual and the human group to which he belongs. With that name, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) baptized one of the hierarchical levels of human needs that he proposed in his 1943 pyramid model, known as the “Maslow’s Pyramid”.

Like all living beings, human beings have needs, which we seek to satisfy in different ways. Among them, social needs occupy an important place, since we are gregarious beings, that is, we tend to live in society and not alone. For that reason, our social bond largely determines how happy or miserable we can feel.

In the aforementioned “Theory on Human Motivations” by Maslow, this type of needs occupies the third rung, which can be accessed only after satisfying physiological needs (food, sleep, etc.) and security (housing, protection, health). ). Thus, this intermediate step is reserved for the needs of affiliation (belonging to the tribe), which are satisfied through affective ties of different nature: friendly, loving, etc.

This kind of needs play a vital role in shaping the human community network. Much of the productive efforts of contemporary society is devoted to meeting these needs, even though much of it cannot meet its basic needs first. That is one of the paradoxes of the contemporary world that Maslow’s Pyramid does not explain.

Examples of social needs are:

  • The construction of lasting affective bonds: friendships, loves.
  • Membership of a particular social group, whose identity is shared to a certain degree.
  • Social bonding with other individuals considered “equals” or “peers”, either in terms of solidarity or competition.
  • The exercise of one’s own individual identity towards the group: having a name, having a personal history, having a place in society.

Other needs according to Maslow’s Pyramid

The other levels of the famous Maslow Pyramid are made up of needs of another nature, such as:

  • Physiological needs, the lowest rung of the pyramid, which refers to what is necessary to guarantee survival: food, water, sleep, etc.
  • Security needs, the second rung of the pyramid, which has to do with the defense of the individual against vital threats: diseases, predators, weather elements, etc.
  • Appreciation or esteem needs, the fourth rung of the pyramid, above social needs, and related to self-esteem, personal value, reputation or, also, esteem for others.
  • Self-actualization needs, the highest point of the pyramid, reserved for the needs related to the vital purpose, that is, to the role that a person fulfills in the world, to their personal goals or projects, etc.