Need and Want and Everything in Between

This year has been all about change, which makes sense because I graduated highschool and went out-of-state for college, leaving behind life as I knew it, and all of my friends and family. Of course, now looking back, I have no idea how I survived without my roommate, and all of my other college friends, and found myself wondering the same thing as I headed home for summer break. Luckily, it didn’t take long to remember I had a whole other group of friends coming home as well, and family that I would be spending every second I could spare with, but at the same time, I felt lonely.

I realized early on that I really needed to take my first week or two of summer to adjust. After living in the moment and experiencing things from August to May, I found myself irritable, and having a hard time readjusting to pre-college, pre-moving-out life. I needed to take some time and reevaluate who I had become, and what had changed. One of the reoccuring things I found during this time was a switch from Need to Want.

This change came in various forms: pre-college life, I took the classes I NEEDED to, and joined the clubs I NEEDED to. Almost everything that was driving me before going to college was need-based, whether it was pushing my GPA for financial aid, adding on the extra AP class for college credit,  or writing paper after paper explaining why I deserved their money (scholarships are the most obnoxious need ever). At the same time, I now realize that most of my relationships were need-based as well.

While one of my pet-peeves was neediness, and I rejected any form of clinginess both in friendships and relationships, looking back, the way I knew who my closest friends were was by how much I needed them.

If I couldn’t go a week without seeing them, if I had to go to dances with them, if a certain occassion didn’t feel right without having them there, that was how I knew they were my best friends. I NEEDED them to be there in order to feel myself.

“But, we’ve always gone to homecoming together! If I can’t go with them, I can’t go at all!

“Why didn’t you tell me you were skipping class? I wouldn’t have gone if I had known- I can’t survive it without you!”

Both of these are pretty innocent, but need started cropping up in other areas as well.

” You make me feel like me.”

“I can’t imagine life without you.”

“I need you.”

And then graduation came, and suddenly Need was replaced by Want.

I started visiting colleges because I wanted to, and applied because I wanted to. I made the rules: going out-of-state became an option because I decided I would do whatever it took to go to the school I wanted and study what I wanted. I chose the classes I wanted to.

The friends I made weren’t out of need, they were out of want.

I didn’t need friends to be in my classes because I wanted to be in the class.

I didn’t need to be best friends with my roommate and hall, I wanted to.

Suddenly, my relationships in college felt much stronger than the ones  I made pre-college, and there’s a simple reason why.


Want is a choice. It leads to growth and change.

Need is also a choice. It leads to disappointment, bitterness, and isolation.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Too many times we mistake Need in a relationship as the ultimate form of love.

“He’s my world.”

“She’s my better half.”

“They complete me.”

All of these scream NEED. It looks and sounds great on the outside, but the truth is, if you’re with someone because you need them, what happens when they change? What happens whaen you change? What happens when they no longer fulfill those needs, or you no longer fulfill theirs?

When want is what drives you,

“He’s my world” becomes “He makes my world better.”

“She’s my better half” becomes “She encourages me to BE my best.”

“They complete me” becomes “We are both complete, but together we become MORE. We become We.”

Need means you are depending on something. It adds strain and tension and pressure, which eventually self-destructs.

Want means you are pursuing something, you desire something, and you will never stop desiring to discover and learn about it. All the good, all the bad, and perservering through it.

So, what are you doing this summer? 😉

“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.”
― Francis Chan

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.”
― Lionel Shriver, Checker and Derailleurs


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