You've heard people say that they want something, and also that they need something. What do these different words mean, and why are they important?


These words crop up in all kinds of topics; pay rises, consumer products, even relationships.

"I want you"

"I need you"

What's the difference?

Do you feel differently when someone says these two different statements to you?

Of course you do, and this is why.

To want something means that you don't already have it.

To need something means that you already have it and you don't want to give it up.

I don't want air; I need it.

I don't need a new car, but I want one.

But here's the paradox. In a relationship, someone tells you that they need you. It's a paradox because they don't have you. You're not a commodity to be possessed. You're not a quality of that other person. Logically, you can't be needed, because it's not up to the other person to give you up. You can do whatever you like, any time you like.

So, thinking about your relationships, which do you say about your partner? And what does that mean for you?