Difference Between Desire and Need

There is a big difference between wanting and needing, but sometimes people don’t know this detail and they confuse wants with needs. Difference Between Desire and Need

Next we are going to explain what the difference is between desire and need so that you do not get confused when defining each of these concepts.

NEED  Difference Between Desire and Need

Needs refer to the things that are essential to one’s survival. They are essential elements without which either we could not live or we would have a poor quality of life.

To fulfill our desires we must first have our basic needs satisfied.

Among the most important basic needs we can mention water, food , shelter and clothing. In order to aspire to a full life, we first have to meet these and other needs; as they are of prime importance.

Many times the needs are placed in a certain hierarchy, for example, Abraham Maslow represents the needs in the following way: physiological, security, belonging, esteem and self-realization. In that hierarchical order, Maslow represents what according to him are the 5 needs of human beings.


On the other hand, desires refer to things that one would like to have or experience that are not basic needs; since not obtaining what is desired does not imply that whoever wishes is going to die and reduce their quality of life.

What you want is not essential to life, but in many cases it is about things that people consider important to them. In certain cases it is not easy to categorize what for a person is a desire or a need, since this can vary depending on each person. For example, a car may be a wish for one person and a necessity for another who have no other nearby and efficient means of transportation.

Finally, it is very important to find the balance between wants and needs, because although needs always have priority; This does not mean that wishes are unimportant, on the contrary, the satisfaction of some wishes can even help us to be happier and feel better about our life.

Key differences 

  • Desires are things that are not essential to life, but needs are.
  • Needs refer to elements without which survival or quality of life is not possible, while desires refer to things we want to have or achieve to feel better.
  • Needs are more important than wants.
  • Examples of needs are: food, water, clothing. Examples of wishes are: a smartphone, go to a restaurant, go to the movies .

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