Relations. Universal needs

Universal Relationship Needs

Relations are a process of mutual exchange. We are used to reading and watching films where relationships involve self-sacrifice, altruism and mutual understanding. In reality, we encounter a few other things and suspect our partners of selfishness.

There are two news on this subject. The good thing is that there are psychological universal for all people relationship needs. The bad news is that no one will recognize your needs until you learn how to articulate them correctly.


The modern classic of psychotherapy Richard Erskine for a long time was engaged in improving the process of psychotherapy. He managed to do this to the extent that therapy became not just a mechanical procedure, but a healing relationship. Of course, these relationships have a certain framework. But still they remain a deep and tuned contact between two people. Only through such a contact did it become possible to determine the universal needs for relationships inherent in each person.

Our entire inner world is a relationship with ourselves or with other people. When we experience unpleasant feelings in relations with other people - this suggests that we had expectations, we needed something. It was needed at a particular moment, in a specific form, from a specific person. And it so happened that we did not receive it. This was the need for a relationship with another person.

Needs in relations, which we will talk about later, universal not only for relations in a married couple, or between friends. They are important for the relationship of any person with any person at any age.

Richard Erskine identified 8 basic relationship needs:

  • need for security
  • in protection from a strong and stable parental figure,
  • self-recognition
  • in self-determination
  • sharing experience
  • in influencing another person
  • in the initiative of another,
  • in an expression of love.

Now pause a little and read this list again slowly and thoughtfully. Listen to yourself inside - what needs does your body, your feelings and your thoughts respond to? It is very important. Because we cannot be in a relationship with another person without being in contact with ourselves.

Security need

Remember your childhood. Each of us had such a story when we for a long time decided to somehow prove ourselves. But in response they received either criticism, or mockery, or depreciation. Remember the efforts you made to just dare? Remember the feeling that arose when you did not receive support? This was the dissatisfaction of the basic need for security in a relationship.

To satisfy this need in oneself is to find a person who is not afraid or ashamed to be next to. And also it means allowing yourself to open next to such a person. And to see him, and not all previous offenders. To satisfy this need for others is to become someone like that.

The need for self-recognition

A vivid manifestation of the fact that this need was not satisfied is the feeling and scoring of the phrase "I am not worthy." From early childhood to today, each of us wants to feel that we are valued. I want to feel caring for myself. When we get it, normally we feel satisfied. If for a long time in our lives this need was not satisfied, in response to care we feel either guilt or distrust. Is that familiar?

Recognizing value does not simply mean caring for another person. This means accepting it with all its flaws, features and differences. Perception of this “set” as a value in a relationship. It is felt as an internal desire to understand another person, his motives and feelings, his actions. And the most important thing is to recognize this as important for yourself. It can be difficult, but so important.

Satisfying this need is also possible through a sincere interest in the inner world of another person, his life, his interests and principles. You can learn about them during a normal conversation, if he goes beyond the framework of on-duty communication after work. If there is no such interest, it is always felt, right? If you recall your relationship with different people, you probably had on-duty phrases like “How are you?” Or “What's new?”. Pleasant in such communication is really not enough. Sooner or later it will feel like mental or even physical pain.

Need for acceptance

And not just acceptance, but acceptance and protection from a stable, reliable and strong parental figure. In this case, we are not talking about the parent figure as a real parent. This refers to the ability of another person to take care of us and remain stable when we are unstable. This is what marital psychology is called reliability. Everyone sometimes wants to be a child, whom a good parent takes care of. It’s normal to be such a person for someone.

It is on this need that primary love is built. When our Inner Child (the vulnerable emotional part of the personality) sees the ideal parent in another. At first, each of us tries to live up to this expectation. And then he wants the same for himself. And this is completely normal.

What do we and other people need in order to feel protected from such strong and reliable parental figures? First of all, of course, a guarantee that a person will not give up after some manifestations of personality that he may not like. Next - we all want to feel protected from criticism. From your own inner and from a stranger. Each of us urgently needs a person who can protect us from ourselves in our worst manifestations. This is the need to adopt the protection of a stable and reliable parent.

The need for sharing experience

This is about the importance of having a person nearby who would have the same experience as us. Someone who understands what we feel, think and can do in a specific situation. A person who is able to share our point of view, joy or sadness. One who is able to say in a difficult situation, “Yes, I understand how it is. I lived like that. ” Sometimes one wants to hear it, and sometimes just a look is enough to understand that this community exists. There is a sharing of our experience.

To satisfy this need, you can look for like-minded people, turn to communities of people who have experienced this, share their experiences with loved ones and ask them to talk about such experiences. Remember how pleasant it is when you carry some great spiritual burden within you and decide to finally tell someone about it, confident that you alone dragged it and no one can ever understand you. And then you share and find out that your interlocutor had almost the same experience and the same feelings. This is a huge relief, it is felt even physically! Clubs of anonymous alcoholics work on this principle, a group for parents who have lost children or for people who suffer from eating disorders.

You do not have to be a specialist to meet the need for community. It is enough just to be next to another and share similar experiences. It works both ways. And this is not easy. But how important it is for each of us to be not alone.

The need for self-determination

Self-determination is the awareness of one’s psychological and physical boundaries, values, principles, characteristics and differences. There is a difference with the previous need, where it is important to feel community with another person. The need for self-determination is the ability to feel like a unique person and know for sure that this is normal and will be accepted by other people.

Most of all, this need manifests itself in adolescents when they try by any means to be different from others. Sometimes it causes rejection. But if you take this with understanding, then you can experience a completely new experience for yourself, immersion in the world of another person.

It is normal to be different from others, no matter what this difference may be - appearance, habits, character, interests, values, language, skin color. The uniqueness of each - this is the greatest value. It is the differences that make us individuals who are of interest to others. In the world of “clones” it would be unbearable to live, because everything is already familiar and familiar. Nothing would be of interest.

In relationships, this need is met when we can change and emphasize our individuality. And the person who is nearby appreciates this and recognizes it as something natural and important for him personally. And supports our changes, enjoys our differences. Give it to your loved ones - and see how your relationship grows.

Need for influence on another person

It is important for each of us to see that our condition, words, actions affect another person. It is important to feel that the behavior, feelings and thoughts of another person affect us too. It is the satisfaction of this need that allows you to grow in a relationship. But there is a downside - the influence can be not only positive.

If one of the participants in the relationship is destructive, it will negatively affect the other. Inevitably. Because each of us also feels the need to succumb to the influence of another person. What happens if the person next to us does not succumb to our influence in the common sense of the word? In this case, we feel the relationship is constraining. They become violence, because we are not able to stop unacceptable behavior for us.

In relations with other people, the need for a positive influence is satisfied through a more accurate description of what changes in the behavior of another person are important to us. In order to satisfy this need, it is necessary that the participants in the relationship are sufficiently sensitive to themselves and allow you to influence yourself. The measure of influence is determined precisely by the internal contact. The other person, with all his desire, will not know exactly where to stop. It is also important not to be afraid to show others how their condition affects. This means demonstrating emotions, sharing reciprocal thoughts, taking action.

Need for initiative from another persona sheep

One of the crucial needs in a relationship is the need for initiative. Everyone wants the other to be the initiator of joint leisure, communication, changes in life. But constantly taking the initiative, being the first and provoking emotional reactions is extremely tiring. Sooner or later, a person loses interest in relationships if he does not see the initiative from the other. This need is closely connected with all others. It allows you to feel both safety and value, and the sharing of experience and acceptance.

If we turn to our experience of relationships, in each of the cases we will see this need. When you want your husband to bring flowers. Or the boss praised and raised his salary, and not go to him with letters. To help children with cleaning without reminders. Or a friend invited herself for coffee. It is very natural to want to be led at some point and respond to initiatives on the other hand.

Satisfying this need for a relationship allows the person next to us to feel calm and relaxed. Know that to maintain a relationship from him does not require special efforts. If a person does not receive this, interest disappears, irritation and resentment accumulate. Sooner or later, they can result in a vivid conflict. After all, the main goal of this need is to maintain contact and receive incentives in the form of attention, communication, gifts, total time. Wanting all this is completely normal, because for this we are in a relationship.

Need in expression Love

Relationships are not just about getting. This is about sharing. The need to give love to a person is natural for any close relationship. If a person is dear to us, the need to demonstrate it to him will be natural. Again, when this need is not met, it is accompanied by emotional pain. Those who have come across this have filled it for life.

For example, when a child of about five runs to her mother with a drawing, which she painstakingly painted for an hour for her, and she pushes him or doesn’t react emotionally to the present - the child’s emotional pain cannot be expressed in words. As well as overestimated. This need is very close to the need for influence. It is very important how to show a warm attitude to loved ones, and to let them love us. It is very natural to feel affection, healthy dependence and gratitude to those people whom we love. And it’s normal to want to show this love by actions, words, feelings, attitude.

As you can see, everything is quite simple and at the same time very complicated. Only eight needs that contain everything we need. Before you try to implement this short list, listen to yourself and understand what needs in the relationship you are not satisfied. This will allow you to improve relationships with important people.

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