Socializing and the Need for belonging

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Addicted To socializing

In order to understand what the term addicted to socializing means i have to introduce you to the psychological history of a guy called Jason. Everybody in town loves him and being on good terms with him can certainly make you popular. Jason has a lot of social connections and is considered to be the most popular guy in town.

Jason can’t stand a day at home and cannot breathe without having lots of people around him. His only interest in life is socializing and he seems not to enjoy anything else but it.

Yesterday, he had to spend a day at home because he was ill and he was going to die. He wasn’t going to die because of his illness but because he had to stay home that day without seeing people.

So despite the fact that Jason seems like a person with no particular needs the truth is that Jason has got an unmet need which is the main reason for the way he behaves.

The Need for Belonging

The need for belonging is an essential need for all human beings. If we lived in isolation we may end up feeling empty and depressed.

Some people have not met this need although they seem to know hundreds of people. Jason knows everyone in town but his need is not satisfied yet and that’s why he is always eager to expand his connections.

With every new person he gets introduced to , Jason unconsciously attempts to fill this need but when no real change takes place he sets the sail towards another person and so on. You may think that Jason’s behavior is pretty healthy but on the contrary, its badly affecting both his self esteem and his career.

When he is at work, he wastes his whole time on facebook instead of focusing on his work which results in lowering his productivity. And since he needs people badly he is always suffering because of the rejections he receives along his way and the result is an unstable self image.

why is He Addicted to Socializing?

As humans, our need for belonging and intimacy is considered essential and if this need wasn't satisfied our whole life will be affected. When Jason was young he used to be a shy person who regularly gets rejected by his class peers and that’s why he grew up with an unmet need.

As a grown up, he considers each place a new classroom and his main goal became getting accepted by those new classmates in order to fulfill his unmet need.

He keeps establishing superficial relationships with people and never gets deep down to the intimate level and that’s why he never gets satisfied .so while Jason is busy seeking approval from everyone around him his imaginary class room is getting more and more gigantic. With each new superficial relationship he feels more lonely and his feeling of lack of belonging deepens.

Relationships and the need for belonging

Some people start a new relationship just because they have unsatisfied need for socializing. Those people even fail to get over a breakup just because of this need.

In my book How to get over anyone in few days i described how unmet social needs can be the main reason that hinders fast recovery after a breakup.

If the relationship was the source you use to satisfy your unmet social needs then you wont tolerate losing that source and you wont be able to get over that person after breaking up with him. In such a case you should deal separately with your unmet social needs and you will find that getting over that person became much easier.

Guidelines for Satisfying Your Need for Belonging

To sum up, the need for belonging is an essential need and it can be fully met if you take into consideration the following Items:

  • Your reception: Maybe this is the most important point when it comes to addressing your position in your community. Jason’s low self esteem feeds the false belief that people ignore him although that isn't true. Jason is admired by everyone around him but his focus is still on those who did not accept him in the past and that’s why he still feels rejected.
  • Its not about Quantity, its about Quality: Even if you have hundreds of friends you will still feel lonely if your relationship with them wasn't intimate. If you want to get over loneliness then you have to get intimate with some people even if those you choose will be a few in comparison to the number of people you know still they will give you the satisfaction of belonging to a group who really care about you
  • Know your Needs: Unless you know the type of people you need to form intimate relations with your needs wont be met. For example, Jason needs to form intimate relations with people who are similar to his old class peers who rejected him. The similarity could be in the social class, behavior , etc. The point is, he needs acceptance from a certain type of people and so acceptance from others wont do any good
  • You Need A Group: The need for belonging can be best fulfilled by having a place in a group . Although the more intimate friends you have the better you will feel still its better to establish intimate relationships within a group and not on individual basis.

The people who seem to be badly in need of socializing are those who have troubles fulfilling their need for belonging . On the other hand, those who seem to be indifferent to getting introduced new people are those who have their needs met. So don’t be fooled by appearances, psychology reveals the truth.

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