The feeling of being unique, acknowledged, confirmed, seen, heard, needed and important. Here we are also different, some people are seen and heard often, and want to be in the limelight in different ways.

Unless we get confirmation that we are doing something good, we will do something bad so that we get confirmation. A child who lays down in a shop and screams often receives immediate attention from others. Just as people who are sick or in poor psychological health (if they are not so bad so that we become afraid of them).

So that we are not all big egos who only care about ourselves, we have a another need, namely the need for connection.


The feeling of having contact with others, to be accepted by others. To be allowed to give love and to be loved. We need to be together, to belong to one or more groups, for example with our colleagues at work, the volleyball team, the girl friends, the biochemists, the Swedes.

To be allowed to give love because it's beautiful and not to get love back (then you are looking to get significance.) As we usually do with children and animals, they do not need to perform to get love.

Clarification of the first four needs

To clarify the four basics needs more, lets look at a few examples of behaviors that reflect the different needs.

  • Certainty: You often think of what the safest way to do something is. You dislike change.
  • Uncertainty: You love change and to be outside your comfort zone.
  • Significance: You put yourself before the group even if it means that you may not be included or that it has a negative effect on others. You prioritize achievement before the relationship.
  • Connection: You put the group before yourself and the opinions of others are more important than yours. Relationships come before achievement.

We value the needs of differently

We evaluate and prioritize these four needs differently and we also rank them differently. Four different lists of priorities for four fictitious people can look as follows.

Four examples of people with different priorities
Person A Person B Person C Person D
Table created by
1. Certainty 1. Connection 1. Significance 1. Uncertainty
2. Significance 2. Uncertainty 2. Certainty 2. Connection
3. Uncertainty 3. Significance 3. Connection 3. Certainty
4. Connection 4. Certainty 4. Uncertainty 4. Significance

These four different personalities will focus on different things in life and will therefore make different decisions in identical situations. They will also look at life and what is happening from different perspectives.

Markus: It can also be challenging in a relationship to manage and satisfy different priorities of those needs. For example, if your partner has certainty at the top of their list and want to book all-inclusive holidays, where everything is orderly and clear with predetermined schedules.

Let's say you on the other have uncertainty as your top priority and want to book one or two weeks deep in the Amazon jungle going on a safari in rickety wood canoes. It can lead to interesting discussions at the dinner table when you plan your next holiday.

If you on top of that do not have the ability to listen to each other, the awareness of these different needs and the confidence to dare to meet some or all of the other's needs, the risk of painful conflicts is large. It often happens that we have an inability to stop and listen to the needs rather than to end up in long discussions about substantive issues.

Need I add that everything above is based on personal experiences in both my previous intimate and work relationships? In the case of work relationships the case may be about how we are planning projects with timelines, etc. that becomes the arena where our different needs collide.

Oriental man and woman together

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