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What Is the Need To Belong?

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Definition:

In social psychology, the need to belong is an intrinsic motivation to affiliate with others and be socially accepted. This need plays a role in a number of social phenomena such as self-presentation and social comparison.

Our need to belong is what drives us to seek out stable, long lasting relationships with other people. It also motivates us to participate in social activities such as clubs, sports teams, religious groups, and community organizations. By belonging to a group, we feel as if we are a part of something bigger and more important than ourselves.

In Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, belongingness is part of one of his major needs that motivates human behavior. The hierarchy is usually portrayed as a pyramid, with more basic needs at the base and more complex needs near the peak. The need for love and belonging lie at the center of the pyramid as part of the social needs. While Maslow suggested that these needs were less important than the physiological and safety needs, he believed that the need for belonging helped people to experience companionship and acceptance through family, friends, and other relationships.

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