Needed, or merely wanted [Sunday, Oct. 01, 2006, 2:16 pm]
We always used to find thought-provoking questions among our "would-you-rather's" in youth group. One in particular that confused me at the time was "Would you rather be wanted or needed?"
If I remember correctly, I was the only one who said "needed," and I think I based it on the idea that needs are generally more important than wants. And another respondent simply said that while needs are important, it's very possible to be needed but not wanted. And so when all things are considered, they would rather be wanted. Yes, it's fun to be wanted, but if someone doesn't need you in some way, what are you really doing for them?
And the topic has been coming to mind a lot today. I realize that "hanging out" with people can be entertaining for me, but when everyone else is friends anyway, and I don't talk much around most people, do they really need me? I'm not saying they don't want me to be there - maybe they do. But what am I contributing to them if there is no real need for my presence?
I want to be friends with people who have no other friends. I want to help people who need my help, and perhaps couldn't get it from anywhere else. But I keep waiting for them to ask for it, and things often don't work that way. So it's not something I consciously think about much, but sometimes I notice it, and realize that I don't care if I have a lot of friends or not, as long as the ones I have need me somehow.
It's just really hard to know if someone truly needs you or not - and isn't it rather presumptuous to imply that they do, unless they say it themselves? Especially if they don't necessarily want to be around you as much as you want to be around them. Is it possible to be needed and wanted at the same time?
Hanging out is fun. Sometimes I feel like it's my duty to the people I'm around, even though I spend little time (comparatively) doing it - as if they'll think I don't like them if I don't make an effort to be social. And I guess that's the only way for them to know whether I like them or not - they can't read my mind. But really, what good is it to just fill a seat, or be one more person in a room, or one more voice in a song, or one more body on the dance floor, or one more sound of laughter at a movie, or one more face around the table, or one more need to deal with every day?
Or do they need that too? Perhaps I'm not doing enough to make myself needed. Yes, perhaps it still matters to me whether I'm truly wanted or not. And it shouldn't.
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009