If someone displays these behaviors, they probably lack emotional maturity

Growing up is hard to do.

We all get older, but not all of us get more mature.

That’s why sometimes, you meet people who still behave like children.

Emotional maturity is something that takes not just time, but also determined effort to cultivate. And for a variety of reasons, not everyone makes that effort.

That’s why you sometimes meet people who still act like children, except in the bodies of grown adults.

Here are some behaviors that are sure signs of people who, no matter what their age, still have a lot growing up to do.

1) Lack of emotional regulation

Being emotionally mature means having emotional control.

That doesn’t mean you don’t feel emotions; we all do. But it does mean you don’t necessarily act based only on how you feel.

But that’s exactly what emotionally immature people do. Like children, they tend to center their own emotions and react to how they feel, even when it’s a bad idea.

2) Poor impulse control

Often, emotional maturity goes hand-in-hand with poor impulse control.

In other words, people who are emotionally immature struggle to control their impulses. If they want something, they have to have it right now. And if that thing may be harmful for them, they don’t worry about it, focusing only on their short-term desires, sometimes at the expense of their long-term needs.

If that sounds like the kind of behavior you expect from children, you’re absolutely right. And that’s what shows that these people are not emotionally mature.

Unlike most adults, they haven’t realized that sometimes, you have to say no to yourself and your impulses, either to focus on the long-term or to make things easier on those around you.

3) Inability to handle criticism

No one likes to be criticized. But part of growing up is learning that criticism, while it may be painful, is necessary. Many times, it can actually be helpful to receive criticism from other people.

And not being able to take criticism is a sign of emotional immaturity.

“Emotionally immature people are often unable to deal with reality and tend to alter their perceptions of reality to fit their own needs,” says psychotherapist Tracy S Hutchinson.

So when confronted with criticism, instead of asking themselves if it is valid and what they can learn from it, they tend to deny the criticism and argue with anybody who criticizes them.

Unfortunately, while it’s painful, criticism is an important tool to use for personal growth. And this is one of the factors that stops emotionally immature people from ever growing out of their childish behavior.

4) Avoiding responsibility

This is another way that people who lack emotional maturity end up sabotaging themselves.

If you’ve spent any time around children, you will have noticed how they try to avoid getting into trouble by avoiding responsibility. If they get caught doing something bad, they will blame somebody else.

We’re all like this as children. But we’re supposed to grow out of this and accept responsibility for our own lives.

When an emotionally immature person stays stuck in a mindset of trying to avoid getting into trouble, they never learn how to take responsibility for themselves.

This keeps them trapped in an unproductive pattern that prevents them from ever realizing how they can make important changes.

5) Playing the victim

Another way these people avoid responsibility is by playing the victim.

We all have things go wrong sometimes. But developing a victim mentality and blaming the world for everything we don’t like about our lives is a guaranteed way to never advance.

People who lack emotional maturity will always see themselves as a victim in every situation. They will look for someone to blame, whether it’s their parents, a partner, their friends, their boss, or the government.

Everything that goes wrong in their life is somebody else’s fault, and they are the innocent victim of circumstance.

It’s the kind of childish mentality that makes these people so hard to be around.

6) Difficulty maintaining relationships

By now, if you’ve read this far, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that people without emotional maturity have a hard time maintaining long-term relationships.

That’s because they are so difficult to be around.

Part of the problem with a lack of emotional maturity is that people who have it don’t realize they have it. So when people argue with them or distance themselves from them, they will never blame themselves, but only blame others.

This prevents them from ever really changing.

So if you know someone who doesn’t have any long-term friendships and never seems to be able to make a romantic relationship last long, it might be because they lack the emotional maturity to treat other people right.

7) Lack of empathy

habits of people who lack empathy and emotional maturity If someone displays these behaviors, they probably lack emotional maturity

Empathy is part of being human. However, we all have different levels of empathy.

Simply put, it’s the ability to put ourselves in other people’s position and feel how they may be feeling. And being able to do this does more than make you a good person. It can also be a powerful tool for self-growth and personal success.

But emotionally immature people are so caught up in themselves that they rarely practice empathy. They don’t bother to think about how other people feel, focusing instead on their own emotions. 

8) Jealousy and envy

Jealousy and envy are natural human emotions in some ways. But mature people know that they are generally destructive, and try to avoid them wherever possible.

But just like children, emotionally immature people often give in to jealousy of others.

Jealousy is part of learning how to have mature relationships, argues psychologist Monica A. Frank.

“However, some individuals do not learn this lesson and will continue to develop emotionally immature relationships into adulthood,” she says.

In other words, emotionally mature people may be extremely jealous of their partners, and may try to control their behavior because of their own insecurities.

They may also be jealous of other people’s success. They may fixate in a negative way on what others have and they don’t, possibly even making them hostile to those they perceive as having more than they do.

9) Fear of commitment

Commitment can be scary. But ultimately, refusing to commit to anything can do far more harm than allowing yourself to commit.

That’s as true of relationships as it is when it comes to your career.

However, committing to something, whether it’s a person, a job, or task you have set yourself, requires a certain level of maturity.

So being unable to commit shows someone who still has some growing up to do.

10) Inflexibility

Another thing that makes emotionally immature people frustrating to be around is their complete inflexibility.

In other words, it’s their way or the highway.

They tend to have extremely inflexible opinions about people and about the world around them. And trying to convince them to see things in another way can often be pointless and frustrating.

Plus, they tend to prioritize their own needs over those of others. They may argue endlessly or sulk to get their way, even over trivial things.

11) A need for instant gratification

Like children, emotionally immature people have a hard time waiting for what they want. Instead, they tend to focus on what will make them feel good here and now, instead of delaying what they want to get something better in the future.

“Learning to delay the impulse for immediate pleasure in favor of long-term satisfaction is a skill required for incremental and long-term growth,” says psychologist Kelly Miller.

Whether saving to buy a house or studying to get a better job, many things in life require us to do things we don’t want to do today to have a better tomorrow.

But that takes emotional maturity. So if you know someone who always does what’s fun and easy now at the expense of what can help them later, it may be because they are emotionally mature.

12) Refusing to change

Finally, one of the most frustrating traits of emotional immaturity is a refusal to change.

That’s because emotionally immature people lack the self-awareness to see their own flaws. Unable to handle criticism, they are more likely to attack the person who points out their problems than they are to take them as constructive criticism.

People who won’t grow up

 It’s not cute when someone refuses to grow up. In fact, it can be extremely irritating to be around people who don’t have emotional maturity.

These signs can help you identify these people who haven’t yet grown up. Because sometimes, these adult babies are best avoided.

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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