If someone displays these 12 behaviors, they’re an emotionally immature adult

Have you ever met someone who acts like a child, even though they’re an adult?

If so, you know it can be pretty tough to deal with.

Some people might have grown-up responsibilities, but they act like teenagers when it comes to their feelings.

This can make things really hard and sometimes, super annoying.

In this article, we’re going to talk about 12 signs that show a person might be emotionally immature.

You might see some of these signs in people you know, or maybe even in yourself (and that’s okay, nobody’s perfect).

The first step to dealing with these issues is knowing what they look like.

So, let’s get started and take a look at these behaviors.

1. They Throw Tantrums

One of the easiest ways to spot an emotionally immature adult is through their reaction to things not going their way.

Like a child denied their favorite toy, they throw tantrums.

Instead of handling disappointment or frustration calmly, they let their emotions take hold and explode.

This could mean yelling, storming out of the room, or even resorting to personal attacks and name-calling.

Remember, it’s completely normal to feel upset or angry sometimes, but how we express these feelings is what sets emotionally mature individuals apart from the rest.

2. They Avoid Responsibility

Another clear sign of emotional immaturity is an unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions.

If something goes wrong, they’re the first to point fingers and blame others, even when it’s clear that they’re at fault.

Instead of owning up to their mistakes and learning from them, they dodge accountability and make excuses.

Keep in mind, everyone messes up sometimes; it’s part of being human.

But acknowledging our slip-ups and trying to make things right is a big part of growing up.

3. They Struggle With Empathy

A lack of empathy is a pretty big red flag for emotional immaturity.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and it’s something that emotionally mature adults have in spades.

I once had a friend who struggled with this a lot.

Whenever I had a tough day and wanted to talk about it, they would immediately start talking about their own problems, without acknowledging mine.

Or worse, they would dismiss my feelings as unimportant or silly.

This lack of empathy made it really hard to have a deep, meaningful relationship with them.

It felt like they were always wrapped up in their own world and couldn’t step outside of it to understand how I was feeling.

This kind of emotional disconnect can be really hurtful and is a clear sign of emotional immaturity.

4. They’re Impulsive

Emotionally immature adults often act on impulse without thinking things through.

They might make big decisions or commitments on a whim, only to regret them later.

This impulsiveness can lead to chaos both in their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Interestingly, science backs this up. Studies have shown that the part of our brain responsible for impulse control, the prefrontal cortex, doesn’t fully develop until around age 25.

This is why teenagers and young adults are more likely to act impulsively.

But if this behavior continues into later adulthood, it’s a sign of emotional immaturity.

5. They Struggle With Commitment

Commitment can be a scary thing, and it’s not unusual for people to feel a bit nervous about it.

But for emotionally immature adults, this fear goes beyond the norm.

They may struggle to stick with relationships, jobs, or even hobbies for a significant amount of time.

This is more than just a fear of being tied down. It’s about the unwillingness to invest time, energy, and emotions into something that requires dedication and growth.

It’s heartbreaking to see someone you care about unable to commit because of their emotional immaturity.

It’s like they’re stuck in a loop of short-lived experiences, never fully reaping the rewards that come with commitment and perseverance.

Remember, commitment brings depth to our lives; it allows us to build strong relationships, achieve long-term goals, and grow as individuals.

If someone consistently avoids commitment, it may be a sign that they’re emotionally immature.

6. They Struggle With Communication

Effective communication is key to any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. Emotionally immature individuals, however, often struggle in this area.

They may find it hard to express their feelings clearly, or they may avoid tough conversations altogether.

Here’s something from my own life. I used to work with someone who would give me the silent treatment whenever they were upset with me.

Instead of discussing what was wrong and finding a solution, they would just shut down completely.

This made it extremely hard to work together and solve problems.

In contrast, emotionally mature adults understand the importance of open and honest communication.

They’re not afraid to express their feelings or discuss difficult topics.

It might not always be comfortable, but it’s crucial for building understanding and respect in any relationship.

7. They’re Self-Centered

We all have moments of being self-absorbed. It’s human nature to sometimes focus on our own needs and wants.

But there’s a line between occasional self-focus and constant self-centeredness, and emotionally immature adults often cross it.

They seem to be stuck in their own universe, where everything revolves around them.

Their needs, their feelings, their desires – these always take center stage.

They have a hard time recognizing or caring about others’ feelings and perspectives.

Ever been in a conversation where the other person only talks about themselves?

Or maybe they disregard your feelings because they’re too caught up in their own drama?

Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about here.

This constant focus on ‘me, me, me’ is not only exhausting for those around them but also a clear sign of emotional immaturity.

8. They Have Difficulty Handling Criticism

Nobody likes to be criticized. It’s uncomfortable and can sometimes hurt our feelings.

But how we handle criticism is a clear indicator of our emotional maturity.

Emotionally immature adults often have a hard time dealing with any form of critique.

Instead of seeing it as an opportunity for growth, they view it as a personal attack.

People with high emotional intelligence are better at handling criticism. They’re more likely to take it in stride, understand the feedback, and use it to improve.

On the other hand, those who react negatively or defensively to criticism tend to have lower emotional intelligence.

So, if someone you know consistently reacts poorly to criticism, they might be showing signs of emotional immaturity.

9. They’re Inflexible

One key trait of emotionally immature adults is a lack of flexibility.

They’re often set in their ways and struggle to adapt to new ideas or changes.

I remember a time when I planned a surprise weekend getaway for a friend of mine.

Instead of being excited, they got upset because I didn’t stick to our usual hangout routine.

They couldn’t handle the change, even though it was meant to be a fun surprise.

This inability to adjust and adapt can cause a lot of tension in relationships.

Life is all about change and growth, and being flexible allows us to navigate those changes more effectively. 

10. They’re Overly Defensive

Ever tried to have a conversation with someone who takes everything personally? It’s like walking on eggshells, isn’t it?

One of the telltale signs of an emotionally immature adult is being overly defensive.

They react harshly to any suggestion or opinion that contradicts their own. Instead of considering another point of view, they go into attack mode.

We all have moments of defensiveness. But there’s a difference between occasionally feeling defensive and constantly being on guard.

If someone is always feeling attacked or misunderstood, it’s likely because they’re not emotionally mature enough to handle differing perspectives.

11. They Hold Grudges

Life is too short to hold onto anger and resentment, don’t you think? Yet, emotionally immature adults have a knack for holding grudges.

They struggle to forgive and forget, clinging onto past hurts and mistakes.

Holding a grudge doesn’t hurt the person who wronged you; it hurts you. It holds you back from moving on and enjoying life.

Forgiveness isn’t about letting someone off the hook; it’s about freeing yourself from the burden of resentment. If someone can’t let go of past hurts, it’s a clear sign they’re emotionally immature.

12. They Lack Long-Term Vision

One common characteristic of emotionally immature adults is a lack of long-term vision or planning.

They tend to live in the moment, not considering the future implications of their actions.

I knew someone who was always up for a fun time, no matter the cost.

Whether it was going out when they should be saving money or neglecting important deadlines for a spur-of-the-moment trip, they gave little thought to how these choices would affect their future.

While it’s great to be spontaneous and enjoy life, mature adults strike a balance between present enjoyment and future stability.

They set goals, plan for the future, and think about the long-term consequences of their actions.

Emotionally mature individuals understand that sacrifices today can lead to rewards tomorrow.

They’re willing to delay gratification for the sake of achieving something greater down the line.

If you notice someone consistently making impulsive choices without consideration for the future, it’s a good indication that they haven’t yet reached emotional maturity.

In Conclusion

Knowing these signs helps us not only identify emotionally immature behavior in others but also become more aware of these traits within ourselves.

The journey to emotional maturity is a lifelong process, but recognizing the signs is the first step toward growth and self-improvement.




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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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