If you notice these 9 behaviors, you’re dealing with an emotionally immature and self-centered person

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There’s a fine line between being emotional and being emotionally immature.

Emotionally immature people can often appear self-centered, as their own feelings and desires take top priority. Recognizing these behaviors is essential for maintaining healthy relationships.

In my experience, there are certain telltale signs that someone might be emotionally immature and self-centered.

And I firmly believe that knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with such individuals.

Here are nine behaviors to keep an eye out for. Once you spot them, you’ll know just what you’re dealing with.

1) Constant need for attention

In my dealings, I’ve noticed that emotionally immature individuals often have a strong craving for attention.

This behavior is a sign of their self-centeredness. They feel the need to be the focus of everything, and their actions often revolve around seeking validation and acknowledgment from others.

You may notice them consistently trying to impress people or behaving in overly dramatic ways to attract attention. This constant need for validation can be quite draining for those around them.

Everyone likes to be noticed and appreciated, but there’s a big difference between a healthy desire for recognition and the continuous need for attention that emotionally immature people exhibit.

Identifying this behavior early on can help you understand what you’re dealing with and take appropriate steps to manage these relationships effectively.

2) Difficulty dealing with criticism

In my personal and professional life, one behavior I’ve seen in emotionally immature people is their inability to handle criticism.

Let me share an example. I had a colleague who was quite talented and brought a lot of creativity to our team. However, whenever he was given any kind of constructive feedback, he would become defensive and argumentative. Small suggestions for improvement were taken as personal attacks.

This made it challenging to work with him because it inhibited open dialogue and stunted his growth within the team.

His emotional immaturity prevented him from seeing criticism as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

3) Lack of empathy

Lack of empathy is another key indicator of emotional immaturity and self-centeredness.

Interestingly, psychologists have found that emotional intelligence, which includes the ability to empathize with others, is not fully developed until around the age of 15. This explains why younger individuals often struggle with empathy.

However, when an adult shows a lack of empathy, it’s a clear sign of emotional immaturity. They may struggle to understand others’ feelings or to show compassion in situations where it’s needed.

This can lead to fractured relationships and conflicts, as people around them may feel misunderstood and unsupported. 

4) Blaming others

One behavior that emotionally immature and self-centered individuals often exhibit is the tendency to blame others for their own shortcomings or mistakes.

Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, they find it easier to point fingers and shift the blame.

This could be as simple as blaming a colleague for a missed deadline when they didn’t manage their time efficiently, or blaming a partner for a relationship issue when they are equally at fault.

This inability to accept responsibility is not only a sign of emotional immaturity but it also hinders personal growth and development.

Being aware of this behavior can help you manage interactions and expectations with such individuals.

5) Difficulty controlling emotions

Another behavior that’s a telltale sign of emotional immaturity is difficulty controlling emotions.

Emotionally immature people often have extreme emotional reactions to situations that most people would handle calmly. They tend to get overly upset, angry, or sad when things don’t go their way.

They might even throw tantrums, sulk, or withdraw from social interactions when they’re upset. This can be exhausting for those around them and can cause strain in relationships.

Understanding this behavior can help you navigate your interactions with these individuals and, if necessary, set boundaries to protect your own emotional well-being.

6) Inability to maintain relationships

One of the most heartbreaking signs of emotional immaturity and self-centeredness is the inability to maintain healthy, meaningful relationships.

People with emotional immaturity often struggle to connect with others on a deeper level. They might have a string of broken friendships or romantic relationships, often leaving a trail of hurt feelings and misunderstandings in their wake.

They may also have difficulty forming close bonds due to their self-centeredness. It’s hard to build a relationship when one person is always thinking about their own needs and wants, instead of considering the other person’s feelings and perspectives.

Recognizing this behavior can be painful, especially if you care about the person. However, it’s an important step in understanding their behavior and deciding how best to interact with them.

7) Impulsiveness

Impulsiveness is a trait I’ve come across in many emotionally immature individuals.

I remember a time when a close friend of mine was going through a difficult phase in her life. Instead of thinking things through and considering the consequences, she would often make impulsive decisions, from spending large amounts of money on unnecessary items to abruptly quitting her job without having another one lined up.

This impulsiveness not only caused her additional stress but also strained our relationship as I often found myself picking up the pieces after her rash decisions.

Understanding this behavior can help in anticipating potential issues and offering guidance where appropriate.

8) Unreliability

Another common behavior among emotionally immature and self-centered people is unreliability.

These individuals often struggle with commitments and might frequently cancel plans at the last minute, or fail to follow through on promises or responsibilities. This behavior can be particularly frustrating, especially in a professional setting where reliability and trust are key to team success.

Being aware of this tendency can help you manage your expectations and plan more effectively when dealing with such individuals. Keep in mind that their unreliability is often not a reflection of their feelings towards you, but rather a sign of their emotional immaturity.

9) They never apologize

The most important indicator of emotional immaturity and self-centeredness is their inability to apologize.

When someone is unable to say “I’m sorry” and mean it, it shows a lack of understanding or empathy towards the feelings of others. It also indicates an unwillingness to admit mistakes, which is crucial for personal growth and development.

Everyone makes mistakes. The ability to recognize them, apologize, and learn from them is a mark of emotional maturity. If someone consistently fails to do this, know that you’re dealing with an emotionally immature and self-centered individual.

The crux: Emotional growth is a journey

The complexities of human behavior are deeply rooted in a myriad of factors, including our upbringing, experiences, and yes, even our biochemistry.

It’s important to remember that emotional maturity is not a destination but a journey. It’s a process of growth and learning that continues throughout our lives.

When you encounter someone exhibiting these signs of emotional immaturity and self-centeredness, it’s crucial to approach them with empathy and understanding. Remember, their behavior is often a result of their own internal struggles and not a reflection of you.

While it’s not your responsibility to fix them, awareness of these behaviors can help guide your interactions with them. It allows you to set boundaries where needed and protect your own emotional well-being.

In the words of renowned psychologist Carl Rogers, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” This is true for all of us, including those who struggle with emotional maturity.

At the end of the day, we are all works in progress on our own unique journeys of growth and self-discovery.

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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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