11 non-negotiable traits of an emotionally mature man

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When does a boy become a man?

Is it when he’s finished puberty or when he grows his first mustache?

How about when he reaches the age of majority, when he’s old enough to vote or drink or join the military?

According to brilliant neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, our brains don’t fully develop until we reach the age of 25 or so.

And the last part to fully ripen is the frontal cortex, the part that helps with impulse control, social appropriateness, judgment, and much more.

So that’s a key part of development.

But I think men are truly grown up when they’ve emotionally matured and learned how to interact properly with others.

So, how can you recognize a true-to-life grown-ass man?

Here are 11 non-negotiable traits of an emotionally mature man that guys either have or need to adopt to really be seen as grown.

1) He can stay calm under fire

Whether it’s driving in horrible traffic or trying to fix that leaky sink, the emotionally mature man can keep his temper in check.

He doesn’t get riled up by things that are out of his control, and he reacts appropriately to things that are.

This is because he’s confident in himself and his abilities. When stressors come his way, he doesn’t get his back up or feel attacked. He doesn’t react blindly or lash out wildly.

Instead, he takes what comes and deals with it as best he can.

This is a real sign of emotional maturity that, sorry guys, most 20-year-olds haven’t developed yet.

2) He’s constantly learning and improving

Even though, as Sapolsky describes, a 60-year-old is a lot less open to change than a 20-year-old, that doesn’t mean that older people just stop learning.

It’s just that their personalities, likes, and dislikes have already been set. Who they are has crystallized, while younger men are still like jelly.

But an emotionally mature man still likes to learn and develop himself. He doesn’t think he knows all the answers like a cocky younger guy might. 

Instead, he knows there’s more out there than he can learn in his lifetime.

But he still keeps himself open to things that will help him improve.

3) He expresses his feelings

If a guy can’t express his feelings openly, he’s simply not emotionally mature.

While women typically develop this trait early, it can be one of the last things that men develop. 

In fact, some men never get there and arguably never really reach their full potential.

“Boys don’t cry!” “Man up!” “Don’t whine!”

These are some of the things we hear growing up that scare us away from expressing our feelings.

We’re so often taught that it’s a weakness when being in touch with your emotions is actually a strength 

And without it, even the biggest, strongest guy isn’t a fully mature man.

4) He’s humble

Young guys show off.

It’s just the way they are. 

You see other animals waving their plumage around and doing mating dances, so it’s probably just a fact of nature.

Younger guys also show off not just to get attention from potential mates but also out of insecurity about where they are in the social stats.

But an emotionally mature man is secure with who he is and what he can do.

He doesn’t feel he has to show off. In fact, he knows that there’s room for improvement in everything, and so he shows humility in his actions.

But don’t confuse humility with self-deprecation. A guy who looks down on himself or has an unnecessarily negative self-concept isn’t properly in tune with himself and just isn’t fully mature.

5) He’s proud

Wait, what?!

Isn’t pride the opposite of humility?

Not really – that’s showing off.

Pride is a feeling of self-worth, of valuing who you are and what you can do.

But I think this word is often confusing. 

Sometimes, people say they’re proud to be from somewhere or to be something they can’t change anyway. Like being proud to be American (sorry, being born wasn’t your doing!) rather than being proud to continue and contribute to American culture.

But I’m talking here about a man being proud of who he is, his values, his accomplishments, and his actions. It shows emotional maturity to accept and like who you are.

6) He’s patient

Good things come to those who wait, right?

That’s why an emotionally mature is a great person to know because it takes time for that maturity to develop, just like fruit takes time to ripen.

A grown man is patient and way less impulsive than his younger brethren.

He’s able to take his time and think about his actions rather than leaping before he has looked. 

He’s also able to wait for others without putting undue pressure on them. He knows that people don’t need to be pressured and forced all the time.

This makes an emotionally mature man a great partner. 

He isn’t always pushing, rushing, and overreaching. Instead, he lets things happen at their own pace and accepts things when they come to him.

7) He’s peaceful, not aggressive

Aggressive behavior in men is often a form of defense.

Yes, it’s there as a way to establish dominance and show strength, but what is all that good for?

Being aggressive and even violent towards others is a way of keeping people scared, so they don’t scare you.

It’s a way to protect yourself from feeling small and weak.

But an emotionally mature man doesn’t need this protection because he feels his own value and isn’t afraid of external threats to it.

That makes him peaceful.

He doesn’t need to establish dominance or hurt others to make himself feel worthwhile.

8) He’s resilient

I have a good friend who was struck by three serious catastrophes in a single year.

I’m talking about the kind of thing that could devastate the average person.

His father had a massive heart attack out of nowhere in January and died on the way to the hospital.

In May, his mother suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed, and then a second stroke in June that took her, too.

After they passed, he learned that they had been hiding serious debts, and so he was forced to sell their house, his childhood home.

These were huge blows, and he was as distraught as you could imagine.

But he also found the strength to go on. He’d had a plan to start a business in another country, and after a delay, he still went forward and struck out into the unknown.

Where these tragedies might have paralyzed a less mature man, I believe it was his incredible emotional maturity and depth of character that enabled him to get through them.

His resilience is shared by emotionally mature men around the world, and it’s truly something to admire and aspire to.

9) He’s open-minded

It’s a sad fact that so many men follow in the footsteps of close-minded people who’ve gone before them.

This is why racism is still a thing and why some people think that who you love is somehow their business.

It’s because they let others do their thinking for them rather than taking the hard path and doing it themselves.

But a man who’s emotionally mature doesn’t close his mind off to people or ideas. He’s not threatened by them, so why not let them in and consider them?

Who knows, he just might find a better way to be or a more effective way to approach his challenges.

10) He’s respectful

Let’s start with why you’d ever disrespect someone else.

Maybe you feel bad and need someone to lash out at or take it out on.

Maybe you think you’re richer, smarter, more handsome, or better-smelling than someone else, so you have a right to treat them badly.

I know, it doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Certainly not to an emotionally mature man.

He knows that everyone has their own struggle in this life, and the last thing they need is another hand pushing them down instead of lifting them up.

He also respects himself.

That’s why he treats everyone else with respect, no matter who they are.

11) He’s honest

Since he respects himself and others, this great guy doesn’t need to lie or deceive himself or anyone else.

He is big enough to take responsibility for the mistakes he makes without having to hide them.

He’s accountable for who he is, so he doesn’t have to be fake or try to be someone he’s not.

So he can be honest in all aspects of his life.

Does this emotionally mature man exist?

You bet! Though you may not have found one yet, believe me, they’re out there.

And they’re in no way perfect, but you’ll probably find them doing pretty well in life.

And these 11 non-negotiable traits of an emotionally mature man will help you know one when you see one!

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