10 signs someone lacks wisdom and maturity, according to psychology

Common thinking states that wisdom and maturity come with age. The more you experience in life, the more deeply you understand it, right?

Well, anyone with maturity and wisdom can tell that it’s not that clear-cut. 

Some people never outgrow their immaturity. And some people can think more complexly about things than older people.

After all, experience is one thing—but gaining insight from them and applying them is another thing.

According to psychology, there are nine key signs of immaturity. Do they apply to you? How about your family members? Or your coworkers?

Knowing these signs will not only help you determine if you still have some growing to do yourself. It’ll also help you determine if someone isn’t as mature as you might have initially thought.

Let’s look at the 10 signs someone lacks wisdom and maturity, according to psychology.

1) Being overly idealistic

I’m an idealist. I’m not afraid to admit that—in fact, I’m quite proud to be an idealist.

I firmly believe that being an idealist is the only way to improve in the long run. If we don’t believe in our ideals, we’ll always be stuck with the present and never make meaningful changes.

Now, with that said… immature people will be overly idealistic. 

They will try to make things happen at too quick a pace. Or, they’ll be too much of a perfectionist to the point of obsession. As the saying goes, they let the good be the enemy of the perfect.

Then, they’ll be incredibly disappointed or depressed if things don’t go exactly their way. It’ll strain their career growth or personal relationships.

Truth be told, being realistic about things is often a better way of achieving one’s goals than being too idealistic. But only through maturity can one realize that.

2) They overestimate themselves

Immature people are cocky. They think that they’re mature—that they know it all.

My brother was like this. He graduated as his class’s valedictorian. Then, in his first job, he was overconfident, thinking that it would be easy because he had already supposedly mastered his craft in college.

Well… he was in for a rude awakening.

He would argue too much with his seniors, adamant that he was right (when he wasn’t). He would refuse help because he thought he could figure it out all on his own.

Maturity is knowing that you don’t and likely will never know everything. And that’s why they’re mature already. They always seek learning and improvement.

3) Not having goals

What psychologists have found is that many people start maturing at a rapid pace once they start concretely working towards goals.

It doesn’t have to be your grand life purpose. It can be:

  • A kid deciding that he wants to get better at a sport;
  • A teenager determining what course he wants in college;
  • A couple deciding to have a baby;
  • An overweight person going to the gym for the first time;
  • A working adult laying out a clear retirement plan.

It can be small or large goals and it can happen at any period in life. 

After all, once you’ve decided to pursue a goal, something in your brain just clicks. And the more time and energy you devote to it, the more experience and insight you gain.

But if one person just lays around every day, then nothing will change in their life—then nothing will change about their heart and mind too. 

4) They can’t handle criticism or disagreement

Young and immature people can be overly sensitive when it comes to disagreement and criticism. They’ll automatically think that someone’s mild criticism of them or disagreement with their opinion is an attack on their character. 

This stems from a lack of worldly experience. Younger people have mostly been stuck in their own little bubbles—their homes, their schools, their social circles.

But once they start working, once they meet people who differ to a great degree, or when the quality of their work has real-life repercussions… it can be too much to handle.

But I think this is something most people kind of have to go through. It’s not really their fault. It’s just a necessary part of growth.

Also: just to make it clear: there are still plenty of people like this, even as working adults. Unfortunately. 

5) Getting peer pressured

Peer pressure can be particularly powerful for the youth. Fortunately, emotional maturity develops with age. That’s why it’s not something you hear about from adults.

But that’s exactly what makes it a sign of immaturity. If an adult is still so vulnerable to peer pressure, then that’s a sign of an immature and underdeveloped sense of self.

People tend to give in to peer pressure due to low self-esteem and a desire to please others. If this desire routinely overtakes one’s own values, then it’s a sign that their sense of authenticity has still some growing to do.

6) They focus too much on other people

In general, immature people will constantly be focused on other people. In addition to getting peer pressured, they also regularly:

  • Gossip about other people;
  • Compare themselves to others;
  • Think that the only way to go up is to bring other people down;
  • Rely too much on others.

As common psychology theory explains, a wise person has an internal locus of control. This means that they think their life circumstances are determined by their actions.

On the other hand, more immature people will have a more external locus of control. They focus on how much external circumstances have shaped their life.

Of course, no one denies that forces outside our control shape our lives. The important part is that mature people focus on what they can personally do.

7) Close-mindedness

The inability to see things from another point of view is a sign that this person has not experienced much aside from their own life experiences. Or at least, they haven’t bothered to empathize with other people.

Thus, they think that their way of seeing the world is the only valid one. They thus become close-minded or even judgemental towards other people.

Of course, an overly rigid worldview will make it incredibly hard to develop healthy relationships. After all, no two people have the same exact opinion on everything.

8) They can’t manage their emotions

Emotional maturity is probably the biggest sign of maturity in general. After all, one’s emotions dictate most of how we think and act.

Many people equate emotional maturity with stoicism. But this is an overly simplistic view. Managing one’s emotions does not mean suppressing them or not allowing them to be felt. 

Rather, being emotionally mature has many components to it:

  • Recognizing what, exactly, you are feeling;
  • Allowing yourself to feel that emotion;
  • Regulating that emotion;
  • Expressing that emotion healthily and productively.

The biggest signs of emotional immaturity? 

Firstly, they have emotional outbursts. It shows that they are unable to control their own emotions but that their emotions control them.

However, another overlooked aspect of emotional immaturity is the inability to empathize with other people when they are expressing their emotions. 

If you’re opening up to a person and they seem like they don’t care, then they’re probably not emotionally mature enough to empathize with you.

9) They redirect the blame on other people

Personally, one of the hardest things for me to swallow in my youth is that my actions can have such a profound effect on other people.

That reality scared me. It made me anxious to act. And when I did make mistakes (as everyone inevitably does), it was hard for me to accept that it was my responsibility.

But being mature requires owning up to one’s actions, both the good and the bad. Accountability and responsibility are simply non-negotiable.

Unfortunately, immature people will refuse to accept that they were wrong. Many of them even redirect the blame onto other people. They will claim that they only made a mistake because another person made them do it or that their environment left them with no choice.

A wise person will understand the limitations of whatever circumstances they find themselves in and act around them appropriately. 

10) They commit the same mistakes and never learn

But here’s the thing: owning up to one’s mistakes isn’t enough. Because that alone does nothing but make one feel good about apologizing.

In fact, a sincere apology goes beyond saying sorry. It involves trying to atone for whatever damage was caused. Then, moving forward, they take the lesson to heart and never commit the same mistake twice.

Making the same mistakes again and again, without visible improvement, is a sign that one doesn’t care enough to improve. Sure, they may acknowledge that it’s wrong.

But if they are too lazy to do anything about or underestimate the harm it is causing, then it shows that they are stuck with an insensitive and immature mindset. 

To wrap it up

I’d say that 99% or even 100% of people who read this article saw themselves in at least one or two of these signs.

And that’s okay. We’re all human. We’re all imperfect. No one is perfectly mature—life is a life-long journey of learning and growth.

What matters is that we actively and sincerely try to learn from our mistakes and experiences. That is the most mature thing anyone can do.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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