13 characteristics and traits of a responsible person (is this you?)

Being an adult doesn’t automatically mean that you’re responsible.

There are certain “adults” who still carry with them their childlike behaviors, such as a feeling of entitlement, avoidance of obligations, and an unwillingness to take the blame.

Being responsible is more than simply being able to pay for the bills. It’s an attitude that comes from personal growth and maturity.

While others might still want to skirt around certain issues in their life, a responsible person ensures that they attend to each of their obligations, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them.

Growth doesn’t stop at a certain age. Take control of your life and learn these 13 traits of a responsible person.

1. They Admit When They’ve Made A Mistake

We all have the capacity to let our partners down.

It’s easy to get so caught up in conversation with them that we sometimes don’t realize we’ve said or done something that offended them.

The irresponsible people deny such faults; they avoid the blame. But not a responsible person.

While it can be difficult to own up to a mistake, it’s something that needs to be done.

Responsible people see the bigger picture; they set aside their ego for the benefit of the relationship as a whole.

If they don’t take responsibility for it now, they’ll never grow to avoid it happening again in the future.

2. They Are Consistent With Themselves And With Others

If a responsible person tells others to treat people with kindness, they’ll stay consistent with their words and follow their own instructions.

They aren’t hypocritical; they’re honest and true to their beliefs. The actions match the words.

They aren’t ones to stagnate, however.

Growth and new experiences will always influence their mindsets and views on certain issues.

Their old ways of thinking may not apply anymore, and might even have grown to become offensive.

A responsible person does well to carefully reflect on their beliefs and change it if they feel they’re wrong.

3. They’re Never Late

Punctuality is not only a sign of being responsible but it’s also a sign of respect to the other person.

Arriving at a meeting on time (or even earlier) is a show of character that says “I am serious about doing business with you.”

The habit of punctuality goes beyond meeting other people, however.

While there may be some who have stacks of overdue bills, a responsible person tries their best to avoid such financial obligations to pile up.

They make sure that their bills and even their debts are paid at the appropriate time.

They can’t have those payments hang above their heads while they get to work, so they deal with it as soon as possible.

4. They Get To Work

Procrastination plagues anyone.

If the deadline is still in a few months, it can be easy to simply say, “What’s the rush?”

The deadline inevitably shocks the irresponsible person and becomes an energy-draining motivation to cram the work, producing lower quality output.

A responsible person doesn’t shy away from what they have to do. They do the work that’s required of them.

They don’t phone it in either.

They always give it their best effort. If the deadline is still months away, they break down the assignment into simple steps that they can work on immediately.

They don’t dally when there’s a deadline on the horizon.

5. They Don’t Let Their Emotions Get In The Way

After a long day at work, it can be easy to succumb to the temptation to reach for a soda or a box of pizza — even though there’s a diet that needs to be followed.

When we’re drained, our rational defenses are lowered.

Emotional decisions are made for short-term fulfillment — while at the same time jeopardizing a long-term goal.

Being mindful of our moods and feelings is important to sticking to the plan we set for ourselves.

A responsible person knows not to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

Emotions can also get in the way of cooperating with others.

Holding a grudge jeopardizes the teamwork needed to get any high quality work done.

While responsible people may not like everyone, they still keep it civil with professional matters.

6. They’re Welcoming Of Others

Responsible people aren’t competitive when someone has a nicer car than them, nor do they belittle people who earn less than them.

No matter who that person is, a responsible person treats everyone with the same foundational respect that they all deserve.

They aren’t petty about their issues.

They listen, empathize, forgive, and forget. Holding onto grudges and prejudices not only complicates relationships but hinders any kind of individual growth.

7. They Don’t Complain

There is inevitably going to be a point where the boss or the client starts acting in an annoying way.

They give unrealistic deadlines and they aren’t clear about what they want from you.

They make getting anything done feel like a crucible.

Sometimes, they aren’t even the cause of stress.

Social expectations, financial situations, can cause anyone stress in one way or another.

The common response would be to get frustrated and be blinded with stress.

But a responsible person knows better.

They put their heads down and work their way out of their situations.

They may still feel the same anger and frustration, though, but they simply redirect their energies elsewhere instead.

8. They Look For Solutions

People often linger on a problem because coming up with a solution could take too much time and energy.

They give up their efforts to improve their situations, so they go through their days with the unnecessary additional stress they can’t be bothered to fix.

To the responsible person, when there’s a problem, they try their best to come up with a solution; it’s an open loop that they need to close in some way.

They don’t sit around waiting for the miracle that may never come. They get to work and look for solutions.

9. They Are Organized

As we grow older, there are more and more obligations to juggle.

There is an obligation to our children, family, friends, the bank, and our boss.

Keeping up with all these areas of life can be challenging to someone unprepared to face adulthood and the “real world”.

Responsible people manage their time and resources wisely.

They avoid wasting energy on the things that don’t ultimately add any value to them like partying and spontaneous purchases.

They keep a daily schedule, and review their obligations as often as they can to make sure that the engine of their life is running smoothly.

10. They Are Proactive

Waiting for the “right” conditions to make any progress on a personal goal will get you nowhere.

Simply reacting to the events of life is an inefficient way to achieve success.

A responsible person not only lives in the moment but has their eye on the future.

They don’t look at it with much anxiety, as people commonly do.

They anticipate what might happen, and make the appropriate changes today.

They know that if they continue on the path of eating junk food, the future hospital bills will be devastating.

So they take the proactive approach of keeping their health in check every day.

11. They Stick To Their Values

We have an underlying value system, whether we’re aware of it or not. Acting against our held beliefs is a common cause of stress and inner turmoil.

While it can be difficult at times to be honest, sticking to one’s values and telling the truth shows that that person is one of integrity.

Responsible people stand up for what they believe in with no shame or embarrassment.

12. They Have A Hold On Their Finances

Being responsible with one’s money is a mark of maturity.

A responsible person isn’t one to make impulse purchases.

They’re smart with their spending. They wisely budget their money, splitting it between their wants and needs.

They have long-term financial goals that aren’t only about them but include the people that they love as well.

There are certain types of people that can’t even stand the sight of their own bank accounts. They might feel insecure about it.

The problem with that, however, is that they aren’t able to manage their spending.

Responsible people make sure to know exactly where their money is coming from, how much, and where it all goes to.

13. They Watch Themselves

As we grow older, people begin to expect that we can take care of ourselves.

No one’s going to look out for us anymore.

Our parents get old and bosses are more hands-off, trusting that you can accomplish your assignment on time.

Responsible people can take care of themselves, practicing the values of self-discipline and independence.

There are people that refuse to grow up.

They deny the reality of their age and revert back to their childlike ways because it’s familiar.

We can sympathize with these people. Growing up can be scary when we look back at our lives.

But at one point or another, we need to face reality, mature, and seize control of our own lives.

No one is going to do it for us.

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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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