How to identify emotionally immature people

There are people who, despite being adults, behave like six-year-olds. This is due to their emotional immaturity. What are other main traits of this?
How to identify emotionally immature people

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Emotional immaturity has no expiration date and nor does it depend on age. It takes responsibility and a lot of personal work to get rid of it. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to meet emotionally immature people. We may even be emotionally immature ourselves in one aspect or another.

So, are there adults that have childish behaviors? Yes, there are, and it’s much more common than we think, though there are different degrees of immaturity. There are usually those who don’t like to assume responsibility, want to always be right and want the world and others to adapt to their needs and desires.

Below are some traits and reactions of emotionally immature people.

Characteristics of emotionally immature people

sad woman

1. They’re dependent

Emotionally immature people are often dependent on others in many aspects of their lives. They’re usually not autonomous, although they may think they are. In the end, they always depend on someone else to fulfill their obligations or to make certain important decisions.

Another interesting aspect is that when they have a problem or things do not happen as expected, they tend to blame others or the circumstances since they’re unable to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

This ultimately leads them to adopt a victim role and sometimes to suffer a lot for it. Well, if everything depends on others, what can they do to be better or solve what happens to them?

2. They don’t know how to manage their finances

The simple act of going to work doesn’t result in emotional maturity in all cases. However, the interest in having your own income and learning how to use that income is an important aspect of personal development.

  • Those that spend without thinking about tomorrow, who don’t have priorities, and wait for magic solutions to appear and fix their money problems are emotionally immature.
  • The more serious problem is walking a financial tightrope and it’s not rare to find them asking for financial help every now and then.

3. They’re not very empathetic

People who are emotionally immature are incapable of putting themselves in someone else’s situation and understanding them. This happens because they tend to be very egocentric and think that only their point of view is valid.

For this reason, it’s difficult for them to reach a different conclusion in a discussion than the one they already have. It’s a good idea not to try too hard to change their mind. What can be done at another time is to show them an example of another perspective. Of course, it must be done in a way as to not show that we’re right, but with the objective of softening their mental rigidity.

4. Chaotic, confusing, and disorganized properties

Emotionally immature people tend to put things that give them fun and satisfaction first. This means that their priority list is far removed from responsibility.

For example, it’s more important for them to have a good time than to attend to housework, work, or family.

  • The problem with this disorder of priorities is that both your physical and psychological health and your relationships will suffer.

5. They tend to have superiority issues with people

Emotionally immature people tend to have problems trusting themselves. In order to get the security they lack, they tend to find any way to make other people feel worse or inferior.

  • Often, the worse the other person feels, the better the immature person feels.
  • They may use intimidation, name-calling, or any other behavior to bring about this effect.

This is something normal if we take into account that they don’t know how to manage their emotions, even though it’s not healthy nor correct.

6. They’re afraid of commitment

This fear is not just related to relationships. It also means that they run away from any life situation in which they have to take control, such as living alone or looking for a job.

It’s important to emphasize that it’s not only emotionally immature people who are afraid of commitment: all of us have some fear of making big changes in our lives.

  • The radical difference is that people who are emotionally mature take the plunge because they know it’s important to achieve their own goals. Meanwhile, those who haven’t matured emotionally don’t understand the importance in making these decisions.

We recommend: How to Make Better Decisions

7. They don’t know how to express emotions

These types of people are emotionally illiterate, so they react in an extreme way to the circumstances that occur to them. Sorrow is taken to the maximum, as well as their joys and rages. They will only limit themselves to live experiences without learning from them.

Some people are very dramatic and they subconsciously love being the center of attention, which usually tests other people’s patience.

8. They refuse to listen to other people’s opinions

Although emotionally immature people always look for other people to solve their problems, they always ignore their opinions. This is due to their lack of empathy.

angry woman

What to do with emotionally immature people?

Emotional maturity is a skill that can be acquired through psychological therapy. Of course, the first step is to accept that you have difficulties managing your emotions and daily responsibilities.

From there, the work with the psychologist will focus on knowing the emotional universe and the different strategies that can be carried out so that the person acquires greater autonomy, responsibility, and is able to make important decisions for their life.

On a personal level, it can be quite difficult to deal with these types of people, so patience and empathy are recommended. In the event that coexistence or the relationship is impossible, you can seek help to know how to manage the relationship or reflect on whether its necessary to maintain it or no.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Mr. Rice’s Notebook. Chapter 5. Emotional maturity

  • John Mano Raj. A study on relationship between emotional maturity, stress and self-confience among management students. (2017)

  • Franz Alexander. A Hogg Foundation Reprint. Emotional Maturity

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.