12 behaviors that reveal someone’s true level of maturity

by Lachlan Brown | May 24, 2024, 9:57 am

Ever met an adult who acts more like a kid? Or a young person who seems wise beyond their years?

Age doesn’t always match up to how grown-up someone is.

That’s because being a grown-up is really about how you behave.

In this article, let’s check out 12 behaviors that show how mature someone really is.

Ready to jump in?

Let’s go. 

1. Managing Feelings

Grown-ups have a knack for keeping their feelings in check.

We all have those moments when things don’t go according to plan, right?

Maybe your favorite team lost the match, or that last slice of pizza got snatched up before you could claim it.

In such situations, it’s easy to lose your cool. But does throwing a fit help? Nope.

Mature individuals don’t let their emotions steer their actions.

They might feel upset or disappointed, but they won’t let those feelings take charge.

Instead, they take a deep breath, give themselves time to calm down, and handle the situation rationally.

It doesn’t mean they brush their feelings under the rug.

They acknowledge them, understand why they’re feeling that way, but they also know not to let these emotions cloud their judgment.

This thoughtful approach to managing emotions—rather than letting emotions manage them—is a clear sign of maturity.

So, next time you’re in a tricky situation, remember to pause and respond rather than react impulsively. That’s what a grown-up would do. 

2. Owning Up To Mistakes

Everyone messes up sometimes – it’s just part of being human. But when you’ve made a blunder, how do you handle it? Do you start pointing fingers or cooking up excuses? Or do you take a deep breath, step forward, and admit, “Yep, that was my bad”?

Mature folks choose the latter. They don’t shy away from taking responsibility for their actions.

They understand that mistakes aren’t the end of the world; they’re just bumps on the road to success.

When they mess up, they don’t waste time blaming others or denying their mistake.

Instead, they admit it, apologize if needed, and most importantly, learn from it.

By acknowledging and learning from their mistakes, they turn them into opportunities for growth.

Plus, owning up to mistakes also builds trust and respect with others.

It shows that they’re honest and humble enough to admit when they’re wrong.

That’s a big part of what being a grown-up is all about! 

3. Being Patient

Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes. And it’s a virtue that really shows how grown-up someone is. I learned this the hard way when I was younger.

Back in my early 20s, I wanted everything, and I wanted it now.

Whether it was a new gadget, a promotion at work, or even a perfect relationship, I was always in a rush. But no matter how hard I tried to speed things up, life had its own pace.

One day, after another bout of frustration over something that didn’t happen as quickly as I hoped, my mentor gave me some valuable advice.

He said, “Good things take time. If you rush and get it wrong, you’ll have to start over. But if you’re patient and get it right the first time, you’re saving yourself a lot of trouble.”

That advice stuck with me. I began practicing patience and realized that some of the best things in life are worth the wait.

Whether it was waiting for the right job opportunity or waiting for my homegrown tomatoes to ripen, patience made the reward even sweeter.

Being patient doesn’t mean sitting idle; it means understanding that good things often take time and hard work.

It’s about staying focused and persistent even when results aren’t immediate. 

4. Understanding Others

Understanding others, or empathy, is a true sign of maturity.

It’s about really getting where someone else is coming from and being able to share their feelings.

Mature people can step into someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

People who are more empathetic are better at reading others’ emotions, even from just the eyes!

They can pick up subtle hints about how someone’s feeling, which helps them connect better with others.

So whether it’s understanding why a friend is upset or considering another person’s viewpoint during a debate, empathy allows mature individuals to connect on a deeper level.

They can navigate relationships more effectively and respond with kindness and compassion.

5. Listening More Than Talking

In a world filled with noise, sometimes what people need most is to be heard.

And who better to lend an ear than someone who’s truly grown-up?

Mature people understand the power of listening – really listening, not just waiting for their turn to talk.

Listening is about more than just hearing words. It’s about understanding, empathizing, and showing that you genuinely care about what someone else is saying.

When someone is pouring their heart out to you, they’re not always looking for advice or solutions.

Sometimes, they just need to feel heard and understood.

I remember once reading a quote that said, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

This quote resonated with me deeply and reminded me of the importance of listening.

Mature people know that everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and a perspective to share.

By choosing to listen more than they speak, they open themselves up to a world of learning and deepen their connections with others.

6. Dealing With Criticism

Let’s face it, no one likes being criticized.

It can sting, especially when it’s about something we’ve put our heart and soul into.

But how we handle criticism says a lot about our maturity.

I remember when I first started my job, I was eager to impress and did everything I could to be perfect.

One day, my boss called me in and gave me some constructive criticism about a project I was working on. I was devastated. My first instinct was to defend myself and shift the blame elsewhere.

But then, I took a step back and thought about it. Maybe there was some truth in what my boss was saying. Maybe there was room for improvement.

Instead of reacting defensively, I accepted the feedback and made an effort to improve.

And you know what? It worked! My work improved, and so did my relationship with my boss.

Mature people see criticism as an opportunity to grow and improve.

They don’t take it personally or let it knock them down.

They take it on board, learn from it, and move forward. It’s not always easy, but it’s a sign of being a grown-up.

7. Being Respectful

We’ve all met those people who think their opinion is the only one that matters, right?

The ones who dismiss others because they’re different or don’t agree with them.

But let me tell you something: that’s not how a grown-up behaves.

Being grown-up means treating everyone with respect.

It doesn’t matter if they’re the janitor or the CEO, if they’re from a different country, if they’re younger or older, or if they believe in different things. Everyone deserves respect. Period.

Respect is about acknowledging that every person is unique and valuable just as they are.

It’s about being kind and considerate, even when you disagree with someone.

It’s about listening and understanding, rather than judging and dismissing.

Mature folks know this. They treat everyone with kindness and fairness, no matter who they are.

Because at the end of the day, we’re all human. We all have feelings, dreams, and stories to tell. 

8. Knowing What’s Important

Knowing what really matters and focusing on it is a clear sign of maturity. Grown-ups are able to prioritize their responsibilities.

They don’t let little distractions get in the way of what’s essential.

Here’s an interesting fact to illustrate this point: according to the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

This principle is widely used in business, economics, and even personal productivity.

It suggests that by identifying and focusing on the most important tasks (the 20%), we can achieve the majority of our results (the 80%).

Mature individuals apply this principle in their lives.

They identify what their ‘20%’ tasks are—the ones that will have the biggest impact—and focus their efforts there.

Whether it’s focusing on key projects at work, spending quality time with family, or investing in self-improvement, they understand where their priorities should lie.

So next time you feel overwhelmed with too many tasks, remember to prioritize. Focus on what’s really important. That’s what grown-ups do. 

9. Being Honest

Truth be told, honesty is a must-have quality for me, both in myself and in the people I interact with.

It’s a clear sign of maturity.

Mature people tell the truth, even when it might be easier or more convenient to lie.

I recall a time when I was in university, and I made a mistake on a group project that cost us some points.

It would have been so easy to blame it on the confusing instructions or even on one of my group mates.

But I knew that wouldn’t be right.

So, I owned up to my mistake. I told my group and our professor what I had done wrong.

Sure, it was embarrassing, and yes, we got a lower grade because of my mistake.

But in the end, my group mates and professor appreciated my honesty.

They knew they could trust me to tell the truth, even when it wasn’t in my favor.

Grown-ups understand that honesty is the foundation of trust and respect.

They know that lies might get them out of trouble temporarily, but honesty will benefit them in the long run.

So remember, always choose honesty. It might be tough at times, but it’s definitely worth it. 

10. Always Learning

No one knows it all. The world is a massive, ever-changing place, and there’s always something new to learn.

Mature folks get that. They don’t rest on their laurels or think they’re done learning. Nope, they’re always looking to grow and learn more.

Being a grown-up means understanding that there’s always room for improvement.

It means swallowing your pride and admitting when you don’t know something.

Because let’s be real, pretending to know everything doesn’t make you look smart—it just makes you look arrogant.

11. Being Humble

Humble pie is a dish best served… well, always.

There’s a raw honesty in being able to admit when you’re wrong, and there’s strength in standing up for what’s right even when it’s tough.

That’s what being humble is all about.

Grown-ups know that they aren’t perfect and they don’t pretend to be.

They can admit when they’ve messed up and apologize sincerely.

They can stand their ground when they believe in something, but they also know how to compromise when needed.

12. Being Generous

Generosity isn’t just about opening your wallet—it’s about opening your heart, your time, and your willingness to help others.

You can have all the money in the world, but if you can’t spare a moment or a kind word for someone in need, what’s the point?

Grown-ups understand this.

They know that generosity isn’t measured by how much you give, but by how you give.

They’re willing to lend an ear when someone needs to talk, offer a helping hand when someone is struggling, or even just share a smile to brighten someone’s day.

In the end, being mature isn’t about being serious all the time or having everything figured out.

It’s about being real, being kind, and being willing to grow. So go ahead, be a grown-up. It’s honestly the best way to be.

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