How to Be More Mature

teenager playing on their phone

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If someone has accused you of being immature, or told you to “grow up,” you may find yourself wondering how you can be more mature.

Maturity

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines maturity as having both wisdom and good judgment. People who are mature are able to control their emotions, respond appropriately to situations, and behave like an adult while dealing with others.

This article explores some of the characteristics of mature people, the benefits of this trait, and some steps you can take to be more mature.

How to Be More Mature

These are some steps you can take to be more mature, according to Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, and professor at Yeshiva University. 

  • Keep your commitments: Make it a point to keep the commitments you’ve made. Don’t be erratic or flaky.
  • Develop self-control: Learn to control your words and actions, rather than letting your emotions control you. Pause and reflect on what your emotions are urging you to do, and ensure your actions are always aligned with your values, not how you’re feeling in the moment.
  • Make decisions thoughtfully: Think before making decisions and seek others’ advice or perspective if needed.
  • Be humble: Rather than professing to know everything, it’s important to acknowledge the limits of your knowledge, stay humble, and be motivated to learn more.
  • Work toward self-sufficiency: Learn to start taking care of yourself and being self-sufficient. This could involve living independently, working on your own terms, or providing for yourself financially.
  • Set goals: Be deliberate about what you want to achieve. Once you have identified your goals, break them down, and create small steps for you to work toward. 
  • Stay focused: Learn to delay gratification and prioritize long-term goals over short-term impulses. Follow through and don’t let temporary impulses stop you from reaching your objectives. A 2019 study notes that a true sign of maturity is the ability to practice restraint when faced with exciting, emotional, or risky situations.
  • Be persistent: Work toward your goals and don’t fall off the wagon when things get tough, when unexpected roadblocks come up, or if you feel progress is taking too long. 
  • Find the right balance: It’s important to maintain a balance between prioritizing your needs versus the needs of others. Your agenda shouldn’t solely revolve around you, but it also shouldn’t cater exclusively to the needs of the people around you either, to the extent that you neglect yourself. Learn to set boundaries and take care of yourself and others. 
  • Respect others: Learn to appreciate other people’s perspectives and treat everyone respectfully.
  • Maintain a routine: Build a stable, healthy routine that involves work or school, exercise, a healthy diet, and creative or active hobbies.
  • Own your mistakes: Take ownership of your actions and don’t try to blame others for your circumstances. Own up to your mistakes and work on correcting them.
  • Let go of things that don’t serve you: It’s important to let go of things that are no longer serving you. This could include habits, thought processes, relationships, or activities in your life.
  • Express gratitude: Be grateful and make it a point to express your thanks for the big and small things you value in your life.

Characteristics of Mature People

These are some of the characteristics of mature people, compared to those of immature people.

Mature People
  • Thoughtful

  • Responsible

  • Reliable

  • Respectful

  • Humble

  • Committed 

  • Considerate

  • Grateful

  • Independent

Immature People
  • Inconsiderate

  • Reckless

  • Erratic

  • Rude

  • Arrogant

  • Impulsive

  • Self-absorbed

  • Thankless

  • Dependent on others

Benefits of Being Mature

These are some of the benefits of being more mature, according to Dr. Romanoff:

  • Better relationships: Your relationships may start to improve as you become more mature. You will likely experience fewer arguments and deeper connections with the people around you.
  • More stability: With better decision-making skills comes more stability across the different domains of your life, including work, family, friendships, and romantic relationships.
  • Less conflict: The little things that used to set you off-tilt will be less likely to bother you. You will be steadier in your life and unfazed by things that truly don’t matter to you.

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

As you become more mature, you will start to be more attuned to your needs, your identity, and what you truly want.

— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

Potential Pitfalls of Being Immature

These are some of the potential pitfalls of being immature, according to Dr. Romanoff:

  • Giving in to impulses: Immature people often have trouble controlling their impulses. For instance, they may want to do well in an exam but may not be able to resist the urge to play video games instead of studying. This can prevent them from achieving their goals. 
  • Missing the bigger picture: Immature people tend to get caught up in small insignificant details or problems that consume their energy. This leaves them drained and prevents them from seeing the big picture, which can hamper their ability to meet their goals.
  • Avoiding responsibility: Immature people may avoid responsibility, which can cause them to be dependent on others for far longer than they should be.

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

The biggest pitfall of being immature is that you tend to be your own worst enemy, sabotaging yourself and getting in the way of achieving the things you really want.

— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

A Word From Verywell

Being mature doesn’t have to mean that you have to be serious all the time, or that you can’t have fun or be silly from time-to-time. However, maturity means you are able to determine what type of behavior is and isn’t appropriate for every situation.

3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Association. Intellectual maturity.

  2. Bhagat V, Haque M, Bin Abu Bakar YI, Husain R, Khairi CM. Emotional maturity of medical students impacting their adult learning skills. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2016;7:575-584. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S117915

  3. Icenogle G, Steinberg L, Duell N, et al. Adolescents' cognitive capacity reaches adult levels prior to their psychosocial maturity: Evidence for a "maturity gap" in a multinational, cross-sectional sample. Law Hum Behav. 2019;43(1):69-85. doi:10.1037/lhb0000315

By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.