Emotional Maturity: 13 Clues to Know if Someone Has It
The key to a healthy relationship is to have the emotional maturity to be empathetic and care as much about your significant other as you do yourself.
I know people who are 19 but act as if they are 20, and then I know people who are 20 and make 10-year-olds look mature. Maturity is not about puberty or age; it is about where you are emotionally. Emotional maturity is a difficult thing because it comes not just from the time you have walked the earth, but it also includes the things that you have gone through and your life experiences.
Some of us are forced to grow up quickly due to life circumstances, and some of us are coddled so that we don’t grow up at all. The key to any relationship is that you are both on the same emotional maturity level.
Your emotional maturity is the ability that you have to deal with situations and to communicate with other people. It is how well you can manage your life, understand what is going on around you, and your ability to manage your emotions according to society’s expectations.
13 signs of emotional maturity to keep an eye on
Some signs can indicate whether your mate is mature enough to handle an adult relationship, and then there are others that signal that you should probably find someone who is more on “your level.” If you are in a place in your life where you want to start a family and behave like a grown up, these are the characteristics to look for.
#1 They can admit they are wrong. There is nothing that takes more emotional maturity than to admit when you are wrong. We all want to be right. When we aren’t, it can take a toll on our self-esteem, and in some instances, make us feel stupid.
An individual who has emotional maturity can realize that being wrong is a part of being human. The key is to not only recognizing when you are wrong, but admitting it. If you are still willing to go down with the ship just to prove that you were right, you aren’t ready for a mature relationship. [Read: 16 signs you’re surely not ready for a serious relationship]
#2 Being aware of your own stereotyping or biases. Empathy is the ability to walk a day in someone else’s shoes. What that means is that you can see someone else’s situation and realize that we all have our own challenges and that no one has it easier.
We all have biases that guide the way that we think, but it takes emotional maturity to admit that our thought processes may be more than fact – they may just be our minds inputting judgment. Being able to admit that you are judging people without cause is one step on your way to emotional maturity. [Read: 7 reasons why empathy is really important in a relationship]
#3 Emotional maturity means that you take time before reacting. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take a breath, think rationally, and figure out the consequences before reacting. When you are immature, you don’t think about the consequences of your actions or reactions.
It takes growth and emotional maturity to look at the entire situation to make a rational decision before reacting. If you meet someone who is quick to react, or overreact, then you probably should look elsewhere for a long-term mate.
#4 Being vulnerable. No one wants to get hurt. In fact, our instincts are all based on avoiding pain and finding pleasure. The thing about making yourself vulnerable is that you are allowing your guard to be down and leaving yourself unprotected.
It takes someone with emotional maturity to recognize that sometimes to find love, you have to give it, and that may take putting yourself out there to be hurt to gain something. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me” is one of the worst phrases ever. Words sometimes hurt more than wounds because they aren’t something you can put antibacterial on and a band-aid.
Recognizing that you aren’t going to die if you are emotionally hurt is a part of growing up and realizing that even if you do get hurt, it is a part of growing. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]
#5 Empathy. Empathy is the way that we can feel for others. Although you are not necessarily in the same position when you have empathy for another, you can literally feel the emotions of the people around you. Someone with emotional maturity can see a situation and put themselves into the position of the people involved to know how they feel.
That gives you a better perspective about why people act, behave, and react the way that they do. In turn, someone who is high on emotional maturity can take the time to see someone’s behavior as a result of their surroundings instead of something lacking in their character or personality. [Read: Wear your heart on your sleeve – 12 reasons why you need to be more open]
#6 You can ask for help. An person who possesses emotional maturity is someone who isn’t afraid to admit when something is too much, and they need help. Think about a 2-year-old who wants to do everything on their own. They want to prove to the world that they can do it all.
When you have emotional maturity, you realize that even if you can do it all yourself, it is much easier, kinder, and better, when you can take the help from those around you. For a mature relationship to work, you have to both give and accept help when needed, instead of always going it alone. [Read: 8 little habits that bring couples closer to each other]
#7 You know when it is okay to give in. Some battles are worth fighting, and others are much better to wave the white flag. Someone who is emotionally insecure will never learn just to let someone else “have it” and move along.
Fighting until the death, they will win an argument or fight any way possible, which includes hitting below the belt. An emotionally mature mate will realize that sometimes it is better to make someone happy and secure than to be right.
#8 You take responsibility. Someone who is emotionally mature takes responsibility for their part in any situation. Often, we want to make someone the enemy and make ourselves the innocent bystander, even when we are not perfect. After all, who is perfect? Sometimes in relationships, we can drive each other crazy. The key to making it work is to recognize when you are pushing buttons or doing things to provoke bringing out the worst in the person you are with.
If you can’t ever see how you are causing someone to react badly, or how you play your part in a situation, then you aren’t ever going to have a stable, or mature, relationship. [Read: 18 relationship turn-offs that can ruin your relationship forever]
#9 Have the ability to calm yourself down. There is nothing worse than someone who can’t calm themselves down. If you let someone rile you up and don’t know when it is time to walk away, shut it off, and calm yourself down, then that is your fault and your immaturity. Knowing when you are going to explode, lose your temper, or go overboard, is a sign that you are mature and ready to share your life with someone else.
#10 Humor in the face of adversity. The ability to laugh at yourself especially in the face of adversity is the best sign of emotional maturity. You want to find someone who can roll with it and not take life too seriously. Being able to see everything as temporary and taking the worst situation and finding the silver lining, or the humor in it, is what being mature is all about, and it is what is going to make your life with someone that much less complex and that much more enjoyable. [Read: 20 things happy couples don’t do in a perfect relationship]
#11 The ability to adapt. Another sign of emotional maturity is the ability to adapt to any situation with grace. Nothing in life that is worthwhile is ever going to be easy. The older you get, the more situations you go through, the more experiences you have, the better you can learn to go with the flow and to adapt to those things around you.
Those who are immature think that the world should conform to them. You are not the center of the universe, but when immature, that is exactly what you believe yourself to be. Someone who is emotionally mature recognizes that there are others in the world and that sometimes you have to give in and put your own self-interest aside for the good of others.
#12 You have an open mind. The biggest sign of emotional maturity is the inability to see the world through someone else’s view. If you meet someone who is a staunch Democrat or Republican and can’t see the other side, or any other side besides what they have always known and believed, then they are just spitting out what they have heard or learned. That means that they haven’t ever tested the boundaries of what someone has told them to know what they have learned on their own to be truth.
Being emotionally mature means that you are open to listening to the view of others and taking them into consideration instead of shutting them out and believing that you always know better. Compromise and an open-mind are key to not only emotionally mature people, but an emotionally mature relationship. [Read: How to be less critical of the people around you]
#13 Believing in yourself. Someone who is emotionally mature believes in themselves, their beliefs, and their opinions. That means they trust their instincts. You want to be in a relationship with someone who believes that they are not only a good person, but also that they know where they are headed and what is important in life. If you can’t believe in yourself, how can you believe in someone else, or support them?
You can’t have a relationship with someone who has the emotional maturity of a child. Just as you can’t reason with a child, you can’t marry or be in a serious relationship with one. Look for these 13 signs that someone is ready to move forward with a serious union.