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How to Be an Adult: 15 Mature Ways to Grow Up and Behave Like One

When you were a kid, I’m sure you couldn’t wait to grow up. But now that you have, you’re probably scratching you head wondering how to be an adult.

how to be an adult

Don’t you wish you would have appreciated childhood more than you did? You probably hated taking naps, and now you wish you could have enough time in your busy schedule to take one. And as a teenager, you didn’t want your parents telling you what to do, but now you call them for advice all the time.

Ahhhh, adulthood. We all get there eventually, but it’s not always easy. Some people adapt to it easier than others, but it is an adjustment for everyone.

Here’s how to be an adult

No one took a class called “How to Be an Adult 101,” although I’m sure most of us wish we had. If our parents don’t teach us, then it’s up to us to figure it out on our own. So, if you are left wondering how to be an adult lately, let’s take a look.

#1 Stop blaming other people. This is huge. And I mean HUGE. Granted, most adults do blame other people. But it’s not a mature thing to do. Emotionally mature people do not point the fingers at other people all the time. They own up to their behavior and actions. [Read: Why blaming others actually makes your life so much worse]

#2 Pay your bills on time. This one is probably obvious. But do you know how many people have a crappy credit score? Or how many people have bill collectors knocking on their door? A lot. Way too many.

So, you don’t want to be one of those people. Your credit score is so important. If you ever want to buy a car, a house, or do a lot of other things, you will need to have a high credit score. And that comes from paying your bills… on time, every time.

#3 Do your best at all times. Yes, it’s easy to be lazy and selfish. But that’s what children do. And parents have to try to teach them to think about other people’s feelings, not just their own.

So, if you want to know how to be an adult, then you should do you best in your relationships, your job, and well, in pretty much every area of your life. [Read: Emotional maturity – 13 clues to know if someone has it]

#4 Take personal responsibility. This goes hand-in-hand with blaming. You, and you alone, are responsible for every aspect of your life. Sure, you can’t control other people’s behavior, but you can control your own. So, you need to be self-reflective and think about how your actions played a part in any given scenario in life.

#5 Treat others with respect. You have heard of The Golden Rule… we all have. But how many of us actually practice it? Treating others the way you want to be treated… it sounds easy, right? So why is it so difficult for a lot of people? But if you want to know how to be an adult, you need to treat everyone – from the CEO to the janitor – with respect. [Read: 10 really simple ways to avoid being rude in any situation]

#6 Control your anger. A mature adult knows how to control their anger. They don’t let their emotions get the best of them. Yes, we all feel anger. But if you really want to know how to be an adult, then you have to learn to walk away from situations before you open your mouth and regret it. Take a breather and get perspective.

#7 Have a life plan. If you are just going where the wind blows, you then you don’t know how to be an adult. Mature people know what they want out of life, where they’re going, and how to get there. So, sit down with yourself and figure out what you really want out of life. [Read: Don’t stay stuck – 16 strategies to get your shit together fast]

#8 Take care of yourself – mentally and physically. I know, I know. Most adults in the world are overweight and over-stressed. But in order to be a happy, healthy, productive member of society, you owe it to yourself and the world to take care of yourself. Eat right. Exercise. Take a mental health vacation.

#9 Don’t drink and drive. This should be obvious. But how many times have you or someone you know gotten into a car after drinking? I think we all have. But mature, responsible adults know that drinking and driving can spell disaster. And so, they don’t do it, or they drink at home. [Read: 20 lifestyle changes to make in your 20s for a better life]

#10 Don’t procrastinate. Once again, I know there are tons of adult procrastinators out there in the world. However, procrastinating doesn’t positively affect anyone.

It stresses you out – and it might stress out the other people involved too. So, in order to know how to be an adult, you have to plan and not avoid doing what you have to do.

#11 Don’t leave people hanging. Have you ghosted on someone? Not a mature thing to do. Are you always late and leave people waiting on you constantly? Not a nice thing to do. Real adults don’t leave other people hanging. They know other people’s time is valuable, and so they act accordingly out of respect for them. Always, always be on time. [Read: How to be a good person – 10 small changes to transform your world]

#12 Don’t gossip. Gossiping can be fun. However, it can also be mean. Usually people do it to make themselves feel better about their own lives. But it’s not a nice thing to do. Do you like it when other people gossip about you? Of course not!

So, if you want to know how to be an adult, then you need to stop gossiping about other people.

#13 Make a financial plan and budget. Remember when I talked about your credit score? Yeah, well, having a budget and a financial plan are intimately intertwined with your financial planning. You don’t want to run your credit cards up and live outside of your means, because then you’ll never get caught up. And you’ll probably end up filing for bankruptcy. So, have a plan. [Read: The lazy 20-something’s guide to saving money]

#14 Learn to cook, clean, and fix things. Mommy and daddy won’t be living with you when you’re an adult *at least I hope not*. And you can’t rely on them anymore to do all the things they used to do for you. So, take some cooking classes, learn how to fix a car, and just know how to take care of your domestic duties. [Read: 14 things you HAVE to know when you’re living alone]

#15 Be honest. This should be an easy one, but as we all know, there are a lot of liars in the world. But lying is not honorable. It is not mature. And adults shouldn’t do it. So, if you have a tendency to stretch the truth, stop doing that! Be truthful and see how it makes your life better.

[Read: The rules of life – 22 secrets to never be unhappy again]

Knowing how to be an adult isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. I mean come on, you can’t turn back the hands of time, so you might as well embrace living like a mature person sooner than later, right?

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...