10 Signs Of An Emotionally Immature Person And Ways To Deal

Reviewed by Dr Nancy B Irwin, PsyD
By Harini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Dealing with an emotionally immature person can be quite frustrating, especially when closely associated with them. Such people are ignorant, lack empathy, exhibit impulsive behavior, and are short-tempered, among other things.

Identifying the condition is the first step towards tackling someone emotionally immature. Then, you have to approach this person with patience and perseverance. Remember, the traits mentioned above can make interactions with emotionally immature people difficult and lead to awkward public situations. In this article, we have listed 10 signs that point towards an emotionally immature adult and how you can deal with them. Continue reading to know more.

What Is Emotional Immaturity?

According to the Australian Institute of Family Counselling (AIFC), “Those who are emotionally immature are unable to handle their unpleasant emotions, act and react to those feelings, and can’t make sense of situations or defend themselves in an appropriate way.” (1)

The American Psychological Association defines emotional immaturity as “a tendency to express emotions without restraint or disproportionately to the situation.” (2)

The AIFC further elaborates why some people are emotionally immature. Like most psychological disorders, the cause of emotional immaturity is rooted in the person’s childhood. Discouragement to express sadness or anger, lack of guidance to deal with conflicts, stresses of growing up, and inability to seek help and support are a few reasons for ignorance, defensiveness, and impulsivity (1).

Emotional immaturity is a complex behavioral and psychological issue faced by many. However, knowing the telltale signs can be an advantage while dealing with an emotionally immature person.

10 Signs Of An Emotionally Immature Person

  1. They Avoid Tough Situations An emotionally immature person tends to avoid a challenging situation. They are not emotionally capable of thinking critically, laying out their points, or possessing the open-mindedness to listen to what others have to say. They either do not acknowledge the situation or remove themselves from the discussion. The issues remain unresolved and lead to a rift in the relationship.
  1. They Do Not Empathize – An emotionally immature person does not empathize with others’ emotions and feelings. It is about fulfilling their needs, and they seldom apologize for hurting people with their actions or words.
  1. They Demand Attention – It is humane to seek attention from people that matter the most. However, when it comes to emotionally immature people, they demand attention from everyone. When their demands are not attended to, they act negatively.
  1. They Are Narcissists – According to the American Psychological Association, narcissistic personality disorder “causes people to have a delusional sense of self-worth and lack of empathy.” (3)

An emotionally immature person thinks that they are the most important person, which prevents them from understanding that both parties have equal importance in a relationship.

  1. They Bully And Spread Rumors – What will an immature person do if they do not get what they want? Exactly opposite of respecting someone’s decision and taking a step back. They resort to bullying – make snide comments and spread rumors to avenge their hurt ego. This toxic behavior can ruin a beautiful friendship or relationship.
  1. They Get Defensive – An emotionally immature person not only does not own up to their mistakes but also becomes highly defensive when confronted. They make up unreasonable arguments for their actions and even blame the person who is confronting them. They are often incapable of articulating their feelings, which makes them defensive.
  1. They Act On Impulse – Impulsive behavior such as outbursts of anger, uttering hurtful things, or leaving abruptly whenever the situation gets uncomfortable is a classic trait of emotional immaturity. They do not know how to talk logically without getting emotional.
  1. They Have Commitment Phobia – Be it a romantic relationship or career, an emotionally immature person has difficulty committing to anything. They are always in doubt and fear of the unknown. They often disguise this under the pretense of living a happy life to avoid making an effort to build a strong relationship or future.
  1. They Do Not Talk About Their Feelings – Having deep conversations about their emotions makes an emotionally immature person uncomfortable. Expressing feelings and emotions is a sign of weakness for them. This prevents them from getting the help they need. It also makes them turn life stressful for people who deal with them regularly.
  1. They Do Not Like Compromising – Compromise is also a sign of weakness for an emotionally immature person. It has to be their way or the highway. They do not understand that relationships are a two-way street, and to make relationships work, people need to compromise more than once.

If you identify more than one trait that your husband, wife, parent, or colleague exhibits, you know what’s the source of your frustration and dissatisfaction. But there are ways to deal with an emotionally immature person. Scroll down to find out.

How To Deal With An Emotionally Immature Person

  • Draw Healthy Boundaries

Dealing with an emotionally immature person can eventually become toxic, whether your parent, spouse, friend or colleague. Therefore, it is best to draw healthy boundaries. Stop making excuses for them – defending them or giving in to a heated argument. Give them their due attention and politely take your leave while working, watching a show, or just enjoying your “me time”.

  • Show Your Support

The last thing you want to do while dealing with an emotionally immature person is withdrawing your support. It will only aggravate their emotional behavior. Listen to them when they act impulsively and lay out possible solutions. Show them your support by appreciating their true talents and lend a helping hand even if they don’t ask for it.

  • Have A Heart-To-Heart Conversation

If you are in a relationship with an emotionally immature boyfriend or girlfriend, it is important to sit down with them and have a heart-to-heart conversation. Tell them that you do not hold any grudges and are there to make peace. But you are also disturbed by their behavior, and it costs your happiness. Putting out the word there can have two outcomes – either they understand, or they don’t. At least, you will have a definitive answer to move forward.

Infographic: Ways To Improve Emotional Intelligence

An emotionally immature person can display behavior that is disrespectful towards others and makes the environment toxic. However, there are ways to improve your emotional intelligence if you are willing to put in the effort. This will improve not only your relationships with others but also your mental health.

Check out the infographic below for some tips to regulate your emotions and improve your emotional intelligence.

ways to improve emotional intelligence [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Growing up in an emotionally immature environment may result in infantilism in adults. People with infantilism may exhibit socially inappropriate behavior that could hurt them and others. Their trauma becomes their identity, and most of the time, there is no point in arguing with them. The only way forward is to recognize the signs of trauma and arrive at mutually respectful grounds. You could do your best to understand and help them, but there may be a need for medical intervention in certain cases. Finally, it is not your responsibility to fix anybody, do only as much as your mental bandwidth allows. It might be better to keep your distance until you notice some improvement in them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is emotional immaturity a mental illness?

No. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders doesn’t list emotional immaturity as a mental disorder. However, in some extreme cases, its characteristics may align with some symptoms of narcissistic, anti-social, borderline, and histrionic personality disorders.

How do emotionally immature men love?

An emotionally immature man may deflect deep conversations and blame. As a result, they cannot form an intimate connection as they are not in touch with their emotions.

Key Takeaways

  • Emotionally immature people are ignorant, lack empathy, exhibit impulsive behavior, and are short-tempered.
  • There are signs indicating a person is emotionally immature, like avoiding tough situations or craving too much attention.
  • While you may deeply care about this person, you may feel the need to set some boundaries. There are different ways you can deal with an emotionally immature person, such as being vocal about your feelings and more.

Sources

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As Head Of Content Operations, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic... more

Dr Nancy B Irwin

(PsyD)
Originally from Atlanta, Dr. Nancy Irwin graduated from UWG in 1977 with a Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance. She... more

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