“You’re so mature for your age.”
I remember being told this so many times when I was a teenager. I took it as a compliment from older coworkers who meant that I fit in with the adults, but from my peers, this sentence stung. I knew coming from them it meant, “Lighten up, have some fun.”
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
While we all aim to be mature, we don’t all fully understand what that means. To a teenager frustrated with the rules and regulations of living with their parents, maturity might mean going to parties, using curse words and beginning to experiment with alcohol. To others, it might mean landing a job with a steady income, so they can fully support themselves and invest in a home. But the thing about maturity is that it does not magically appear with age or children or financial stability.
Recently, Reddit user CrispP_bacon started a conversation asking people to share things that are often perceived as false signs of maturity, and many readers shared their opinions in the replies. We’ve gathered some of the most honest and thought-provoking responses down below, so you can read them and decide if your idea of “maturity” has shifted. Be sure to upvote the replies you agree with, and feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments below. Keep reading to also find interviews we were lucky enough to receive from Vanessa Frazer, LCSW, of Modern Therapy, and Hanan Parvez, the man behind PsychMechanics, to hear his thoughts on the topic. Then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article examining what it’s really like to be an adult, check out this story next.
Having a spouse and kids.
Image credits: johansugarev
To learn more about the idea of maturity, we reached out to Modern Therapist’s clinician Vanessa Frazer, LCSW. Modern Therapy is a group mental health practice that offers online talk therapy, coaching, mental health courses, and business services, and Vanessa works there exclusively as a talk therapist. When asked what maturity means to her, she told Bored Panda, “Maturity means being physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually developed. This occurs over the course of one’s lifetime and requires a high level of self-awareness,” Vanessa explained. “Mental, emotional and spiritual maturity is an ongoing process that requires an open mind & a willingness to learn. It involves engaging in a state of deep reflection to understand who you are. We need to continually grow and evolve in all areas of our life in order to gain true maturity.”
We also asked Vanessa about things that are often falsely perceived as maturity. “Society often dictates what maturity means, in the sense of accomplishing adult goals,” she said. “Therefore, people often falsely equate completing high school or college, becoming established in a career, getting married, having children and becoming financially stable as signs of maturity. Although these are accomplishments to be celebrated, they do not equal maturity.”
Not acting childish. Sounds so strange but the most mature people usually have no problem tapping into their childish or silly sides. Immature people overdo it trying to be „cool“.
Image credits: well_actuallE
When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.’ – C S Lewis
“True adults are secure in their love for whatever they love – be it action figures , fairy tales , video games .Those who ridicule these people for their interests are actually the childish ones
Image credits: chriscrossnathaniel
“I always believed that once we hit a certain age, life falls into place & maturity soon follows. What I’ve realized is that age has nothing to do with maturity,” Vanessa shared. “Your own self-awareness, confidence, sound decision making skills, judgment and ability to examine your own inner self is what leads to maturity and growth.”
“People tend to assume that achieving a level of success or behaving in a certain manner is a sign of maturity. This is not necessarily true,” Vanessa went on to say. “Achieving success is an accomplishment, but does not indicate that someone is mentally or emotionally mature. It’s possible that a CEO of a very successful company is immature in nature, but has figured out a way to climb the proverbial ladder to obtain success.”
“This can be confusing because the CEO is financially successful, however emotionally, mentally & spiritually they may be lacking,” Vanessa noted. “It’s important to remember that career success does not equate to maturity. Real maturity is defined by your relationship with yourself & others, your capacity and willingness to grow and ability to examine yourself to make positive personal changes.”
Image credits: sh*ttyshooter69
I need folk to understand working 60+ hours, and being proud isn’t the flex they think it is…
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
Image credits: The_Reborn_Forge
Putting others down. Acting like you’re above it all.
Image credits: the-bejeezus
We also asked Vanessa how people can become more mature without feeling pressured to do the things society perceives as mature. “In order to become more mature, the best thing that anyone can do is learn who they are as a human,” Vanessa told Bored Panda. “Find your identity and embrace it! Learn to love yourself so you can share your love with others. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and then use your strengths to your advantage. Learn to be independent but also acknowledge that at certain times in life, you will need help. Become your biggest advocate and act assertively to ensure that your needs are met.”
“Don’t give in to peer pressure, and be aware that social media is a fake reality that you should not compare yourself to. Engage in healthy relationships with boundaries and effective communication skills. Be open to constructive feedback and view it as an opportunity to grow. Learn to understand your emotional triggers so you can process and express feelings in a healthy manner. It’s important to take accountability for yourself, acknowledge mistakes and learn from them. Most of all, live authentically and be true to yourself and maturity will follow.”
If you would like to gain more wisdom from Vanessa or any of the team at Modern Therapy, be sure to visit their website right here.
As someone who was tormented by parents and bullied at school.
People think that i ‘built character ‘ and got matured due to my sufferings..
All that happened that i lost my childhood and i gained nothing other than PTSD, anxiety, lack of recognising character, being friendless..
No ,you can’t become mature just because you had a tough childhood
Moving out of your parents house. Some kids I know moved out so they could just binge drink and smoke weed non-stop without their parents knowing. Other people I know stayed with their parents (seen as a sign of immaturity) because help was needed at home. Moving out doesn’t always mean maturity. Sometimes understanding the advantages it may give you long term financially are worth it.
Image credits: Anonymous_Rabbit1
“Ridiculing others’ interests is the real childishness.”
“Love what you love, life’s too short for this sh*t.”
Image credits: kerenski667
We also reached out to author and blogger Hanan Parvez to hear his thoughts on this topic. Hanan has a MA in Psychology, and explores a wide range of topics on his site PsychMechanics. When asked what maturity means to him, he shared, “Maturity is behaving in an age-appropriate manner. Maturity comes down to being socially smart in the society you find yourself in. That consists of conforming to social norms to some degree,” he explained. “When you behave in ways your society considers mature, you are mature.” He also noted that most societies consider responsibility and wisdom to be mature.
When asked about things that are often mistaken for maturity, Hanan told Bored Panda that there’s not a lot of gray are on the topic. “I don’t believe you can falsely see anything as maturity. You’re either socially smart, or you’re not. Some behaviors are universally seen as mature, and other behaviors are widely seen as immature.”
Being too old for something you consider “juvenile”. Games, cartoons, toys, whatever. Nothing screams immature to me like ignoring something you love or putting someone else down for what they love because you think it’s for kids.
Image credits: Asmor
Having a career requiring very specialised expertise.
I know doctors and lawyers who are incredibly emotionally immature.
Their kids are usually good evidence of this “hidden” secret.
Image credits: hshsgdve
My dad in a nutshell. ‘Stop being happy with your steady job that pays enough so you can afford whatever you want and leaves you with tons of free time, life and work need to be a grind and a fight or you’re not doing it right!.’ I guess that’s my gift to him, so he can have something to be angry about, the only thing that makes him happy.
Image credits: ssatyd
Hanan does not necessarily agree with all of the responses on this list. “There are good reasons why society equates certain behaviors (getting a job, getting married, having kids, etc.) to maturity,” Hanan explained. “Careers, relationships, and having kids come with a lot of responsibility. These things can potentially turn anyone into a significantly better human being. That’s ultimately what society wants: You becoming better so you can make others better. You becoming a valuable member of society. I’d go as far as to say that wanting to act maturely is what drives human progress,” Hanan added.
“Developmental and evolutionary theories in psychology tell us that there are different needs that we ought to be meeting at different life stages,” he told Bored Panda. “If you’re in your 20s and 30s and ought to be fulfilling the need for intimacy but are doing what children do, your psyche is bound to be distressed.”
Not partying. You can still be an adult and have fun.
Image credits: RevolutionaryYouth51
Having toxic positive outlook towards life.
saying things like “there’s always somebody with a worse problem thans yours”
YES i know that but that doesn’t make my sadness any less painful.
I hate it when people try to compare the depth of issues. If X is drowning in a lake and Y is drowning in an ocean, they’re both still drowning!! stop comparing problems!
Image credits: Bale449
I have seen many examples of people mistaking arrogance with confidence. Confidence, of course being a sign of maturity. I have been there myself when I was younger. Incredibly arrogant and I thought I was being confident. But confidence is someone who is secure in themselves and who don’t feel the need to prove themselves to others all the time. Arrogance is the opposite of that.
Image credits: CaptainTryk
We then asked Hanan how people can manage actually becoming more mature without feeling pressured to do the things that society perceives as mature. “It’s hard,” he says. “If you’re not going to take much responsibility in life, why be mature? Why bother? Why improve yourself? You can only improve yourself for yourself so much.”
“When you improve yourself for others, your self-improvement can skyrocket. Hang out with people who’re wiser and more responsible than you. You’ll learn maturity by osmosis. Or simply take up more responsibility,” Hanan added.
“It’s interesting how aggressive people can get when deciding what’s mature and what’s not. Aggression is often a sign of underlying frustration,” he noted. “For instance, they’ll do a childish thing and call it mature while bashing others who do another childish thing. Thankfully, you don’t get to choose your brand of maturity. Society has already drafted the rules for that.”
If you’d like to hear more from Hanan, be sure to check out his blog PsychMechanics right here.
Girls getting their period. A lot of people think girls “become women” when they start their period. I was 10 when I started mine and still a literal child.
Image credits: yourremedy94
Conversely, telling someone they’re a stick in the mud because they aren’t comfortable acting a certain way. I’m a naturally reserved person. I like quiet music, peaceful settings, and spend a lot of time in quiet contemplation. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me.”
“Not feeling required to ‘be a certain way’ is probably the best all around for this
Image credits: chaotic—-neutral
I was dating a girl recently, and I showed her my PSP. I have it since 2007, original battery and everything, and I play PSX games from time to time. When I showed it to her she said ‘What are you, 12?'”
“I felt very small and childish. But maybe I shouldn’t have. Thank fully we are not dating anymore.”
Image credits: gin-o-cide
What do you consider mature? We hope you enjoy reading through this list and that you’ll keep an open mind as you make your way through it. You might realize that some of these actions are often done by very immature people and that you’re not required to check any of these things off your to-do list to be considered mature. Keep upvoting the responses that resonate with you, and then feel free to share your own thoughts on the topic in the comments. What makes a mature panda? I would love to know!
Boobs. Some girls start developing early and a frightening amount of men think it’s fine to hit on “young women” aka girls as young as 9 years old as soon as they show even the tiniest hint of breast development because “she’s grown now”.
No, boobs are not necessarily a sign of maturity, you are just being a creep towards minors.
Dating older men in high school and middle school.
In highschool (late 2010s) we used to think that these girls that bragged about having boyfriends in their early 20s-30s were so much more mature than us. I remember being jealous since we had to deal with idiot hs boys instead of older men that seemed like the ideal men for us.
In reality those girls were being manipulated and groomed into thinking that they wanted these relationships. It breaks my heart knowing that so many young women will have to heal from the damage done to them by men that they think love them when really they are just attracted to the control and power they have over these girls who don’t know better.
I recently looked up one of the girls and it turns out that she had got married to the same man that had groomed her all those years ago. They met when she was 14 and he was 26. It made me feel phsically ill.
Editited for clarity
Image credits: Dariisu
Protestant work ethic and its idea that you need to be constantly working, even in your free time, has always been a huge mystery to me, specifically why a lot of people are so stuck up with it
Image credits: h3X_T
My family thinks its a travesty that I don’t ever want children, my mom always thought I was just being young and angsty and would change my mind. Now that im in my 30s shes given up on that. I truly don’t understand how most people can even afford to have children anymore and provide them anything else except the bare a** minimum to sustain life. Everything is sooooo much more expensive than it was when I was a kid, and the wages are about the same. Money just doesn’t go as far as it used too, and its getting harder and harder to build up and acquire credit to actually own a house or anything like that.
The whole “men don’t cry” thing is pretty immature as a concept
It’s more responsible to choose not to take on a responsibility that you don’t want.
Image credits: Lifeboatb
My family thinks I am skirting responsibility by not having kids. I know a lot of people who had them thinking they were obligated to, and neglect them.”
“I remember telling somebody I know from college I don’t want them ever, and she said, ‘My boyfriend’s not afraid to take responsibility and have kids,’ as if I wasn’t a real man for not having them lol.”
“For some, it’s a sign of virility and maturity.
Image credits: lazarus870
Not apologizing to younger people…
Image credits: hitaishi_1
Too many teenagers think because they had a hard childhood that they’re somehow more mature than every other 18 year old. You aren’t. You’re traumatized and was forced to act like an adult for survival and was never given a chance to actually mature normally.
Silence. There is a good difference between listening to process and listening mindlessly.
Image credits: SayNO2AutoCorect
Giving up things you enjoy because they’re childish. Imo giving up or belittling adults for enjoying what they like IS childish!
Not snickering when someone says 69.
Image credits: pantericu5
Taking yourself too seriously.
Image credits: allroadsendindeath
Talking about sex, drinking.
I had a coworker who was two years older than me constantly call me a kid because, unlike her, I don’t talk about how much I need a good f*****g from my boyfriend while at work.
Bish, we are at the exact same point in our lives, these two years of difference between you and me would’ve mattered if we were in highschool, but we’re at work and I honestly don’t care to hear how unsatisfied you were with that f*****g while I’m peeling freaking watermelons.
Image credits: Pure_Block_5309
How much you travel.
Traveling a lot doesn’t magically make you a well-rounded person with plenty of seasoned perspective. Plenty of trust fund babies and people withdrawing from the First National Bank of Mom and Dad that stay in luxurious hotels and treat locals like zoo animals to be hand fed and photographed. You aren’t better than people who don’t have the time, money, or health to hop on a plane every few months and take pictures of landmarks for Instagram.
Buying a home or having children would be my top two. Neither require maturity just going through a process.
When the eldest child is made to be a third parent and is good at it, it does not mean they’re mature. They’re still children…children forced to raise their siblings.
Career position. Met a lot of people in high positions that were just children outside of work
Image credits: Substantial_Body_472
“afraid” is a terrible word for it that has been said to me as well.
“I’m not afraid of having kids, I would just prefer to do literally anything, including nothing at all than have kids.”
“I would rather sleep all day every day.”
Image credits: – mantits-
Being stiff and ”mature“. Basically putting yourself above others due to their position in comparison to yourself. That just shows insecurity if anything
Image credits: Ben_Yair
Girls, you’re in 6th grade. You’ve got your whole life to rock the black winged eyeliner. Now is not the time.
>”When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
― C.S. Lewis
Constant settling. Yes. It’s true that you can’t always get what you want, but so many people just accept sh*tty jobs, partners, homes, etc because “Grow up. Step into the real world. This is just how it is.” The expectation of constant instant gratification is immature, but it’s perfectly fine to pursue the things you want and have a firm, unchanging standard for what you will and won’t accept.
On the flip side, the concept of “going for the gold” is also false maturity. Maturity is realizing that it’s ok to just want the bronze. The understanding of settling for less vs. having your own standard for achievement is true maturity.
As a man, Holding your tears or asking for comfort & company when you feel burdened or sad.
It shouldn’t be like that, grownup or not when you need consolation and time-out you should get it.
working yourself to death for a company that couldn’t give less of a s**t about you. okay Tony, glad you put in 6 12s this week. I read my favorite book and ate delicious homecooked meals
Independence. It’s a low bar and just means you can survive if left alone.
Interdependence is key for societies to work. It means other people can rely on you and more importantly you know when you need to rely on other people.
Edit: People, “living independently” and “independence” in the growth stages of dependence → independence → interdependence are two different things. At the same time interdependence and codependence are different as well.
It’s just a defeated, uninspiring way to look at the world.
I get where it’s coming from, but it will get you nowhere in life.
Image credits: ChrisFromAustria
Saying you’re mature for your age is pretty f*****g immature.
Taking s**t to “keep the peace,” to seem “respectful,” or to be “the bigger person.”
Getting up early
The ability to drink alcohol is falsely seen as a sign of maturity.
Smoking or anything of the sort
Being above humour and putting others down for joking around.
When you are a true adult – you can also know how to be a child
Saying the “right” things. It doesn’t mean they’re speaking the truth, really believe in it, or practice what they preach.
Having a high position in a hierarchical company
a beard. mine started to be full with 14 but i was still a fkn kid tho.
Literally anything that causes people to say ‘you aged before your time’
Using “adult” language
Saying complex words
It’s more responsible to choose not to take on a responsibility that you don’t want.