It seems that in today’s world, we encounter more and more adults who act immature. They have the ability to push your buttons and to make you question your own maturity when you react to their behavior. It can be especially difficult to deal with these individuals if you have never had to deal with immaturity beyond the classroom. If you are currently in a relationship or a friendship with an immature adult, take a look at the tips below to gain some insight on how to deal with them.
1. Communicate Your Feelings
If you have not yet spoken with the immature person about how you feel and what boundaries you need them to respect, this should be your first course of action. Even though it is not guaranteed that the immature person will respect your feelings or your boundaries, it is necessary to try in order to determine if this is a relationship that you would like to pursue or if this is one that you need to end immediately. Let them know how their behavior affects you, what you like and dislike about their behavior, and what rules you would like them to respect.
2. Don’t React
The person who is acting immaturely is most likely doing so in order to get your attention or to get a response from you. However, you shouldn’t react to their behavior. Instead, politely let them know that their behavior isn’t acceptable or walk away from them and ignore them. Reacting negatively to their behavior can create problems for you and can end up turning you into an immature adult as well. Once they see that their behavior won't prompt a similar response from you, they should quit trying to annoy you altogether.
3. Ignore Them
If the person refuses to act properly and continually causes problems for you, ignore them. They can’t act childishly in your presence if they aren’t allowed in it. People that you may need to see more frequently, however, are difficult to ignore. If a co-worker or a family member is the one who is immature, try to stay away from them as much as possible and keep the encounters that you do have brief. If you need to be around them for extended periods of time, find another person to keep you occupied so that you can prevent them from talking to you. They will eventually get the message that their behavior is no longer welcome in your life.
4. Seek Help
If the adult in question has become increasingly intrusive and violent, consider involving law enforcement. Childish behavior that has evolved into assault, stalking, and other dangerous behaviors cannot be tolerated or ignored. You may feel slightly bad at first for involving the law but it is better than someone else causing you harm or putting you in a dangerous situation. Once your well-being has become threatened, you must take serious action to protect yourself.
5. Learn From Your Experiences and Apply Them
Dealing with an immature adult isn’t an experience without benefits. It will give you the opportunity to learn certain behaviors and to identify them in other relationships. Once you have figured out how to deal with the first immature adult in your life, you will then be able to see if others around you behave the same way. If you find another person in your life that behaves in a similar fashion, practice the methods that you had used to deal with the last person.
Most importantly, make sure that you have successfully identified a person's behavior before labeling them as immature and removing them from your life. Some people may simply be going through a difficult time and lashing out or they may just be having difficulty expressing their emotions. Although this is immature, a courtesy talk may be all an individual needs in order to change their behavior and you may never have to practice any methods beyond the first one. If you have talked to them and they still choose to act immaturely or if their behavior extends far beyond rational explanation, utilize all the tips mentioned above to assist you with dealing with them.