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How to Identify and Develop Emotional Maturity in Yourself AND Others.

Through the months of September and October, the staff at The Vine are engaging in a book study. The book is a fascinating look into 4 types of emotionally immature parents and their characteristics. In addition to learning about how these types impacted our ability to cope and relate to our families of origin, it discusses the characteristics of emotional maturity and how to identify these characteristics in others in order to grow in our own emotional maturity and to develop healthier relationships.

The Emotionally Mature Partner

How do we determine whether or not the individuals in our lives exhibit emotional maturity?

Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD, Author of “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents,” offers her readers a phenomenal rubric for evaluating traits of emotional maturity – both in ourselves and in others.


Realistic & Reliable

  • Individual works with reality rather than fighting it.

  • Individual can feel & think at the same time.

  • Individuals’ consistency makes them reliable.

  • Individual does not take everything personally.

Respectful & Reciprocal

  • Individual respects your boundaries.

  • Individual has the ability to give back.

  • Individual is flexible & can compromise well.

  • Individual is even-tempered.

  • Individual is truthful

  • Individual is able to apologize & make amends.


  • Individual’s empathy makes you feel safe.

  • Individual makes you feel seen & understood.

  • Individual likes to both comfort and be comforted.

  • Individual reflects on their actions & tries to change.

  • Individual can laugh & be playful.

  • Individual is enjoyable to be around.

Exploring Personal Emotional Maturity

After evaluating the emotional maturity of a potential partner, it is equally as important to reflect on your ability to engage in an emotionally mature connection. Before beginning another romantic relationship, consider asking yourself:

Willing to Ask for Help

  • Am I willing to ask for help when I need it?

  • Will I remind myself that, if I need something, most people are glad to help if they can?

  • Can I use clear, intimate communication to ask for what I want while explaining my reasoning & feelings about my request?

  • Will I trust that most people will listen if I ask them to?

Being Myself, Whether People Accept Me Or Not

  • If I state my thoughts clearly & politely, without malice, am I ok with accepting my lack of control over how someone will take it?

  • Am I able to create intrapersonal boundaries to ensure that I won’t give more energy than I really have?

  • Am I able to give others a true indication of how I feel?

  • Would I volunteer for something if I think I would resent it later?

  • If someone says something I find offensive, can I effectively offer an alternative viewpoint without trying to change the person’s mind?

Sustaining & Appreciating Emotional Connections

  • Am I able to make a point of keeping in touch with special people I care about by returning their calls & texts?

  • Do I think of myself as a strong person who deserves to give & receive support from a community of friends?

  • Am I able to be appreciative of what others say to me, even if they aren’t saying the “right” thing?

  • When I’m irritated, do I have the capacity to wait until I “cool off” before asking if someone else is willing to listen to my feelings?

Having Reasonable Expectations for Myself

  • Can I keep in mind that being perfect isn’t always necessary?

  • Am I able to actually get things done instead of obsessing over getting things done perfectly?

  • If I’m tired, will I take time to rest or do something different? Do I trust my ability to gauge my physical energy levels before deciding to accomplish something else?

  • Will I remember that everyone is responsible for expressing their own feelings & needs clearly?


Emotional Maturity Infographic
Download PDF • 459KB

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