Home  >  My Life  >  A Better Life

How to Be an Adult: 27 Mature Ways to Grow Up and Behave Like One

You may be a teenager or well into adulthood. But nonetheless, you are still wondering how to be an adult. Here are all the tips you need to be successful.

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. And now you want to know how to be an adult.

Oh, 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.

Why learning how to be an adult is important

We all chronologically age – that’s inevitable. So, almost all of us will reach the age of adulthood. But that doesn’t mean that all of us are good at being mature like we should be.

There are too many people who are well into their adult years who are not behaving as they should. And the end result for them is an unhappy life. No one wants to be unhappy, but a lot of them are, because they don’t have the skills to make their adulthood successful.

So, you need to be mindful of yourself and how you live your life. And when you are, you will be happier and healthier. If your parents didn’t teach you how to be an adult, we’re here to help you out through your journey through the rest of your life. [Read: 20 signs of emotional maturity and traits that reveal a mature mind]

How to be an adult and behave like one

No one took a class called “How to Be an Adult 101,” although probably 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 we mean HUGE!

Granted, most adults do blame other people. But it’s not a mature thing to do. Emotionally mature people do not point 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 your best in your relationships, your job, and well, in pretty much every area of your life. [Read: How to be mature and 25 ways to grow up and face life]

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… sounds easy, right? So why is it so difficult for a lot of people?

If you want to know how to be an adult, you need to treat everyone – from the CEO to the janitor – with respect. [Read: 25 truthful signs a friend doesn’t respect you or care enough about you]

6. Control your anger

Mature adults know 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, 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

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 get into a car after drinking? 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, we 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 and 32 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 we 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 they better 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.

16. Have empathy

If everyone was capable of having and expressing empathy, then we would probably have world peace. Sure, that sounds like an extreme statement, but think about it.

If everyone could “feel other people’s pain,” then no one would hurt other people. Real adults can see things from other people’s perspectives, not just their own. They are kind because they have empathy for everyone. [Read: How to show empathy and learn to understand someone else’s feelings]

17. Don’t be selfish

If you don’t have empathy, then you will be a selfish person because you refuse to see what other people want. Instead, you only focus on your own needs and desires at the expense of other people. But mature adults don’t do this.

They realize they need to balance their own needs with others’ needs. It has to be give-and-take in relationships. [Read: Are you selfish in a relationship? 19 signs you’re being a user]

18. Change your negative behavior patterns

We all have negative life patterns that we have developed in our lives. Whether it’s how you deal with conflict, your eating habits, your laziness, or your selfishness, it’s time to change that.

If you want to be the best adult you can be, then look at all the negative patterns you have in your life that have caused you problems. Then change them for the better.

19. Face your fears

Fear is inevitable in life, but we can still be brave and face them. Maybe you fear being vulnerable in a relationship. Well, confront that and start opening up to people. Or maybe you are afraid of rejection. Then be brave and stop running from it.

Stand up to your fears and face them head-on so you can overcome them. You will be happier when you do.

20. Raise your self-esteem

When you go through life with low self-esteem, you will never be happy. But if you want to know how to be an adult – one who has a joyful life – then work on your self-esteem.

If you can afford it, go to a therapist and have them help you. The quality of your life is directly tied to how you feel about yourself. So this is one of the most important things you can change is your self-esteem and self-worth. [Read: How to build self-esteem and love life with simple life changes]

21. Stop caring about what other people think

Okay, this does not mean that you should just speak your mind with no filter or behave in a way that hurts other people. What it does mean is that you should live your life authentically.

Be your true self. Stay loyal to your own principles and values. And if other people don’t like it, then stop caring what they think. Be your own self – unapologetically.

22. Get to know yourself 

In order to be a successful adult, you will have to do some self-reflection. Get to know yourself inside and out.

Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t have a clue who they really are. They avoid looking in the metaphorical mirror. But in order to be happy, you need to know yourself. [Read: How to get to know yourself and reveal your life’s true passion]

23. Attitude is everything

Another way you should be in adulthood is to have a positive attitude about life. If you are a pessimist, then everything will make you unhappy. Attitude determines how happy you are.

So, instead of looking at failures or other bad things that happen, look at them as learning opportunities. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy and dramatic life shift]

24. Let go of resentment

The sad fact of life is that people will hurt us. Whether it’s intentionally or accidentally, it still happens. And as a result, a lot of people hold on to the resentment after they have been hurt. But this is only hurting yourself. So, let go of the resentment so you can be happier and lighter. Forgive them for yourself, not them.

25. Examine your expectations

We all want other people to behave the way we want them to. But that’s not realistic. So, a mature adult examines their expectations of other people. Some are reasonable, but others aren’t. So, if you have expectations that are too high for other people, then you might want to re-think them.

26. Be a person of your word

A mature person is true to their word. If they say something, they follow through with it. For example, if they said they would help a friend move, but the day comes and they really don’t want to, they do it anyway.

Why? Because they said they would. They don’t let people down. They stick to their word and people can count on them. [Read: 5 unique traits that make a person trustworthy]

27. Don’t be a people-pleaser

We all want people to like and love us. That’s just normal. And it’s great to do nice things for other people. However, when you get to the point that you do things only so that people will like you, then you are a people-pleaser.

A mature adult also cares about their own needs. They aren’t a doormat and don’t allow people to take advantage of them. [Read: 21 signs you’re a people pleaser and all the firm ways to stop losing yourself to please someone else]

Being an adult isn’t easy, but it makes life easier

Being an adult is challenging for a lot of people. In fact, many look back at their childhood and wonder why they didn’t appreciate it because, for most of us, it was a lot more carefree.

However, if you incorporate all of these tips into your life, you will become a much more mature and happy adult. 

[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. Because obviously, you can’t turn back the hands of time, so you might as well embrace living like a mature person sooner than later, right?

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

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...