How to Deal With Immature Adult Friends

Some friends take a little longer to grow-up.
... MM Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images

As you go through life learning and experiencing new things, you gradually mature. This is a part of growth. You begin to change your perception of yourself and others. When this happens you may notice the immaturity of an adult friend. It's up to you to decide how to deal with him or her.

1 Handling Public Situations

Always handle embarrassing public situations with tact and grace. If your friend is being rude or obnoxious and you are with them, speak up and tell your friend they are acting as such. For example, you might say, "You're being loud and causing a scene; you need to tone it down or I'm going to leave." Be clear about what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. Tell your friend that it is unacceptable for him to scream obscenities in public.

2 Communicate Your Concerns

When you present the issues you have with your immature friend in a manner that shows concern instead of pointing blame, you are likely to get a desirable outcome. Talk to your friend about her conduct and ask if something is prompting this irrational behavior. If so, be supportive and suggest she talk with a professional to work through any issues. People sometimes act out when they have issues because they don't have the capacity to express what is going on at the time.

3 No Answer Is An Answer

Another way to handle an embarrassing situation involving your immature friend is to ignore him -- especially if he is calling attention to you directly. This sends your friend a clear message -- you won't acknowledge him while he is acting in a juvenile manner. When someone is being insulting and you insult them back, you are encouraging bad behavior, writes Elisha Goldstein, a clinical psychologist, in a Psych Central blog post. Your friend assumes his behavior is acceptable because you are engaging in the same act. It is best not to respond unless you can do so in a diplomatic way.

4 Sever Your Ties

If you've already had several discussions with your friend about his or her behavior and you haven't seen changes, it is time to sever ties. You shouldn't waste your energy or efforts on toxic, negative people, says psychotherapist Michael J. Formica in his Psychology Today article, "Do Your Friendships Feed You or Bleed You?" It's necessary to separate ourselves from friendships that no longer serve us in order to continue growing.

Kimberly Liby has been a content writer and editor since 2006, with articles in "944" magazine. She has written on a range of topics including cooking, health, current events, philosophy, psychology, career, education, writing and editing. Liby holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a writing minor from Arizona State University, and a Master of Science in psychology from the University of Phoenix.