First, a definition – an inability to grow up or engage in behavior usually associated with adulthood.

The term was coined in 1983 by psychologist Dan Kiley in his book The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up. 

Peter Pans are characterized by traits that include:

  • Fun-loving
  • Lives in the moment
  • Dabbles – unwilling to stay focused on becoming an expert at anything
  • Aversion to networking
  • Doesn’t plan for the future
  • Unreliable
  • Can’t hold a job
  • Selfish
  • Runs away from conflict
  • Won’t commit in romantic relationships

While some Peter Pans might have many traits on this list, many have just a few “features”. 

Is that you?

The way to know is by being honest with yourself.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I not want to grow up?”

If you answered yes, ask yourself why.

The list of traits doesn’t matter.  How do you feel about yourself?

I’m not a full-blown Peter Pan but I have some features.  When I ask myself why I don’t fully want to grow up, it’s because I don’t want to feel the heaviness and strain of responsibility at times.

It’s because I don’t want to feel something negative.

I frame responsibility as a bad thing – something that will weigh me down and be unpleasant.

How do you think about responsibility?

In a similarly negative way?

A different way I can look at it is – “taking on responsibility will make me stronger”. “Responsibility helps me live a fuller life”.

Right away I feel more energized about it.

What’s a new way you can think about it?

Women always warm up to Peter Pan types.  They’re fun and exciting. 

But women don’t stay with Peter Pans. 

They want something more.

They want someone they can build a future with, someone they can rely on.

If you have Peter Pan features, don’t shame yourself for being this way.  Just take a closer look.

What’s your motivation for being this way?

How would you rather live?

Take stock of who you are and why you live the way you do.

It could be an avoidance of responsibility that is contributing to your difficulties in meeting someone.

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