Official signs that you're truly a grown-up

Monday 29th March 2021

Looking forward to a trip to the DIY store and being able to put up a fence - all signs that you’re officially a grown-up according to a new study 

A nationwide poll found that 23 per cent of Brits thought looking forward to a trip to the DIY store was a sign of being a grown-up and 26 per cent thought being able to put up a fence meant you were now an adult.

The poll, commissioned by building materials supplier Southern Sheeting, revealed the number one sign of reaching adulthood was remembering to pay your bills on time (48 per cent), followed by staying calm in an emergency (38 per cent) and remembering which days the rubbish bins and recycling need to go out (36 per cent).

The study found 29 per cent of Brits said that not being fazed by DIY was a crucial part of the growing process - although 26 per cent had asked a partner or housemate to deal with a tradesman, simply because they didn’t feel confident enough to do it themselves.

Tony Hobbs, Managing Director at building materials supplier Southern Sheeting, said: “This research shows there’s definitely a need for professionals to help with jobs around the home and garden, but also that there’s a lot of enthusiasm out there for DIY. 

“We can’t help the nation’s big kids complete all the tasks on this list, but there’s definitely no need to panic about DIY. There are so many videos on YouTube which will teach you these life skills, from putting up a garden fence to laying a new decking area in the garden. It’s amazing what happens when you try! Help is always available if you need it from professionals as well. 

“Ordering the right materials for any job is easy when you have the right advice to begin with and make sure you do lots of research. This past year we have been blown away by the enthusiasm we have seen from our customers who have completed some truly ambitious projects, from building an outdoor Shoreditch-style bar and Jacuzzi in the back garden, to constructing their own Shepherds Hut for a family holiday home. It’s left the team at Southern Sheeting feeling inspired.” 

Another indication of making it through to adulthood, according to the research of 1,500 Brits, is being able to take control of those pesky jobs around the house - from not having a meltdown while discussing problems with the electrician or plumber (28 per cent), knowing how to change a lightbulb (23 per cent) and being able to bleed a radiator (23 per cent).

Prioritising bedtime is also a clear sign you’re all grown-up, as almost a third of UK adults admit there’s nothing better than being able to appreciate an early night (32 per cent).

Other signs include resisting the urge to stay in bed all day with a hangover (26 per cent), becoming green fingered (26 per cent) and having the culinary skills to cook up a fancy Sunday lunch (29 per cent).

The research also reveals that the age we officially become an adult isn’t on our 21st birthday after all - but is in fact the age of 32.

Yet almost a third of Brits think we are a nation of “kidults”, with 16 per cent admitting they constantly still feel like a little kid during their day to day life.

In fact 37 per cent say being a grown-up is totally overrated.

So, it’s no surprise that we love to indulge our inner child, with 57 per cent of UK adults enjoying playing games on their phone, 48 per cent downing a large pack of sweets in one go and 42 per cent even still licking cake batter from the spoon.

We also can’t resist watching cartoons (41 per cent), colouring in (31 per cent) and even playing with our kids’ toys when they’re not there (14 per cent).


1. Paying all your bills on time 48%
2. Staying calm in an emergency 38%
3. Knowing the days the bins and recycling go out 36%
4. Knowing when your car is due its MOT 33%
5. Appreciating the benefits of an early night 32%
6. Never forgetting to pay your credit card bill 31%
7. Being able to cook a full Sunday lunch 29%
8. Topping up your pension every month 28%
9. Being able to talk to a plumber/electrician without panicking 28%
10. Organising regular visits to the dentist and hygienist 27%
11. Never staying in bed all day with a hangover 26%
12. Knowing how to change a fuse 26%
13. Getting into gardening 26%
14. Searching for new utility providers every year rather than letting contracts roll 25%
15. Disapproving of reality TV 24%
16. Having friends and family’s birthdays written down 24%
17. Freezing leftovers and then not forgetting about them 23%
18. Being able to bleed a radiator 23%
19. Never going to bed with washing up in the sink 23%
20. Never having your credit card declined 23%
21. Having an ISA 23%
22. Being able to change a lightbulb 23%
23. Listening to Radio 2 or Radio 4 23%
24. Looking forward to going to the DIY store 23%
25. Seeing a trip to the garden centre as a great day out 23%
26. Having a filing cabinet for your paperwork 22%
27. Never running out of loo roll 22%
28. Enjoying “one glass” of wine with dinner 22%
29. Being able to keep houseplants alive 22%
30. Being able to change a tyre 20%
31. Being able to put up a shelf 19%
32. Always parking at a parking meter 19%
33. Having a weekly meal planner 19%
34. Never breaking the speed limit 18%
35. Answering your mobile even if you don’t recognise the number 16%
36. Genuinely enjoying going to the tip 16%
37. Being able to put up a fence 16%
38. Settling down to do the crossword 16%
39. Opening an umbrella 15%
40. Taking a Sunday drive 14%
41. Listening to your answerphone messages 13%
42. Never drinking caffeine after 5pm 13%
43. Watching movies with subtitles 12%
44. Leaving answerphone messages 12%
45. Wearing gloves when washing up 10%