The common-sense, how-to act around short people is:
Treat short people the same as average and above-average height people.
But apparently this sense is not common enough.
As a fully grown woman who doesn’t quite break the 5-foot mark, I regularly get patted on the head like a puppy, people “zoom” their hands at my head to indicate how short I am and a goodbye hug at family Christmas resulted in me having to tell the relative to put me down. I’ve been used as an arm rest and been told that I should leave the tall guys for the tall girls.
It’s clear that people lose their manners and their minds around those of us who are not “normal” height. So, here are a few pointers on how not to be a jerk about someone’s naturally short stature:
- Don’t pat them on the head or use them as arm rests
- Don’t ask dumb questions (i.e. How’s the weather down there? Do you qualify as a midget?)
- Don’t ask them height-related question (i.e. How short are you?!? Why don’t you wear high heels?)
- Don’t attempt to pick them up
- Give them the same personal space you want given to you (possibly more if you find that people tend to take a step away from you)
- Be cognizant of your elbows, purses, etc as they are head height for short adults and some kids
- Don’t state the obvious, “You’re really short!” (as if I have been going through life unaware of my height)
- Don’t assume that height should guide life choices (I didn’t marry Brad so he can reach high things for me or to take him away from the tall women of the world)
My height doesn’t define me as a person and it shouldn’t hold me back, but it’s become obvious to me over the years that many only see me through the “short girl” lens. Everyone should be treated with respect and consideration regardless of their physical attributes.
Have you ever been picked on for your height?
What recommendations would you add to my list?