How to Deal With Bullying When You Are Tall. Tall Comebacks

After my suggestions on how to deal with comments about your height in a reasonable manner, it is time to look at ideas on what to do when people do actually bully you because of your height. Yes, we should always try to stay calm, friendly and positive. What if this is not possible? Being subjected to ridicule can, really, bring out the worst in us.

Today, I am once again going to refer to the experience and suggestions of the tall people connecting through a Facebook group. Everyone’s comments will, as usual, remain anonymous.

A note for my shorter readers: the aim of this post is not to offend anyone. I secretly hope that it will prove one point: isn’t it better to be nice to each other and hold back any comments about someone’s appearance!

So, how desperate can we get when trying to shake off someone’s nasty comments and behaviour?

Starting from innocent, to not so pleasant ideas, here is what other tall people would do. A word of warning: I don’t really advise you to use most of these comebacks if you are tall. I suggest that you try to stick to the rules of being nice.

The most considerate piece of advice that I would highly recommend is this one:

  • The response depends on your personality. You need the right response to match the kind of person you are. If you are an extrovert and enjoy banter and one-upsmanship, then the jokey/smart comeback could work well. But, if you are more introverted, shy, gentle and tend to be hurt by comments about your height, then I reckon it’s best to adopt a more dignified, polite reaction because a smart arse comeback line could make the situation escalate. E.g. it could prompt the other person to try to “trump” you with something even smarter/ruder, or the other person will become more aggressive because their tiny ego will feel criticised.
  • Adopt a pleasant expression but ignore the comment and start another conversation with someone about something else.
  • Don’t answer please. Just ignore the question.
  • Turn and ignore for sure. God, how ignorant!
  • I usually ignore and give them an unpleasant expression. Ignoring is better, since they will not get the attention they want. I rarely got the jokes because everyone knew I did not care.
  • If I’d got paid for answering that question every time it was asked, I’d be approaching my first million.
  • On one trip to Costco I had six people stop me and ask me how tall I was in about half an hour’s time. I almost lost it by the time the sixth person asked me. I just responded with “How short are you?” and left it at that. They got the picture.
  • At my size, I respond with “Would you like to find out?” with a relaxed look. They never know if I am being serious or funny.
  • God, that joke is so old, my mum used to hear it!
  • It doesn’t matter if you have a thousand smart answers, they never come to you. A good one might be: “Can you say that again, little guy? It is hard to hear you down there!”
  • Ahhh, you know short people’s jokes huh?
Responses to the question “How is the weather up there?”
Photo from https://i.imgur.com/1vS9dZo.png
  • Lovely, thanks for asking.
  • That’s confidential information for tall people only.
  • I will let you all know when it starts raining or when the sun comes out.
  • Incredulous looks do wonders. Also, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Or just “Why don’t you check the weather channel?”
  • When you grow up, you will find out.
  • It’s perfect, too bad you wouldn’t know.
  • Bright and sunny! You all have the rain and fog! Maybe add “Is that why you’re so gloomy?”
  • We are nearer the sun up here, lil ones.
  • Did you ever see the rain from down there?
  • Cool with a slight chance of precipitation. Just then do a raspberry and spray your idiot friends. They will never ask again.
  • Come sit on my shoulders, we’ll work it out together.
  • Sorry I can’t hear you, did you say something?
  • How is the miniature golf?
  • Seriously? You think that is original? Why do you feel the need to ask such asinine questions? Do all tall people look like meteorologists?
  • I remember being asked once what the air was like up there by somebody smaller than me and I replied “Better because it is clearer and you get a better view”.
  • A lot brighter than the IQ down there.
  • Look around at eye level and say “Did someone say something? I could have sworn I just heard a high pitched whining sound”.
  • Laugh hysterically for a few minutes, then “Oh my god, that’s the first time anyone’s ever said that to me!” and start applauding: “Well done!”
  • I might be the first one to know when it’s raining, but I’ll be the last one to drown.
Warning – strong language. Stop if you are easily offended.

And this is when you know you have really pissed off a tall person:

  • F*ck off, shortie!
  • Air is fresh up here at least, as it usually starts to smell from down there.
  • Start spitting at them and say “It’s raining”. (Note: three tall males suggested this, so must be not such a rare idea…! But I’d say it seems far too desperate to me.)
  • Really heavy hail stones. Then hit them on top of the head.
  • It smells of dwarfs.
And some words of wisdom, after the strongly worded suggestions:
  • I am quite shocked by the dirty looks/spitting comments. I just used to smile and say “Fine, thank you”.
  • You can actually buy a funny t-shirt with good tall comebacks like the mini golf one. I used to have one that says “World’s tallest leprechaun”.
  • I found that humour works better than tears and anger.
  • I hear this stuff all the time and it’s really a sad representation of our beautiful tall selves that we can’t handle this routine comment. I got told it a thousand times when I was young: “You’re so tall, do you play basketball?” It wasn’t until I was 28 and was smitten with a girl that played really well that she encouraged me to give it a try. Turned out that I was born to play and was too stubborn to try because of these comments. I reached a high level of league within only a couple of years, but sadly I was considered too old at 30 to be given a chance with a professional team. How immature and stubborn I was.These people aren’t making fun of us, they are really saying that we have a god given gift that very few people have and they want to hear back that you are using that gift. When I discovered I was great at it, my confidence and self esteem grew very quickly and became proud to stand tall and say with authority when asked that same question: “Yes, I do play basketball and i am very good at it, and I love how it makes me feel”. I am now 50 and still play as much as I can. It keeps me fit and healthy.
Please don’t confuse what people are saying as negative… I see people just being interested… not teasing. Give yourselves a break from self inflicted negativity and Carpe Diem.

16 comments

  1. Thoughtless comments on any aspect of a person’s appearance are a tricky thing to deal with both politely and decisively. It surprises me to think that a tall person might perceive such comments as bullying, though, because the size differential between bully and target usually favours the bully.

    The best way I’ve seen of shutting down an unwanted line of conversation is the way Tracy Lord does it in “The Philadelphia Story” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imd6n2ABID0. “Oh, we’re going to talk about me, are we? Goody!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are making a good point, Wendy, and yes, surprisingly, bullying does happen with tall people. Not all of us are scary and strong, and especially girls can be quite sensitive and fragile when they are teenagers. I had this complex for many years, but have managed to overcome it sometime when I was in my late thirties.

      Like

  2. I try to keep it positive and sometimes beat them to a line. I give them a complement on their hair or what they’re wearing, which completely defuses them.

    but…

    If it is a guy of average height, I’ll tell them 6′ (I’m 6’3), which makes them uncomfortable.

    When they ask what I ate as a kid, I tell them dog food. True story. When I was a toddler, I’d compete with the family dog for his dinner:-)

    If they seem really disagreeable I’ll tell them “I used to say things like that when I was your height”

    I have business cards with a half dozen of the common questions answered.

    ____

    You should check out fellow tall girl Uche Nnoka’s book on bullying. “Don’t Let the Bullies Ruin Your Life” It would be particularly good for a tall teenage girl. She’s from London too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will definitely check that book out, thank you! You definitely know what I am talking about from your own experience. It is frustrating, but yes, we all find our own ways of dealing with this. Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to make this interesting comment!

      Like

      • One more… a really tall friend is normally very polite, but has a line when someone is very rude and she’s at wit’s tend.

        “You’re excused. I was working on manners when I was your height too…”

        Very tempting, but I’ve never gone that far. She has:)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic blog post. Obviously we will try to stick to the nice responses from your previous post, but some of these feisty ones might come in handy one day.

    Have you ever used any of these before?

    Like

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