The most common disadvantages of being tall is finding clothes, having bad posture, not fitting into cars and airplanes, blocking others at concerts and movies, blending in, etc.
The disadvantages have been described around forums for years, and now I thought I’d gather them all in a list and explain each one—whether you are living it or just trying to relate.
If you’re tall like me (I’m 6’8″), you know that the struggle is real. #tallpeopleproblems is a thing, and there are a lot of disadvantages that come with extra height.
If you are short, you are probably very confused about this fact. Isn’t it amazing to be tall? You get the girls, you’re great at sport, and employers pay you more.
Well, maybe that’s right to an extend. But let’s run over the most common tall people problems, and you’ll understand why it’s not only great to be tall.
Below you’ll find the most frequently mentioned tall people problems or disadvantages of being tall. Each one is curated from blogs, forums, and lists where tall people have commented with their own experience.
The most serious disadvantage of being tall is the health-related risks that extra height brings along.
With a longer spine, tall people are more likely to experience back pain—especially in the lower back.
When a tall person lifts something from the floor, the range is larger and the angle of the spine narrower.
This means that the stress on the spine is bigger, and the risk of getting injured is, therefore, higher than average.
Another risk is blood clots, which results from taller people having a higher blood pressure in general.
A larger body with longer limbs is in itself reason enough for the higher risk of getting a blood clot. There’s simply more blood and blood vessels in a longer body.
The lifespan of a tall person is also said to be shorter than that of a person of average height.
So, even though we try to life tall lives, our life will probably be shorter in the end.
The world is too small
For people above average height, the average-sized world is simply too small. Sinks, bathtubs, mirrors, door handles, etc are just made for a certain demographic.
It makes good sense to design all things for the majority. But it means that most use of such things feels like a disadvantage from being tall.
I once had to sit on my knees in a bathroom at my hotel to reach the sink. It’s funny at first sight, but living through this always gets annoying over time.
Bathtubs and showers are usually too small and low. If you don’t know how to fix your bathtub with a shower extender, you are going to be sprayed in the face every day.
Another classic #tallpeopleproblem is the “headless mirror” picture. As a tall person, you rarely get to see your own face in the mirror, because it hangs too low.
You probably don’t notice it of you aren’t very tall, and tall people forget about these struggles too.
But they are there, everywhere, and all the time. Unless you find specific brands for tall people, e.g.
Inclination to bad posture
I was almost going to put this under health issues, but it’s more an appearance issue. Although bad posture can hurt your spine and cause headaches, etc.
Most of all, bad posture will hurt how you appear to others, and it will make you look and feel uncomfortable, awkward and lazy.
“Straighten your back, son”, was not an uncommon comment to get as a teenager.
But for tall people, it’s something that just happens, little by little, over time. Slouching is the natural solution for standing out in crowds, not being able to hear people and for not hitting your head.
More on those disadvantages in a second.
Find clothes that fit
One of the most obvious disadvantages of being tall is the lack of shoes and clothing that fits.
We can’t walk into a store, grab something from the racks and leave happily with it. No, nothing in there will fit, most likely.
An XL? Or maybe a XXL? Yes, you get a little extra torso length if you large, but what happens to the fit? Tent-sized shirts and clothes that hangs loose on your frame.
Tall people need dedicated clothing for tall people. This can be frustrating, becomes it’s almost always online (can’t try it on) and it’s often a niche production (higher prices).
Short sleeves, short inseams on jeans and pants and misshaped “Big & Tall” clothing is something all tall people have experience with.
Skinny and tall guys like myself have worn “normal” clothes up to a point in time when the t-shirts just couldn’t cut it anymore.
I’m in a fortunate position to run this blog, and that makes the tall brands send me free clothes to try and review on the blog
But still, even though I get it for free, I end up donating most of it away. Because it STILL doesn’t fit.
Or I don’t like the design. That’s a whole other issue for tall people—the limited range of design, because fit always comes first.
If it fits, we’ll probably get and keep it. It happens too rarely to just let go.
Fitness is harder and takes longer
For both tall guys and girls, fitness is healthy, but can become unhealthy if our long limbs are overloaded.
Do you know about the “lever principle”? It basically goes like this:
The longer the lever on one side of a point, the stronger the lift is on the other side of that point.
For us, it means that the longer our limbs are, the greater the pressure applied to our joints and ligaments is.
On top of that, the longer something is, the more likely it is to break (think bones).
So when you’re lifting heavy weights in the gym, just remember some basic principles for skinny guys.
One of those principles is to care for your joints. Accept that you can’t lift as heavy, because your range of motion is longer.
Thus, the angles become smaller and that stresses your joints much more than they can take. Eventually, you will start to feel the pain and months of recovery is reality.
Assumed good at sports
Speaking of basketball—one of the big disadvantages of being tall is the associations and beliefs people have about us.
“Tall people are good at basketball”. “Tall people are good at sports”. Not uncommon. Most often untrue.
Unless you’ve chosen to bet on basketball and you are playing on your school’s varsity team, you are probably not close to NBA-level on the court.
Why is that a disadvantage? Because you’ll feel bad when you get picked and aren’t able to deliver the points, they expected of you.
It’s plainly annoying to have to live up to someone’s ideals about you that are solely based on your physical attributes.
You want to be recognised for what you are actually good at. Not get chosen first because your parents were tall. Doesn’t make sense at all.
With that being said, you probably should give basketball a shot as you have a good physical starting point for getting good at it.
Girls see your height, not you
On the note of being chosen based on your height, not your personality or skills; girls love tall guys.
Isn’t that great? Yes, of course that’s a nice thing. But if you ask me whether it has always been great, I’d say no.
Sometimes you can get the feeling that someone at a party comes over to talk to the tall guy, not to you.
They like your height, and not necessarily much else about you. If they are tall themselves, it’s easy to look right through that move.
Tall girls like tall guys, because it’s close to impossible to find someone taller than themselves, if they are above 6′.
That’s not fun for any girl, but it also isn’t fun to get chosen for something you don’t have any control over.
It’s like choosing a woman because she’s black. Preference is fine and we all have that. But that woman would feel very weird if you told her, that’s why you came over.
It may be hard to get for non-tall men, but this is actually a disadvantages if you want to find “the only one”, and make sure she doesn’t pick you because you’re tall.
People hate you at concerts and movies
Another situation that can be seen as advantageous or disadvantageous; being tall at concerts and movies.
On one side, it’s great for yourself, because you can see everything. You have a clear visual of the lead signer, the whole screen, etc.
But what about the person behind you? They’ll think dark thoughts and wish you weren’t there at all.
I’ve even had people ask me to go down to the back of the crowd, because “you’re so tall!”.
Similarly, I’ve been asked to move chairs because the people behind me couldn’t see the whole screen.
This feels weird and awkward when it happens, and it’s hard to say no, because it’s easy to relate to a kid who wants to watch the concert too.
But think about this in the context of body shaming; would you ask an overweight person to switch seat because they were taking up some of your seat?
No. Never. But it seems perfectly fine to people to comment on your height as a problem to them. And you’re expected to suffer the consequence of walking to the back of the venue.
Impossible to be anonymous
Concerts and movies is one thing. Just plainly wishing to blend into a crowd is another.
When you’re in your teenage years, you are developing your identity—slowly but steadily.
In that process, some space out in weird styles. Other prefer to experiment in a more subtle way.
For me, I just wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. Social life and identification with a group of friends was important to me.
It wasn’t easy to “hide” when you’re already 6’2″ and your friends are a foot shorter.
You’ll always be that tall dude everyone can use as a beacon to find the rest of the group.
In public, it’s also very normal to be looked at when walking down the street at 6’8″. There’s a bit of celebrity-factor to it, which is cool now.
But in the teenage years, you’d rather blend in, which is hard to do when you obviously stick out—towering above your friends.
Unflattering face angle
Have you tried to take a photo of yourself from below? It’s not the most flattering angle.
Think about how most people see your face. From what angle? Right, from below. Sorry for bringing that to your awareness.
Shorter people, or anyone at average height, will see you from your least flattering angle.
“Well, then they’ll get a pleasant surprise when you sit down next to each other”.
True, but first impressions matter right? And the first impression of you will probably be from below.
Hard to hear shorter people at parties
When the music is playing, it’s hard to hear people. Fact. And the normal thing to do is to move closer. Talk into their ear.
But what if you are a head taller than the person who’s supposed to hear your cool story?
Then you have to bow down to speak. That makes you slouch, which is bad for your back and your appearance.
Even worse is it when they answer you.
“What?”, you yell and move your head closer to their face, slouching to an extreme degree.
Sometimes, it’s just not worth it and you kind of give up on the party. Give up on the socialising. The best part of a party, right?
Thus, being tall is a disadvantage at parties, because you’ll end up feeling left out of the conversations around you.
Screw it, hit the dance-floor and let those long limbs fly left and right!
Harder to hug and kiss
The same thing happens when you want to kiss or hug; you have to bow down to help the receiver.
There are some tricks to how to hug a tall person, though.
Don’t hug the waist, don’t hug for too long and don’t half-ass it.
Those are the 3 golden rules of how to hug someone, who really has to make an effort to do so.
The waist-thing feels like you’re someone’s parent. Too long hugs are painful for tall backs. And the half-hug leaves us feeling unloved and awkward.
The disadvantage is overcome by sitting down or lying down. Find a bench or bed and let the kisses and hugs begin.
Doorframes and hitting your head
Another tall disadvantage to laugh about, but I promise you, this one can really hurt a lot.
From funny small bumps to the forehead – to deep bleeding holes in your head.
I forgot about an old door pump on our back-door, and that resulted in a hairless and bleeding dent in my head that turned into a slow-healing wound.
It hurt like nothing else—both because of the skin break, but also because of the hit to the head that causes a headache.
If this leads to a concussion, this is not all something to laugh about. And tall people are endlessly more likely to hit their heads than people of average height.
Standard doors are 6’7″-6’8″ tall, so if you’re taller than that, you always have to be on the lookout.
This is another reason why tall people slouch. It’s simply the safest posture to assume if you want to keep your head intact.
Safe but unfair height limits
From doors to rollercoasters. Where doors don’t have height limits to pass – they’ll just let you know if you’re too tall – rollercoasters have height limits.
This is probably a very good idea, as you don’t want to pass through a low doorframe with 100 mph/h.
For kids who grow up a little fast, this means that they can’t join their friends on the rollercoaster (or similar amusement park machine).
Again, this is an example of how height leaves you out, makes it obvious that you are “different” and makes you wish you could expend a few inches.
We know; it’s for our own safety. But wouldn’t it be cool if we were the same size as our friends and could pass through the check and jump on the ride?
When you’re older it doesn’t matter as much. But still, to this day, I experience this exclusion at theme parks.
At 6’8″, you’re actually not allowed to ride very many things at such places. Luckily, I don’t go as often as I used to as a kid.
But for kids and teenagers outgrowing their friends, this is a huge disadvantage.
Holding hands needs thought
When you start to date and maybe find a partner, you like a lot, you want to hold hands.
But for tall people, holding hands need extra thought. How to fold the hands? Who’s “on top”? How to walk hand in hand without crazy imbalance?
Well, no easy solution here. If you really love her or him, you probably don’t care. You just want to hold hands.
A tip is that the tallest is “on top”. So when you fold your hands together, the shortest person comes from below.
Otherwise, it just won’t feel good. The angles don’t fit if the taller person comes from below.
You’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
Cars, airplanes and legroom in general
Legroom. It’s a general issue if you are just a little taller than average. Even if you ARE average, legroom can be a problem.
So what do you do? Cope? It’s not that easy if you are stuck on a 10-hour flight and you are sitting by the window.
One thing you can do is to fold your calves and tuck your feet under your seat. In my experience, this is the most comfortable position.
It seems like it leaves an extra half inch between your knees and the seat in front of you.
I’ve written a post on how to fly tall. There are other options than tucking your feet; like buying “knee defenders” and figuring out how to get the unused exit row seats.
Cars are largely the same problem. Although, in a car, you might be the driver yourself. That rarely happens on a plane.
And if you are the driver of a car with too little legroom, this can actually become dangerous.
I’ve tried to fit my legs into small, Italian cars that make it impossible to get a good feel of the pedals. And my legs are almost locking in the steering wheel.
This is not a good starting point for a safe trip. And I’ve had situations where I simply had to have a friend drive because I didn’t feel I control of the car when everything was so tight and squeezed.
This is another disadvantage of being tall that might seem funny to people at first. But after a second of thought, it poses itself as a real issue for everyone’s safety.
Tall life can become expensive that way—if you have to buy a huge car with extra legroom in order to get around.
Combined with all the other expenses associated with being tall, money does become its own problem for tall.
Clothes are more expensive. Cars are more expensive. Airplane seats with extra legroom are more expensive. Showerhead extenders. Raised kitchen tables. I could go on.
Tall life is expensive—but then it’s great that we also make more money.
Legs don’t fit under tables
A problem of its own is fitting our long legs under tables. At the dinner table. At the office. Most everywhere is it a problem to tuck in those knees.
And if you manage to get them in there, you’ll probably feet-flirt with your colleague on the other side.
Or you’ll shake the whole table and spill coffee all over your laptop.
Office desks that go up and down are preferable here. But guess what? They pose another disadvantage in themselves.
You’ve guessed it; they rarely go high enough.
Yet again, we need specialized items in our houses and offices to make it all work.
Long legs are beautiful, but they won’t fit under normal furniture. That’s a disadvantage that’s hard to debate.
Tall comments everywhere
“How’s the weather up there?”
“Seems like you brain didn’t grow as much as your body!”
“Why are you so tall?
These are questions and comments that are more normal than you’d probably think (if you’re reading this at 5’10” are shorter).
But we do get asked about our height a lot. In one way or another.
Back to the point on body shaming; is it alright to comment on people’s physical attributes like that? Or is it not?
I’ve switched from being super annoyed about it, to become much more confident about being tall—and now I just say “thanks”, if someone says “Wow, you’re tall”.
If you think you get the “You’ve grown so much since the last time I saw you”, try talking to someone who’s tall.
Even now, at 31, I still get the “Have you always been that tall?” or “You sure, you don’t grow anymore?” when they haven’t seen me for a long time.
And yes, at 31, I’m positive, I won’t grow taller. Only heavier.
Biking hurts your knees
In Copenhagen, we bike a lot. But bikes are most often too small for tall people like me.
No matter how high you raise your saddle, the bike’s proportions are still off.
You’d need something like Dirty Sixer if you wanted a bike that’s made for tall. I can’t afford it, so I have to put up with the funny constellation of “small bike, big man”.
Being a tall bike rider may also hurt your knees, as they are stressed in delicate positions.
The knee can’t handle a lot of pressure when it’s folded. That’s why you need a bike that never forces you to contract your knees too much.
You want to bike with more or less straight legs throughout the circular motion. But for tall people, this is not going to be possible.
We bike around the city, looking like we stole a kid’s bike—all crammed up, knees out to the sides and trying to gain speed with completely folded legs.
Cold feet syndrome
As a fine finisher, I’m going to mention the “cold feet” syndrome that tall experience on a daily (nightly) basis.
If you haven’t yet invested in a kingsized bed with extra length, you are probably sleeping with your feet over the edge.
And if your duvet isn’t long enough either, those big feet are going to get cold.
King beds are 80 inches long. If you are taller than that, you need a California King bed, which is 84 inches long.
At 6’8″, I’d almost have to go for the biggest option—to have a bit of room to wiggle around.
When I got my new apartment with my girlfriend, we invested in a huge bed. This is one of the bed investments I’ve ever done.
A good night’s sleep is foundational for all achievement in life.
So if you are a tall man or women, go get that King-or-larger bed.
These are the most common disadvantages for tall people.
Have you experienced any of them? Or did I miss the most obvious one?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.