Let’s explore if, when, and how a man’s height matters in dating and relationships.
Height is a simple yet controversial dating topic.
It’s simple because it’s a real, unalterable physical trait.
You can change your waistline, dye your hair, or get colored contact lenses… but science has yet to discover a way to grow an already-grown adult.
It’s controversial because there is a perceived value to height. This is especially true in the dating world, where there the perception is that women prefer tall guys.
One client, who we’ll call Sean, is 5’7. He feels his height is a disadvantage to him when it comes to dating.
Recently, he told us:
Women will tell me directly on dating apps that I’m too short. It happens more subtly in person. My friends who are women have also said they don’t go out with a guy again if he’s short. That irks me… I’m offended by it.
Research backs up Sean’s assumption that women prefer tall guys more.
In a study performed by Rice University and North Texas University, 455 males and 470 females were interviewed about their dating lives.
The data showed that 13.5% of the men wanted to date only women shorter than they are. In contrast, 48.9% of women preferred tall men only.
Men have taken notice. A survey by a global research agency named OpinionMatters found that actual height was the second most lied-about online dating profile trait for men (Job was #1).
Clearly, lots of men think adding a few inches to their height listing will increase their online dating site chances.
Is this a good thing, though?
In this article, we’ll examine the underlying issues of height and dating. We’ll also provide real perspectives from five women on Introverted Alpha’s team on how they view a man’s height (a fun copy-paste of an email thread we had!).
Your Height: Two Facts and One Big Fiction
Fact: According to the CDC, the average height for adult men in the U.S. is 69.2 inches tall, or just a shade under 5’8.
Fact: According to the same source, the average height for an adult woman in the U.S. is 63.7 inches or just a bit over 5’3.
Fiction: If you are “short,” you can’t do anything if women’s preference is tall over short men.
How do we know this is fiction?
Because through our experience coaching hundreds of men who have run the spectrum of sizes and shapes, we know vibe and connection matter more than specific physical appearance.
Yes, some women make judgments based solely on physical criteria, but they’re on the extreme side of the bell curve.
Most women are willing to go on dates with men of all heights, even if they have a “preference” for taller men rather than shorter men (more on this in a bit).
This puts the emphasis on the face-to-face meeting, and here’s the truth:
A good connection stemming from the right vibe matters more to women than height difference.
Real Perspectives on Why Many Women Prefer Tall Guys
As a demonstration of how women’s views on men’s height vary, the coaches and advocates of IA (four women plus Sarah, the founder) discussed the topic in an email thread.
We’ve pasted the entire conversation below, verbatim.
You’re getting all the details from the shorter women and taller women here at IA!
We did NOT plan on sharing this on the blog while the email thread was live. We were simply having a conversation sparked by Sean’s comment.
I have never dated a man under 6’2 and I absolutely have a strong preference for dating tall guys.
It’s not because they will protect me, because I feel like I can take care of myself, but I’m not a petite woman! I like to have a tall man who seems quite a bit bigger than me.
I also love long legs, and even the way their clothes look on them. Lol.
Everyone has different personal preferences. And there will be something about all of us that someone else isn’t down for.
Haha, that’s so funny, Tiff! I’m the opposite!
I’ve never dated a guy taller than 5’10 — there is zero appeal to me in tall guys!
On both sides of my family, the guys are all over 6’2, and it’s no great accomplishment.
There are so many other qualities that I’m tuned into besides height.
Love it!! And I’m in the middle: I’m 5’10 and my favorite is 6’0 — just a tiny bit taller than me :)
Agree with what everyone’s saying — it’s totally a preference!
I’m about 5’5 (probably 5’4 and a bit, but I always said 5’5 to feel taller), and I’ve always preferred dating tall guys. Honestly, I’m not sure why.
Like Tiffany, I love the way clothes look on taller people, it’s just so sexy! I love people with long legs, I always stare at them and think, “My God, what a vision — like a gazelle!”
It sounds strange to tell you all this, but it’s true! It also comes in handy when I need help reaching high cabinet shelves in the kitchen.
That said, I have dated short guys in the past too.
For me, it’s always been less about the height and more about chemistry.
And although taller guys are my preference, I’d never ask a guy before meeting him what his height was and disqualify him from a potential date.
I mean who does that?
I notice on dating apps every guy lists his height. I think it’s weird. Women don’t do that, and I always wondered if women care.
For me, I tend to date men about 5’11, I’m 5’5 but am open to any height.
If you ask me, I’d probably say I like tall guys, but one time I was dating a guy I really liked and it took me a few dates to even realize he was likely 5’6.
I mean, I didn’t even notice because there was chemistry!
For me, height is like baldness or back hair. I say I care about it one way or another if you ask me about it in general.
For the right guy, I don’t even notice it. It just becomes another endearing feature. It’s always more about the connection than anything.
This is such a great rounded-out mix, and I like the “message” behind it:
Yes, many women prefer tall guys, but height matters to different extents to different women, and for many women (not all!) it doesn’t matter AT ALL when the chemistry is right.
ALSO, fun fact:
My Gmail phone app offers 3 short response options to any message, and in response to Mia’s email, the first option was… wait for it…
“Do you have a pic?”
OMG — I guess back hair and baldness and height make Gmail curious. LOL.
Summary: Many Women Prefer Tall Guys, But Connection Matters More
So, why do women like tall men?
When it comes to height, women have preferences just like guys do.
For some, it doesn’t matter AT ALL when the chemistry is right; other women prefer men who are taller than they are, and that’s that.
Among those who do care, some women just want a man slightly taller than they are when the women wear heels, and some want a much greater height difference than that.
The truth is that (a) your height and a (b) woman’s preference on the matter are BOTH far beyond your control.
So here are a couple of recommendations regarding what *is* in your control:
1) Don’t lie on your online dating profiles if you happen to be a shorter guy:
Even if you exaggerate by a couple of inches to get more responses, the truth will be apparent on your first date.
And no matter what, there will still be a seed of mistrust planted in her mind because of the exaggeration.
That’s no way to start a short-term or long-term relationship because the best connections happen when everyone is comfortable in their own skin.
2) Developing more self-confidence and practicing a relaxed-yet-interested vibe are skills you can build to combat any height disadvantage.
Dating skills are completely in your control.
As we discuss in this article on How Introverts Build Confidence and Attract Women Naturally, confidence and vibe go hand-in-hand.
The benefits to developing your confidence and dating skills are twofold:
A) You’ll be more charming and attractive, increasing the chances for tall women and short women alike to set their height preference aside when they meet you.
B) Even if a woman loses interest because she’s looking for someone taller, it won’t negatively impact you.
You’ll see the situation as a reflection on her preference for tall people, not as a slight to you. From there, you’ll move on to dates with women who are more compatible with you and your own height.
By improving in these two areas, you’ll begin to conquer your perception of a height disadvantage and start exuding more irresistibly attractive energy.
And your attitude about yourself is a bigger factor in mate selection than any single physical trait, height included.
Ready for more?
If you are ready to tackle dating once and for all, check out our 1:1 dating coaching program. If it resonates you and excites you, sign up to be notified next time it opens.
And if you’ve not downloaded your copy of our ebook, Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead, you can do that either here or in the blue box below.