I was at work talking with a member of Senior Management and I was standing in front of his desk while he was sitting down. He’s a real down-to-earth guy and thankfully, very informal or he probably wouldn’t have been able to say what he said to me. I also happen to respect him quite a bit as well so in no way did what he say, offend me or hurt my feelings. After we had been talking for 10-15 minutes he says to me jokingly, “Can you sit down, my neck is starting to hurt.”
We both started laughing. He mentioned that he’s been training for this huge race so his muscles were a bit sore and his neck felt strained as he looked up at me in order to maintain eye contact. So it seemed like a perfectly logical thing to say at that moment. We continued our conversation with me seated at a chair in front of him
But as I walked out of his office I started to wonder how often people want to tell me to sit down because their necks/backs/shoulders or whatever are in pain?
I flipped it around and starting also to think about the many times I have stood with a group of my girlfriends and have felt the same thing. My neck/back/shoulders get tight from the constant looking down and I usually want to find a table with chairs. Quite frankly, I’m tired of bending over to hear everything that’s being said. What an inconvenience and so troublesome to keep saying, “What?” “Can you repeat that?” “I can’t hear you, could you speak up?”
It’s even worse when you go out to a club or a local bar and it’s loud. Then you might as well smile and pretend that you hear everything because it’s nearly impossible to keep up on the conversations those shortys are having way below you. Of course, you could resolve this by limiting who you hang out with and the height restrictions of those around you, but that would sorta make you a jack-hole. As well as severely limit your friend pool.
I’ve gotten so used to sitting down when faced with this issue that I actually prefer to have all conversations seated, however I can’t go around the rest of my life toting a fold-up chair…or could I? I guess life is full of options.
Do short people feel the same? Obviously, the member of senior management was comfortable enough with me to share his feeling on his own neck pain while looking up at me but what if the person looking up at me isn’t comfortable enough or doesn’t feel like they know me well enough?
I know that I always try to make shorter people feel more comfortable by anticipating their needs. I will bend down, I will lean awkwardly, I will shout in order for them to be able to hear and not feel uncomfortable but I know this is a one-way street. I’ve never felt like anyone shorter has gone out of their way to make me more comfortable…but I also don’t expect it.
So I guess that makes me a pain in the neck when I’m standing. But I’ve been called much worse so I’ll take it.