Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column scales the heights

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column for two weeks to work on other creative projects. (Anyone interested in my personal essays and photographs can subscribe to my free newsletter:

I hope you enjoy these “Best of” columns from 10 years ago. Today’s topic: “Height Challenges.”

Dear Amy: I am petite. While it would be great to be a foot taller, I have accepted that it isn’t going to happen.

I am a middle-school teacher. Students often comment on my stature because many of them are taller than I am.

I know how to respond to a student, but I’m at a loss on how to respond to my co-workers, many of whom I do not know very well.

Several times a year, someone will tap me on the shoulder to tell me that he thought I was a student. I realize it’s natural for people to think things like this, but I think it’s rude to share that thought with me.


I can take a good-natured joke from someone I am good friends with, but when an acquaintance or total stranger says this to me, it is bothersome.

Some of them even ask for my height, which I think is as rude as asking someone their weight. I don’t know how to reply.

– Petite

Dear Petite: I agree that your colleagues should not behave like schoolchildren. It is not appropriate to comment on people’s bodies. However, your views (and mine, as a fellow petite person) are immaterial when it comes to tolerating a reaction brought on by a condition you cannot change.


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